The book has now expanded to 140 pages – each of which seems to have half a dozen hyperlinks. That makes almost 1000 of them. The book still needs a proper conclusion – but can be accessed in its current state here. It's been constructed from the notes I have made over the years as I tried to make sense of what “experts” were saying in the hundreds (indeed thousands) of books which have deluged us about “the crisis”. Your eyes may glaze over when you come across some of the lists which appear from time to time - so let me anticipate some of your questions….
1. Why should we read it? After all, you’re the guy who said we needed to ration non-fiction books!
And that’s precisely why I have taken so long to write this damned thing…..at least 10 years. When I wrote that post, I offered the reader some tests to apply to any new non-fiction book. These included explaining what was distinctive about it; annotated reading lists; typologies showing the variety of perspectives the field offers; and visuals and other material to make the text less boring
2. If you’re so critical of economists, who do you mention so many Economics books?
The majority of well-written books about the global crisis are actually not written by economists! There’s a table in this section (page 46 or thereabouts) which gives examples of the key books about the global crisis in 9 other disciplines apart from economics
3. OK but why inflict so many titles on us?
Three reasons – First, anyone who wants to be taken seriously in discussions needs to be aware of some of the key names and titles in “the literature” – even if you only flick a few pages to get a sense of their style
People, secondly, differ in their tastes – and I’ve tried to structure the lists by various categories to allow you to find what suits you…For example, p43 gives you access to 8 introductory books which are great reads in themselves….
I would agree, finally, that academics are too good at throwing bibliographies at us. Indeed they overwhelm us with them – whether in footnotes, brackets or end-pages. It’s almost a virility test with them. I get very frustrated with this – since all these lists do is to flaunt their superiority – they don’t actually tell us anything interesting about each book. And that’s why I decided to try not just to list the more interesting of the books – but to add a few notes to give readers a sense of whether it was their sort of book..
4. Surely neoliberalism has been discredited?
You would think that, as the deregulation which was its hallmark blew up in our faces, this would have led to a rethink but as Colin Crouch first showed in 2011 (and Philip Mirowski in 2013) the doctrine of commercialising anything that moves has actually strengthened. Most people are still scratching their heads to try to understand how this happened and why it seems so difficult to put an alternative agenda together…
5. Why can’t progressives unite around an agreed agenda for change?
There are a lot of egos at stake! But also so many different perspectives. And it is a notorious fact of history that progressive forces tend to fight one another more than “the enemy”. Understand that, and we will be half way to achieving consensus
6. Why should I trust anything you say?
If this is the first time you have come across my material, this is precisely the question you need to pose..The only answer I can give is that you will see from the blog I have had for 10 years that I try to keep an open mind on issues – painfully aware of the legitimacy of the different ways of seeing things