Left-leaning politics are fascinating. Social, economic, environmental — and political — systems are dynamically interwoven. But how do you intelligently interpret the vast changing trends and power shifts that occur throughout the globe?
Consult the experts.
To make better sense of the world, I particularly like to read books by professors. They’re excellent at explaining things.
Right now, I’m reading Understanding Socialism by Marxist economist Richard D. Wolff. Socialism is evolving, like every other “ism.” The next stage of socialism may emphasize democracy in the workplace. At least, that is Wolff’s hope. He’s an advocate of the worker-owned-and-directed enterprise. He argues that work should be democratized, in a democratic society. Does that sound logical, or what? (Wolff is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and currently a Visiting Professor at the New School in New York City.)
Next, on my reading list, is The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy by Stephanie Kelton. The book is supposed to be a comprehensible introduction to the topic of modern monetary theory (MMT). Though I sense the importance of MMT, from a few videos I’ve seen, I’m helpless at explaining it. This book should cure that. (Kelton is professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University.)
Then, there are two especially outstanding sociological books that I read in the last year or so. I recommend them to all inquiring minds.
The first is Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl. For anyone who has ever wracked their brain to figure out why so many people vote against their own interests, this book provides the best answer you’re bound to find. (Metzl teaches sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.)
The second is Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. Even if you think you already understand American racism, please read this book. It’s a deep, and riveting, endeavor that connects the dots. Anyway, the book is just plain interesting. For instance, did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King was disconcerted at being compared to an Untouchable from India? Did you know that the Nazi regime studied Jim Crow policies in America, in order to better oppress the Jews — and get away with it? (Although Wilkerson is not a professor, she could be! She’s a brilliant, award-winning author and journalist.)
What progressive books are you reading, or have read, that help you better understand our upside down world? (Fiction or nonfiction.) Tell us about your favorites in the Comments Section, so people can add them to their reading lists.
One of the great solutions to many problems, is to get smarter. So we read, read, read!