3 outstanding economics books from 2017 (2 of them, downloadable free of charge)


If I include the “doughnut economics”, they’ll be the “Fantastic Four” of my readings in economics in 2017.

  1. Doing the right thing: a value based economy by Arjo Klamer. You can download here

It seems that Arjo Klamer has the only Chair in cultural economics in the World. He advocates a new economy, presenting us with this new systemic perspective of the economy. This is the relationship among its five spheres: cultural, social, market, government and house (oikos).
I think that their explanations in economics follows the DSRP model (Distinction, Systems, Relationships and Perspectives) what makes a fantastic book for understanding the reality of the economy.

  1. Systemic Alternatives: Vivir Bien, Degrowth, Commons, Ecofeminism, Rights of Mother Earth and Deglobalization by the Solon Fundation, Attac and Focus on the Global South. You can download here.

This is a book for reflection, study and understanding. It offers 6 different perspectives for the future. These try to break through the main vision that governs the world, the capitalist perspective with the incessant search for profits at the expense of the planet (our existence) and humanity (our coexistence). Not only capitalism has been an important factor of the systemic crisis we suffer, but, to this, we can add extractivism, productivism and patriarchy. Navigating through these six different perspectives, we can make a historical journey about its origin, its approaches, its strengths and its weaknesses. Although as they say in the introduction. none of them alone can solve this systemic crisis.

“None of these proposals, neither Vivir Bien, degrowth, ecofeminism, deglobalisation, the rights of Mother Earth, nor the commons can adequately face the systemic crisis alone. All of these proposals and many others have to engage in processes of complementarity to forge systemic alternatives. Complementarity means to complement one another to form a whole; to articulate with others to respond to the complexity of the problem we are facing; to learn from others; to see your own conclusions through the eyes of the other visions; to discover your strengths, common weaknesses and gaps; and to build deeper systemic alternatives.”

  1. Homo Cooperans 2.0 (a sharing economy from cooperativism) by Matthieu Lietaert

I think that the book is only in French and Spanish. So, I’ll try to show us a little bit of it. Apart from the whole story (homo) and the last short story ( mainly 300 years through the homo economics), there is an interesting formula for framing the book. In a similar way that the big picture of the doughnut, Matthieu shows an interesting formula. He says that it is very difficult to publish in most of the major publications on social sciences, mainly Anglo-Saxon, if formulas or mathematical equations are not used. Voilà, Mattieu creates or cooks this formula to summarize a big part of the book (mostly the last 300 years)

Unlimited growth = (Consumerism x Hyper-individualism) *Advertising

*(advertising is an exponent, not a factor. I cant reduce the letter for writing as exponential)

Then, he starts to explain the whole factors and the history behind them.
In a review of the book I wrote in Spanish, I call it the I-llness formula for stupidity and it seems like a possible formula for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse

Death = (Victory x War) *Hunger .

If we add what the great economist and systemic thinker Kenneth Boulding said; "Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.”, we will have that an excess of growth leads us in the direction of Death . All this we are seeing with the Victory of homo consumer and the homo economicus, over homo socialis and homo cooperans in a hyper-individualized, Darwinian War, in which reigns the motto “Every person for themselves”. The icing on the cake is the excess of advertising communication, which frames our desires in an insatiable culture, with an exponential Hunger to want more and more. Faced with this formula of excess that could also be called the formula of I-llness that harms us so much, I propose this double formula of we-llness or "we-llbeing"

Environment = (Responsible Well-being x Global Rights) *Global Ethics
Existence = (Human Realization x Coexistence) *Consciousness

Finally, if one wants to deep into the details of this ethical awakening, the four quadrants has its four ethical factors.

Environmental Ethics = (Ethics of virtues x Ethics of Solidarity) *Dialogical Ethics

So, the exponent, (advertising, global ethics, consciousness or dialogical ethics) is the main leverage in all the formulae. Just as an example, this forum is about dialoguing in an ethical way for trying to debate ideas and make more visible the doughnut in the economics in a similar way as the 6-blind people of the tale try to make visible the elephant.


thanks for the recommendations

Some other worth a read, not all 2017, but in/around then

Robert Reich
The Common Good

Saving Capitalism

and a great read from Gar Alperovitz of the Next System;
Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth


Thanks Tony

The first one looks great. I’ll have a look. I’m also a follower of The next system project.

From 2018, I’ll have a look to the new book by Christian Felber, author of (Change everything, creating an economy for the Common Good). At this moment, I think it is only in German and Spanish (Por un comercio mundial ético). It could be translated something like “Towards an ethical & global Trade”