The best books on economic inequality and how to fix it

Why am I passionate about this?

There are many big problems in the world today–racism, war, climate change, unaccountable governments, exploitative corporations, and so on. But when you scratch the surface of almost any serious problem, what you find is that the root of the problem is inequality: a minority of people are rich and powerful, while those who suffer the most are typically poor and powerless. I’m so passionate about inequality because, in my eyes, it constitutes the heart and soul of what’s wrong with our world and the key to making things better.


I wrote...

Against Inequality: The Practical and Ethical Case for Abolishing the Superrich

By Tom Malleson,

Book cover of Against Inequality: The Practical and Ethical Case for Abolishing the Superrich

What is my book about?

To acquire the same amount of wealth as Elon Musk, the average American would have to work for more than four and a half million years.

In this book, I make the case for rejecting meritocracy. I show that raising taxes on income and wealth is not only practically feasible but that the costs of doing so would be far outweighed by the truly enormous benefits that such taxes could bring in terms of environmental sustainability, democratic equality, equal opportunity, and reduced racism. In an era of remarkable wealth idolatry, this book takes the radical position that we should abolish the billionaires.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future

Tom Malleson Why did I love this book?

In this already-classic work, Joseph Stiglitz–Nobel Prize winner and chief economist for the World Bank–describes the ways in which the market has been systematically rigged in favour of the rich and big business, leading to an explosion of inequality and the rise of the 1%.

I love how this book illustrates the ways in which inequality acts as a cancer on society, eating it apart from the inside. But Stiglitz also helped me to understand how such problems can be dealt with a realistic way.  

By Joseph E. Stiglitz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Price of Inequality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The top 1 percent of Americans control some 40 percent of the nation's wealth. But as Joseph E. Stiglitz explains in this best-selling critique of the economic status quo, this level of inequality is not inevitable. Rather, in recent years well-heeled interests have compounded their wealth by stifling true, dynamic capitalism and making America no longer the land of opportunity that it once was. They have made America the most unequal advanced industrial country while crippling growth, distorting key policy debates, and fomenting a divided society. Stiglitz not only shows how and why America's inequality is bad for our economy…


Book cover of Capital and Ideology

Tom Malleson Why did I love this book?

Thomas Piketty rose to international fame for his 2014 Capital in the Twenty-First Century. But this book is even better. At a whopping 1000 pages, it’s a magnum opus. A phenomenally interesting panoramic of inequality across human history.

With intricate detail and voluminous evidence, Piketty documents the rise and fall of inequality throughout the ages, depicting the ways in which ideologies have worked to bolster or undermine it. Anyone who reads this book will walk away with a far richer understanding of some of the core dynamics underlying human history.  

By Thomas Piketty, Arthur Goldhammer (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Capital and Ideology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller
An NPR Best Book of the Year

The epic successor to one of the most important books of the century: at once a retelling of global history, a scathing critique of contemporary politics, and a bold proposal for a new and fairer economic system.

Thomas Piketty's bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century galvanized global debate about inequality. In this audacious follow-up, Piketty challenges us to revolutionize how we think about politics, ideology, and history. He exposes the ideas that have sustained inequality for the past millennium, reveals why the shallow politics of right and left…


Book cover of Limitarianism: The Case Against Extreme Wealth

Tom Malleson Why did I love this book?

Everyone is familiar with the idea of a minimum wage, but should there also be a maximum wage? Should there be an upper limit on the amount of wealth that anyone is allowed to possess? In this fantastic and easy-to-read book, Ingrid Robeyns convincingly argues yes. She shows why a society with billionaires is dangerous, unfair, unhealthy, and ultimately worse for everyone.

Like every brilliant book, this one starts off seeming radical but ends up seeming obvious. 

By Ingrid Robeyns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Limitarianism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A powerful case for limitarianism-the idea that we should set a maximum on how much resources one individual can appropriate. A must-read!"
-Thomas Piketty, bestselling author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century

An original, bold, and convincing argument for a cap on wealth by the philosopher who coined the term "limitarianism."

How much money is too much? Is it ethical, and democratic, for an individual to amass a limitless amount of wealth, and then spend it however they choose? Many of us feel that the answer to that is no-but what can we do about it?

Ingrid Robeyns has long…


Book cover of After Capitalism

Tom Malleson Why did I love this book?

Margaret Thatcher famously argued that “there is no alternative;” this book is the ultimate rebuttal.

I read this for the first time as an undergrad, and it forever changed me. What’s so powerful about it is that Schweickart lays out a simple but powerful model for a fundamentally different kind of society–a democratic socialist society based on economic democracy. He then carefully demonstrates that this alternative is not only feasible but that it would work far better than capitalism in pretty well every regard.

For anyone who has been searching for a clear and coherent alternative–this book is for you. 

By David Schweickart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since first published in 2002, After Capitalism has offered students and political activists alike a coherent vision of a viable and desirable alternative to capitalism. David Schweickart calls this system Economic Democracy, a successor-system to capitalism which preserves the efficiency strengths of a market economy while extending democracy to the workplace and to the structures of investment finance. In the second edition, Schweickart recognizes that increased globalization of companies has created greater than ever interdependent economies and the debate about the desirability of entrepreneurship is escalating. The new edition includes a new preface, completely updated data, reorganized chapters, and new…


Book cover of The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay

Tom Malleson Why did I love this book?

I learned a great deal from this book.

Although many people intuitively recognize that inequality is a serious problem, there is widespread doubt that anything can realistically be done about it. Saez and Zucman–perhaps the two most famous tax economists in the world–demolish this pessimism. In a clear, no-nonsense manner, they demonstrate that tax systems can easily fail but they can also be made to work.

The authors describe how rich people and corporations currently avoid tax, how tax havens function, and, most importantly of all, how an evidence-based tax system can be successfully built to prevent evasion and thereby meaningfully reduce inequality. 

By Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Triumph of Injustice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Even as they became fabulously wealthy, the rich have seen their taxes collapse to levels last seen in the 1920s. Meanwhile working-class Americans have been asked to pay more. The Triumph of Injustice is a forensic investigation into this dramatic transformation. Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, economists who revolutionised the study of inequality, demonstrate how the super-rich pay a lower tax rate than everybody else. In crystalline prose they dissect the deliberate choices and the sins of indecision that have fuelled this trend: the gradual exemption of capital owners; the surge of a new tax-avoidance industry and, most critically, tax…


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Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map for Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying to Go with Money?

By Larry R. Frank Sr., Maxwell Limanowski (editor), Peter Sander (editor)

Book cover of Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map for Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying to Go with Money?

Larry R. Frank Sr. Author Of Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map for Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying to Go with Money?

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Father Grandfather Business founder Planner and thinker Income and longevity researcher

Larry's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

What are you trying to do with your money?

Few of us take the time to analyze our financial needs and goals to answer that pressing question. In Wealth Odyssey, author Larry R. Frank Sr. uses his extensive financial background to provide a universal road map that will help you determine the wealth you need to support your chosen lifestyle.

Frank discusses such topics as the wealth rule, the earning-spending-saving formula, using debt wisely, and 
risk management. 

Wealth Odyssey is authored to be timeless; it does not matter what the market has done, or will do. This is a practical, no-nonsense guide that will help you develop a personal definition of wealth and create an effective strategy for long-term financial success.

Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map for Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying to Go with Money?

By Larry R. Frank Sr., Maxwell Limanowski (editor), Peter Sander (editor)

What is this book about?

"Frank, a Certified Financial Planner in California, offers a concise, precise guide to "prudent thinking" about personal finances, along with simple tools to estimate how much is required for a comfortable retirement." "A sound guide designed to help people make sensible plans for a successful retirement" - Kirkus book review "First let me tell you Larry Frank knows his stuff. He has a procedure that many will find worth taking the time to implement.” " The book is full of good advice." - Armchair interviews "Larry Frank Sr, gives you a guidebook or "road map" for your financial goals or…


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Interested in the upper class, equality, and capitalism?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the upper class, equality, and capitalism.

The Upper Class Explore 89 books about the upper class
Equality Explore 63 books about equality
Capitalism Explore 188 books about capitalism