- These classic books tell how modern capitalism in Europe and the US changed from a system that manufactured actual products into a financialized trading desk for credit derivatives and leverage.
- They also describe the how modern inequality developed.
- And they are all absolutely riveting.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Fifty years ago, capitalism in the West was based on manufacturing which provided well-paid, lifelong jobs and close to full employment. By the 1970s and 1980s that system was carrying a layer of credit and debt that made it more lucrative for banks to extract profits from deals and transactions than to provide finance for the creation of actual products.
Then, in the 1990s, the burgeoning tech industry made physical products even less relevant — and even more lucrative for investors and speculators.
These classic non-fiction books tell the story of how modern capitalism in the West changed from a system that made actual things into a trading desk for bonds, credit derivatives, and leverage … and created modern inequality along the way.
We’ve arranged the books chronologically according to the period of history they cover. If you read them in this order you’ll see how one segues into the next, and how dramatically capitalism has changed in the last 50 years.