Marx and Engels at the Rheinische Zeitung. Oil on convas painted 1849 by E. Capiro. Public Domain.
Marx and Engels at the Rheinische Zeitung. Oil on convas painted 1849 by E. Capiro. Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Anmeldelser og debat om marxistiske bøger og den globale finanskrise og kapitalismen. / Reviews and debate on Marxist books on the global financial crisis and capitalism.


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Marxist books on economic crises

Albo, Greg
In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives

By Greg Albo, Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch (Oakland, CA, PM Press, 2010, 144 pages)
“In this groundbreaking analysis of the meltdown, renowned radical political economists Albo, Gindin and Panitch lay bare the roots of the crisis, which they locate in the dynamic expansion of capital on a global scale over the last quarter century – and in the inner logic of capitalism itself.”

Brooks, Mick
Capitalist Crisis: Theory and Practice: A Marxist Analysis of the Great Recession 2007-11

(Expedia, 2012, 267 pages)
“This book takes us on journey, using the Marxist method, from the past to the present and into the future. It discusses possiblle opportunities and pitfalls that lie ahead. Ho much has this mess cos us so far? Is this an unprecedented type of financial crisis? Or is it a classic crisis of capitalism? … Above all, we investigate whether Karl Marx got it right with his theory of capitalist crisis, as well as also touching on other debates within the international socialist left.”

  • The book’s site (
  • Review by Michael Roberts (Blogging from a Marxist economist, August 20, 2012)

Callinicos, Alex
Bonfire of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World

(Cambridge, Polity Press, 2010, 179 pages)
“Alex Callinicos traces the credit crunch that developed in 2007-8 to a much more protracted crisis of overaccumulation and profitability that has gripped global capitalism since the late 1960s. He also confronts the interaction between economic and geopolitical events, highlighting the new assertiveness of nation-states and analysing the tense, complex relationship of interdependence and conflict that binds together the US and China.”

Carchedi, Guglielmo
Behind the Crisis: Marx’s Dialectics of Value and Knowledge

(Leiden, Brill, 2011, 303 pages)
“Much has been written since Capital was first published, and more recently after the demise of the Soviet Union and the consequent triumph of neoliberalism, about the irrelevance, inconsistency, and obsoleteness of Marx. This has been attributed to his unworkable method of inquiry. This book goes against the current.”

Duménil, Gerard
The Crisis of Neoliberalism

By Gerard Duménil and Dominique Lévy (Harvard, Harvard University Press, 2011, 400 pages). See Contents.
“This book examines ‘the great contraction’ of 2007–2010 within the context of the neoliberal globalization that began in the early 1980s. This new phase of capitalism greatly enriched the top 5 percent of Americans, including capitalists and financial managers, but at a significant cost to the country as a whole.”

Foster, John Bellamy
The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China

By John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2013, 227 pages)
“This incisive and timely book traces the origins of economic stagnation and explains what it means for a clear understanding of our current situation … It appears that the Great Recession has given way to a period of long-term anemic growth.”

  • The endless crisis. By John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney (Monthly Review, Vol.64, No.1, May 2012, p.1-28). The book’s introduction.
  • The lost decades’ of a moribund Capitalism. Review by Philip Louro (New Politics, Issue 55, Summer 2013)
  • Review by Ben Kohler (Green Left Weekly, Issue 963, April 30, 2013)
  • Review by Peter Stauber (Counterfire, 20 April 2013)
  • Review by Hans G Despain (Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, 30 January 2013)

Foster, John Bellamy
The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences

By John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2009, 160 pages)
“[The author’s] argue that this latest financial crash, although greater than any since 1929, is itself a symptom of deeper problems connected to the stagnation of the “real” or productive economy of mature capitalism. Financial bubbles have become the chief means of countering stagnation, but these inevitably burst, bringing the underlying economic problems back to the surface.”

Gindin, Sam
The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire

By Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch (Verso, 2013, 464 pages)
“In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state.”

Harman, Chris
Zombie Capitalism: Global Crisis and the Relevance of Marx

(London, Bookmarks, 2009, 424 pages)
“Chris Harman shows how Marx’s understanding of capitalism is essential for any explanation of how this world emerged and developed over the last century and a half. He shows that the roots of the crisis today lie not in financial speculation but much deeper in a crisis of profitability which 30 years of the neoliberal offensive have failed to reverse.”

Harvey, David
The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism

(London, Profile Books, 2010, 296 pages)
“Radical sociologist David Harvey explains how capitalism came to dominate the world, why it resulted in the current financial crisis – and why it’s time for a change.”

Kliman, Andrew
The Failure of Capitalist Production: Underlying Causes of the Great Recession

(London, Pluto Press, 2011, 240 pages)
“The recent financial crisis and Great Recession have been analysed endlessly in the mainstream and academia, but this is the first book to conclude, on the basis of in-depth analyses of official US data, that Marx’s crisis theory can explain these events.”

Lapavitsas, Costas
Profiting Without Producing: How Finance Exploits Us All

(London, Verso, 2014, 352 pages)
“[The book] defines financialization in terms of the fundamental conduct of non-financial enterprises, banks and households. Its most prominent feature is the rise of financial profit, in part extracted directly from households through financial expropriation.”

McNally, David
Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance

(Oakland, CA, PM Press, 2011, 230 pages)
“Global Slump analyzes the global financial meltdown as the first systemic crisis of the neoliberal stage of capitalism. It argues that – far from having ended – the crisis has ushered in a whole period of worldwide economic and political turbulence. In developing an account of the crisis as rooted in fundamental features of capitalism, Global Slump challenges the view that its source lies in financial deregulation.”

Magdoff, Fred
The ABCs of the Economic Crisis: What Working People Need to Know

By Fred Magdoff and Michael D. Yates (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2009, 144 pages)
“This short, clear, and concise book explain the nature of the economic crisis. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the authors demonstrate that this crisis is not some aberration from a normally benign capitalism but rather the normal and even expected outcome of a thoroughly irrational and destructive system … This book is aimed primarily at working people, students, and activists.”

Mattick [Jr.], Paul
Business as Usual: The Economic Crisis and the Failure of Capitalism

(London, Reaktion Books, 2011, 126 pages)
“Paul Mattick explains the recession in jargon-free style, without shying away from serious analysis. He explores current events in relation to the development of the world economy since the Second World War and, more fundamentally, looks at the cycle of crisis and recovery that has characterized capitalism since the early nineteenth century. Mattick situates today’s crisis in the context of a capitalism ruled by a voracious quest for profit.”

Roberts, Michael
The Long Depression: How it Happened, Why it Happened and What Happens Next

(Chicago, Illinois, Haymarket Books, 2016, 347 pages)
“Setting out from an unapologetic Marxist perspective, The Long Depression argues that the global economy remains in the throes of a depression. Making the case that the profitability of capital is too low, and the debt built up before the Great Recession too high, leading radical economist Michael Roberts persuasively presents his case that this depression will persist until the profitability of capital is restored through yet another slump.”

Shaikh, Anwar
Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises

(Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016, 1024 pages)
“It is an attempt to derive economic theory from the real world and then apply it to real problems. Shaikh applies Marxist categories and theory to all the major economic issues, including those that are supposed to be the province of mainstream economics, like supply and demand, relative prices in goods and services, interest rates, financial asset prices and technological change.”

  • The New School for Social Research ( With many articles online by Anwar Shaikh.
  • Order in and through disorder (pdf). Chapter in: Eminent Economist II: The Life and Works Philosophies. Ed. Michael Azerberg and Lall B. Rambrattan (Cambridge University Press, 2014, p. 338-351). Biography of Anwar Shaikh.
  • Capitalism and Anwar Shaikh (Michael Roberts Blog, April 4. 2016). “The most important book on Marxist economics this year”.

Smith, E.G.
Twilight Capitalism: Karl Marx and the Decay of the Profit System

By E.G. Smith, Jonah Butovsky and Joseph Watterton (Black Point, Nova Scotia, Fernwood Publishing, 2021, 295 pages). With Contents and Appendices.
“Twilight Capitalism offers a wide-ranging analysis of the origins, implications and scope of the “combined” social crisis of 2020 and beyond. A compelling case is made that Karl Marx’s critical analysis of capitalism, along with his program of class-struggle socialism, is essential to understanding and addressing the most important social, economic and ecological problems of our time.”

  • Twilight capitalism (Michael Roberts Blog, 8 November 2021). “… the best book on Marxist political economy in 2021 … these Canadian-based Marxist economists have delivered a comprehensive and often original analysis of global capitalism in the 21st century.”

Socialist Register 2012: The Crisis and the Left

Edited by Leo Panitch, Greg Albo and Vivek Chibber (Socialist Register, Merlin, 2011, 320 pages). With Table of Contents + Abstract.
“This volume was conceived as a companion to last year’s volume on ‘The Crisis This Time’ [and] deepens that analysis in range a ways, not only in terms of broader regional coverage that extends from Latin America to the Middle East to China to Europe, but also by probing the place of the city in capitalist crises, and the new accumulation strategies that feed on both the public sector crisis and the climate crisis, while still portending a new age of austerity. It also takes better measure of the state of the Left in the crisis, not least by a way of a symposium of three essays on what the Left’s response should be to the Eurozone crisis.”

  • Leo Panitch, Gregory Albo and Vivek Chibber: Preface
  • Melting into air? Review by Sheila Cohen (Against the Current, Issue 158, May/June 2012)
  • Review by Bill Jefferies (Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, 2 April 2012)
  • Crisis as capitalist opportunity (New Left Project, 7 December 2011). Interview with Ursula Huws about her contribution to SR 2012.
  • Class and capitalism in the Gulf: the political economy of the GCC (New Left Project, 5 December, 2011). Interview with Adam Hanieh about his contribution to SR 2012.

Socialist Register 2011: The Crisis This Time

Edited by Leo Panitch, Greg Albo and Vivek Chibber (Socialist Register, Merlin, 2010, 296 pages). With Table of Contents + Abstract.
“The themes this volume encompasses include: Putting ”˜the crisis this time’ in historical and theoretical perspective; Analyzing the role of banks and derivatives in global financialization; Iterrogating Wall Street and City of London before and after the crisis; Surveying the crisis in the USA, the UK, Europe, Japan and South Africa; Taking the measure of the impact of the crisis on working class families; Showing how ”˜exit strategies’ are reviving neoliberalism; Surveying the struggles against the new public austerity in Greece, Ireland, UK and USA.”
Some of the chapters from the yearbook online:

Subasat, Turan
The Great Financial Meltdown: Systemic, Conjunctural or Policy Created?

Edited by Turan Subasat (Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2016, 384 pages)
“The Great Financial Meltdown reviews, advocates and critiques the systemic, conjunctural and policy-based explanations for the 2008 crisis. The book expertly examines these explanations to assess their analytical and empirical validity. Comprehensive yet accessible chapters, written by a collection of prominent authors, cover a wide range of political economy approaches to the crisis, from Marxian through to Post Keynesian and other heterodox schools.”

  • The Great Meltdown of 2008: Systemic, Conjunctural or Policy-created? Workshop with David Harvey, John Weeks, Simon Mohun, Ben Fine, Anwar Shaikh, Al Campbell, David Kotz. The book started from this seminar on the causes of crises hosted by the University of Izmir, Turkey back in October 2014.
  • Review (Michael Roberts Blog, August 9, 2016)

Ticktin, Hillel
Marxism and the Global Financial Crisis

Edited by Hillel Ticktin (London, Routledge, 2011, 184 pages). Originally published as a special issue of Critique (Vol.38, No.3, 2010, p.349-518)
“The book discusses Marx’s view on crises, as well as ideas on money and finance. It considers the different modern Marxist ideas on the causes of crises – falling rate of profit, disproportionality and underconsumption. It goes into detail as to the nature of the present crisis, its course and causes in a spirited and independent manner.”

World in Crisis: A Global Analysis of Marx’s Law of Profitability

Edited by Guglielmo Carchedi and Michael Roberts (Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2018, 462 pages)
“This groundbreaking volume brings together Marxist scholars from around the world to offer an empirically grounded defense of Marx’s law of profitability and its central role in explaining capitalist crises.”

See also:

Clutching at straws? Some mainstream accounts of the crisis. By Brian O’Boyle (International Socialism, Issue 136, Summer 2012, p.179-193)
Review of Gillian Tett, Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted A Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe (Abacus, 2009); Paul Krugman, The Return of Depression Economics (Penguin, 2008); and Joseph Stiglitz, Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy (Penguin, 2010)

A History of Marxian Economics

By M.C. Howard and J.E. King
Vol. 1, 1888-1929 (pdf) (MacMillan, 1989, 359 pages; online at
“The analysis begins with Engels’s development of Marxism and early controversies in the theory of value. Subsequent chapters deal with the work of leading Marxist economists in the Second International, concentrating upon the work of German and Russian theorists. The volume concludes with a review of intellectual developments in political economy during the 1920s.”
Vol. 2, 1929-1990 (pdf) (MacMillan, 1992, 420 pages; online at
“The main themes of Marian political economy in this period are the analyses of the Great Depression and Stalinism, the understanding of the ‘long boom’ and its demise, the development of new theories of imperialism, continuing controversies in the theories of value and exploitation, and the formulation of a Marxism founded on rational choice and the elaboration of an economics of socialism.”