The Bible of the alter-globalisation movement, this zeitgeist text exposes the brand-dominated consumer capitalism that is driving modern economic growth and also economic inequality. It is a powerful attack and call to action against multinationals and although it is now over 20 years old, its relevance continues to grow. It was named by The Guardian in 2016 as No. 3 on its ‘100 Best Non-fiction Books of All Time’. The ‘cult classic’ of these six choices. This video ‘No Logo: Brands, Globalization, Resistance’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeTgLKNb5R0 provides an excellent overview of the book’s key arguments.
‘The Spirit Level’(Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett) ‘The Social One’
This landmark book examines the relationship between levels of economic inequality and the health and social welfare of populations. It brilliantly highlights the greater levels of social dysfunction associated with more unequal OECD countries like the USA by examining 11 different metrics, including drug abuse, teen pregnancy, prevalence of mental and physical health conditions and violence. https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/the-spirit-level
‘Inequality and the 1%’(Danny Dorling) ‘The political UK One’
Prof. Dorling’s short and punchy volume centres on inequality in the UK with reference to four key areas: childhood; work; health; and wealth. It is an anti-conservative treatise which powerfully unveils the true scale of our country’s disparities by framing them in the context of the 1% vs. the 99%. It is highly detailed but simple and concise, making it a manageable text for anyone wishing to explore British inequalities. A book which every Brit, young or old, should read.
‘The Price of Inequality’(Joseph Stiglitz) ‘The Economic US One’
Written by a former Chief Economist for the World Bank, this text focuses on economic inequality in the USA. It is a strong condemnation of the current neoliberal order, highlighting how this form of capitalism actively produces inequality and emphasises the role of political institutions and public policy in perpetuating it. Stiglitz’s resounding argument is that inequality does not aid economic growth, as many scholars have argued, but hinders it and that this inequality is not inevitable, but the product of political choices. This choice has the greatest focus on economic theory.
‘The Health Gap’(Michael Marmot) ‘The Health One’
This book is the ideal companion to a critical view of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disparate effects. It outlines the shocking inequalities in the mental and physical health of populations both within and across low-, middle- and high-income countries in a light, conversational and easy-to-digest way. It is packed full of statistics and objective metrics, but is also an intensely personal and characterful commentary. Informative but also immensely enjoyable reading for anyone and everyone in lockdown.
‘The Divide’ (Joseph Hickel) ‘The Global Colonial One’
Hickel’s book returns the focus to the global scale. It provides a strong critique of development doctrine, highlighting how the current world order has led to a widening of the gap between the richest and poorest countries and not a closing of it. Hickel cements the poverty of low income countries in a history and legacies of colonialism and in his final section ‘Closing the Divide’ outlines his solutions. ‘The Divide’ is truly a global book with a global outlook and a global audience.