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The Alternative

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399813822

Price: £25

ON SALE: 18th January 2024

Genre: Economics, Finance, Business & Management

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A provocative debunking of accepted economic wisdom which offers a new pathway to a sustainable, survivable economy.

Confronted by the devastating trends of the early twenty-first century – widening inequality, environmental destruction, and millions of workers stuck in precarious, soul destroying work – many economists, politicians and business leaders argue that there is no alternative. They cling to the dogmas that got us in this mess in the first place: private markets are more efficient than public ones; investment capital always flows where it is needed; inequality is an inevitable side effect of economic growth; people only behave well with the right incentives.

But a growing number of academic economists, business owners, policy entrepreneurs, and ordinary people are rejecting these myths and reshaping economies to reflect their ethical and social values. Journalist Nick Romeo, who covers the world’s most innovative economic and policy ideas for the New Yorker, takes us on an extraordinary journey through the unforgettable stories and successes of people working to build economies that are more equal, just, and liveable. Combining original, in-depth reporting with expert analysis, Romeo explores everything from fair pricing in the Netherlands to large scale cooperatives in Spain to public sector marketplaces offering decent work and real protection to gig workers in California and demonstrates there is an alternative.


In this informative and courageous book, Nick Romeo shows there is an alternative - or, rather, many alternatives - to the currently dominant neoliberal economic system. In doing so, he liberates our economic imagination and puts a backbone into economics as a moral science. This is a very valuable field manual for those who want to change our economies for the better
Ha-Joon Chang, professor of economics, University of London, and author of EDIBLE ECONOMICS
The Alternative got my emotions boiling . . . yet I felt a strong rush of hope in seeing, through Romeo's deep research and vivid storytelling, that there are plenty of great solutions out there, and they're already being put into practice. As this important book makes clear, we just need the moral courage and political imagination to make them mainstream
Rick Wartzman, author of STILL BROKE
Carefully researched, beautifully written, engaging stories, filled with wisdom about building economic justice. Easy reading that results in hard thinking about how economics can be a force for good
Joseph R. Blasi, professor and director, Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing, Rutgers University
There is an alternative to capitalism as we know it. Romeo vividly describes the options, giving reason for optimism about a more just and democratic economy beyond the bleak prison of shareholder capitalism. The Alternative reports from the front lines on bold experiments going on around the world
Jerry Davis, professor of business administration, University of Michigan
Profound and engaging, a terrific book that deserves to be widely read. Romeo zeroes in on the actual solutions undertaken by communities and businesses to end the crises of global warming and wealth inequality and provide good jobs for all with genuine living wages. The Alternative gives us the ways and means for creating a just economy
Clair Brown, professor of economics emerita, University of California, Berkeley
The Alternative breathes with hope and urgency about building a more equitable economy and society. The hope, however, rests not on fanciful dreams but is grounded in living examples of people and organizations that are already demonstrating their viability . . . I hope that by bringing these 'alternatives' to the attention of wider audiences, Romeo's book will inspire many more such efforts, helping to move them from the margins of our economy to the mainstream
Marina Gorbis, executive director, Institute for the Future
Romeo gives us a book of dark fears and bright hope. Exposing follies from the foolishness of 18th century English Ricardian economics, through to the devious of contemporary American billionaires who believe they can buy the University, The Alternative clearly lays out what should most concern us and what other courses of action we can demand and win. An excellent book
Danny Dorling, Professor of Human Geography, University of Oxford
The Alternative is just the book economists should read . . . Diligently researched and admirably principled new book . . . brisk and sensible
Washington Post
An enlightening, inspiring read . . . The Alternative brings together an appealing range of ways people across the west are imaginatively and determinedly contesting the givens in today's capitalism. There is an ache for better - for more just ways of organising the way we work and adding more meaning to our lives. You can't help but applaud Nick Romeo for showing the workable alternatives to capitalism and the moral driver behind them