11 Economic Books All Sociologists Should Read
Source: Gerd Altmann
The Social Sciences have influenced one and another beyond imagination. Therefore, it’s always beneficial for Sociologists to engage with other disciplines, in this case, Economics. Economics is primarily concerned with economies, and the behaviour/interaction between economic agents. Of all of the social sciences, Economics is the most ‘mainstream’, especially particular branches. Below are some books which Sociologists, but really anyone would benefit from engaging with.
Adam Smith – The Wealth of Nations
A monstrosity of a book in size, but also a classic in the field of Economics. Published in 1776, Adam Smith paved the way for future economists by not only predicting numerous situations but also clearly explaining concepts still widely used in modern society. Not an easy read but well worth the effort.
John Maynard Keynes – The General Theory of Employment, Interests and Money
John Maynard Keynes, the influential British economist was the Kickstarter of numerous social movements around the world. Read the book which had politicians lining up to seek his help.
Friedrich Hayek – The Road to Serfdom
This book was an immediate success, published at a time when the world was experiencing a number of changes. The fall of Fascism, the breaking apart of the colonies, and the begining of numerous movements (civil rights, second wave feminism, LGBT). Recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, get some insight into Margaret Thatcher’s mind and why she always carried this book.
Karl Marx – Das Kapital
Karl Marx can probably make his way onto any list, but Das Kapital is a classic for everyone. In this text, Marx changed the world explaining the role of commodities and politics in societal development. How will you not be the smartest person in the room after reading this text?
David Graeber – Debt: The First 5,000 Years
Debt is now a feature of modern life in the 21st century, regardless of where you’re a Sociologists, it’s very likely that you will have to work with people who have become indebted. In this book, anthropologist David Graeber shows that before money systems early societies still maintained elaborate credit systems facilitating the buying and selling of goods.
Thomas Piketty – Capital in the Twenty-First Century
MONEY. Still just as vital to life in 2019 as it was in 1906. What are the main drivers behind not only the accumulation of capital but also the distribution of capital? What about the evolution of capital inequality? Has colonisation played any role? This book compares 20 societies from the 18th century, don’t miss out.
Charles Wheelan – Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science
This is supposed to be an introduction to Economics so if you feel your understanding of the discipline is more developed, it may be best to give this book a miss. Charles Wheelan tries to examine how politicians handled the financial crisis, and how they contributed to it.
Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
Why is Climate Change taking place? Is it because of Carbon? Naomi Klein would argue no. It is because of Capitalism. The addiction to profit and growth has led big corporations to become greedy.
Karl Marx – The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx has ended up on the list again, but this is slightly inevitable. In this book, Karl Marx makes his way through the epochs which lead us to this Capitalist society. Read the amazing descriptions of the Bourgeoisie and Proletariant to see conflict theory in its glory.
Niall Ferguson – The Ascent of Money
Ferguson attempts in this controversial text to trace the history of Money. Through this history of money, we can then trace the evolution of the modern financial markets. An interesting premise and one worth exploring. Trace the development of banks, bonds, credits, then markets.
Let us know if you have any recommendations!
The Sociological Mail
This is a great list! Though I suggest adding Henry George’s Progress & Poverty. His work presents a new dynamic between workers and capitalists and focuses on the negative effects of land “renting”.
Thank you Marc we will check it out!