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Mark Blyth's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Mark Blyth recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Mark Blyth's favorite book recommendations of all time.

With engaging wit and subtle irony, Albert Hirschman maps the diffuse and treacherous world of reactionary rhetoric in which conservative public figures, thinkers, and polemicists have been arguing against progressive agendas and reforms for the past two hundred years.

Hirschman draws his examples from three successive waves of reactive thought that arose in response to the liberal ideas of the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, to democratization and the drive toward universal suffrage in the nineteenth century, and to the welfare state in our own century....
Recommended by Mark Blyth, and 1 others.

Mark BlythHe says that when the same arguments have been used without much modification for 300 years regardless of the area in which they are deployed, we should be suspicious of them. (Source)

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"A landmark in comparative history and a challenge to scholars of all lands who are trying to learn how we arrived at where we are now." -The New York Times Book Review less
Recommended by Mark Blyth, and 1 others.

Mark BlythWhy do you get Stalinism and Maoism? Because you are taking peasant agricultural societies, with very low levels of capital, and you are trying to integrate them into the world economy. (Source)

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The Passions and the Interests

Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph

In this volume, Albert Hirschman reconstructs the intellectual climate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to illuminate the intricate ideological transformation that occurred, wherein the pursuit of material interests--so long condemned as the deadly sin of avarice--was assigned the role of containing the unruly and destructive passions of man. Hirschman here offers a new interpretation for the rise of capitalism, one that emphasizes the continuities between old and new, in contrast to the assumption of a sharp break that is a common feature of both Marxian and Weberian thinking.... more

Mark BlythThe notion in the whole book is that it is far better for man to lord it over his bank balance than it is over his fellow man. (Source)

Will DaviesThe core question in Hirschman’s book is actually in its subtitle: ‘Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph’. Like Weber, Hirschman realised that, first, there is nothing natural about capitalism. (Source)

Robert J ShillerWhen we reflect on some of the horrors of capitalism, we have to consider that things could have been much worse if we didn’t have this system. Our fights would have been on real battlefields, rather than economic battlefields. (Source)

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Distinguished British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) set off a series of movements that drastically altered the ways in which economists view the world. In his most important work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), Keynes critiqued the laissez-faire policies of his day, particularly the proposition that a normally functioning market economy would bring full employment. Keynes's forward-looking work transformed economics from merely a descriptive and analytic discipline into one that is policy oriented. For Keynes, enlightened government intervention in a... more

Eric WeinsteinFolks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are. (Source)

Paul KrugmanIt is a difficult book, because it’s the first book that tries to figure this stuff out. You don’t teach Keynesian economics from Keynes anymore. Keynes was actually working on The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money before the Great Depression, but, obviously, the Great Depression gave it urgency. It’s a first stab – it’s one hell of a first stab – but because it is a first stab,... (Source)

Mark BlythThis is an incredibly important book because it shows us that Adam Smith was only right in a special case. (Source)

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In this classic work of economic history and social theory, Karl Polanyi analyzes the economic and social changes brought about by the "great transformation" of the Industrial Revolution. His analysis explains not only the deficiencies of the self-regulating market, but the potentially dire social consequences of untempered market capitalism. New introductory material reveals the renewed importance of Polanyi's seminal analysis in an era of globalization and free trade. less

Satya Nadella"My father recommended this book long ago,” says Nadella of the 1944 classic by a Hungarian-American writer who chronicles the development of England’s market economy and argues that society should drive economic change. (Source)

Mark BlythA story which stretches from 1815 to 1914. He says it was 100 years of peace, although that’s not actually true because if you were a colonial subject it was hardly peaceful. (Source)

Dani RodrikIt makes a rather important point, that the economy has always been embedded in society, and when we try to disembed it from society and treat it like an independent institution, then we’re really going to run into trouble. (Source)

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