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Stolen – How to Save the World from Financialisation

Grace Blakeley
Watkins Media Limited, 2019
Grado: debutante
Perspective: Other
Topic: (De-)growth, Criticism of Capitalism, Money & Debt, Social movements & Transformation
page count: 320 pages
ISBN: 9781912248377


A must-read polemic about why the 'recovery' from the 2007-08 crash mostly benefited the 1%, and how democratic socialism can save us from a new crash and climate catastrophe. For decades, it has been easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. In the decade leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, booming banks, rising house prices and cheap consumer goods propped up living standards in the rich world. Thirty years of rocketing debt and financial wizardry had masked the deep underlying fragility of finance-led growth, and in 2008 we were forced to pay up. The decade since has witnessed all kinds of morbid symptoms, as all around the rich world, wages and productivity are stagnant, inequality is rising, and ecological systems are collapsing. Stolen is a history of finance-led growth and a guide as to how we might escape it. We've sat back as financial capitalism has stolen our economies, our environment and even the future itself. Now, we have an opportunity to change course. What happens next is up to us.

Book summary

In this book, Blakely tells us a story of the class nature of capitalism, in which she centers the role of the financial sector and its rapid growth. She argues that the financial sector has played a role that stabilized neoliberal capitalism, and then destabilized it in 2008, in ways that are easily accessible to readers. This financial capitalism and the structures that allow it to thrive ensured that the recovery from the 2007-08 financial crisis only benefited the top 1%, with stagnating wages and productivity in all other sectors languishing. At the same time, she argues that financial capitalism has exacerbated problems such as climate change, and has not allowed resources to be used to address these urgent, potentially catastrophic, issues. In this book, Blakely also outlines a positive agenda out of this mess, and issues a call-to-arms to build a new democratic socialism towards this end.

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