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Stolen: How Finance Destroyed the Economy and Corrupted our Politics
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Stolen: How Finance Destroyed the Economy and Corrupted our Politics

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  410 ratings  ·  47 reviews
A readable polemic on the growing dominance of the finance industry over the UK economy, and what the left can do to challenge it.

The last time there had been run a on a British bank was 1886, when Overend, Gurney and Company folded after their appeals to the Bank of England for support fell on deaf ears. Then, in 2008, on the brink of collapse after lending too much money
Kindle Edition
Published September 10th 2019 by Repeater (first published 2019)
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Sarah Jaffe
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought I knew everything I needed to know about financialization, but I was wrong. Bonus points for always directing the reader back to systemic, structural problems and away from "solutionism" and for including a critique of social democracy. A great place to start for those looking to understand late capitalism and its crises. ...more
Wendy Liu
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: capitalism-etc
An accessible and well-written guide to financialisation & what we can do about it. The proposed solutions (primarily in a UK context) are wide-ranging and quite radical. Recommended for anyone who wants to better understand the left critique of capitalism and what the alternative could be.
Paul  Perry
Blakely delivers a scathing, thorough and very readable account of why the move to 'financialisation' - that is, a vast portion of economic growth has moved to the finance sector rather than the manufacturing or service. As she puts it; the majority of wealth is in the hands of those who make their money from the money they have, rather than those who work for a living. Decades of regulation encouraging this behaviour, along with the selling off of public services and the financialisaton of publ ...more
Robert Maisey
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the 1970s an insurgent Conservative party headed by a radical new leader emerged to challenge the post-war economic and social consensus: a consensus that had been authored in a large part by the Labour Party. Since the end of the war, radical right wing economists, academics and politicians had been working tirelessly to create an intellectual framework which might restore the dominance of unrestrained markets, big capital and - in their view - freedom itself.

The 1970s was marked by a highl
Frances Coppola
Sep 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Very disappointed. Blakeley is a self-avowed Marxist, but there is very little Marxism in this book. It is also riddled with basic errors about banks and finance, and it significantly misrepresents Keynes. I wonder if she has even read the General Theory? I expected far more radical proposals, such as nationalisation of banks and pension funds, punitive taxation of capital and strict capital controls to prevent capitalists avoiding the punitive taxes. The People's Asset Manager is an interesting ...more
Lena B
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
well-structured, concise, fairly accessible and engaging. also does a decent job at suggesting concrete possible solutions to the issues outlined in the earlier chapters in the final chapter. more of an introductory text (though that's not a criticism). ...more
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think absolutely everyone should read this book. I have never read such an astute explanation of how financialised capitalism came to be and how it can never and will never work. The system is broken; our economy runs on almost nothing.

We have been lied to for decades and the continuation of a system that entrenches inequality, destroys the planet for profit and erodes the dignity and quality of life of the majority relies on us remaining economically uneducated because we think it's beyond us
George Melhuish
Oct 10, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the worst books I have ever had the misfortune to read. If you’d like to understand finance please look for something else. If you want something about the recession I would suggest Adam Tooze’s “Crashed”, if you’d like an explanation of the actions of policy makers I’d suggest “Firefighting” by Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner and if you’d like to understand modern inequality have a look at Piketty. Don’t buy this. I got it for free and even that was too much money
Sean Estelle
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow - if there is one book I’ve read this year that I would recommend to everyone in my life most at the moment, this is probably it. From the narrative history of the financial crisis, to the policy solutions for democratization of finance, this was an engaging and highly accessible read about an often inaccessible and unengaging (but deeply important) topic.
Jonathan Brown Gilbert
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An urgent, powerfully written and compulsively readable account of the history of finance-led capitalism, followed by a clearly defined set of practical alternatives for moving towards a post-capitalist future. As with many other books from this publisher, the manuscript could have done with some judicious editing: the repetition of a number of key facts is particularly annoying (for instance, stating that wage growth in the UK is at its lowest point since the Napoleonic Wars sounds very dramati ...more
Laura McCafferty
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
really interesting book with lots of confusing concepts explained really well. discusses the rise of financialised capitalism, it's current state of demise, and how to help fix the system to benefit the many and not the few. ...more
Connor Matthews
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A glimpse of the future post-capitalism.
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
“It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” This piece of pessimism of the 1990s limped on into the new millennium and shaped the thinking of the crew who gathered around the New Labour ‘third way’ project. The glitz and glamour of a world that was being refashioned through the globalisation of capital movement led them to the question whether it was ever desirable to end capitalism anyway. Much better to grab a seat on the helter-skelter ride and see where it took ...more
Paul moved to LibraryThing
Oct 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
"Not even wrong" level of argument. I like how even communists don't like to use the word nationalisation and instead call it "democratisation". If only communism could produce more than just countless manifestos. ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
The virtue of this book is that it locates the economic crises of capitalism, from the Great Depression (1939) to the crash of 2008, within the inherent contradictions of the capitalist system itself, rather than in the personal greed or incompetence of the bankers or industrial monopolists.

Grace Blakeley identifies the post-war Keynesian policies (of state intervention to stimulate demand during downturns in the economy) with the extension of social democracy and construction of the welfare st
Jamie Sims
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grace Blakeley's account of financialisation is excellent. Much of what she writes about will be familiar to those who followed the Great Financial Crisis and its aftermath - the rise of sub-prime debt, the proliferation of arcane and dubious financial practices (credit-default swaps, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives), the way the banks were bailed out while ordinary people were saddled with losses and subjected to austerity. However, Blakeley situates these financial practices in the 're ...more
Darran Mclaughlin
Grace Blakely is one of the most impressive of the new wave of young Left Wing public intellectuals to have emerged over the past few years of intellectual ferment in the UK. It makes a change for the UK to actually be at the cutting edge of ideas and events again after years of torpor. She writes clearly and well about the financialization of the UK and the world economy, clearly illustrating how it was planned and engineered by a coalition of right wing interests to benefit a small, wealthy el ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book as an in-depth exploration of fiance-based growth as the ongoing dismantling of the labor led advances in society since WW2.

My best takeaway is a understanding of the Stock market as antithesis of labor - That stock-market increases since the 70s has represented NOT increase in production but just the vault where the 1% powerful stash what they've systematically stolen from the bottom 90%. Redefining polarization as economic progress itself and convincing the public to cheer their
Wanted to like this book but after going through it, I don't think it was worth the time. This is not because the author does not seem to know the material but because the book is written in such a way that the average reader (myself) is not actually able to follow the way material is presented or the way the concepts are explained without having to struggle. ...more
Daniel Tucker-simmons
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Phenomenal book. The title doesnt do it justice. This book is on the level of the great works of past socialist theorists. Equal parts accessible and sophisticated, the book presents an inspiring and extremely well thought out roadmap to a sustainable future.
Sam Dobbs
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An account of global finance capital since the 1980s which is easy to read and understand. It starts with explaining Breton Woods and the Keynesian consensus and uses these as a counterpoint to the Neoliberalism which was to follow. This is not however a book which extolls the virtues of the pre-neoliberal turn, but one which sees a financialised economic system as an inevitable outcome of the failure of Keynes' vision in the 70s.

This book explains concisely and narratively the corporate cultur
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As somebody who leans to the left economically and to the right socially, I've always found up-and-coming left-wingers - who mostly seem obsessed by identity politics and little else - to be a bit unpalatable. I was quite curious by Grace Blakeley though, who has a good academic pedigree (a first-class degree in PPE from Oxford, and who I was told focuses much more on economic issues. I'm also very interested by the topic of the increasing financialisation (i.e. the increasing role of finance, f ...more
Leanne Walker
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNF. I may finish this one day, but it is not this day. I am disappointed because I find Grace Blakeley to be an incredibly insightful economics commentator when I see her on TV, but she has managed to make fascinating content almost unreadable. The writing style is not particularly engaging, there's a lot of repetitive language and phrases, and despite there being a review on the back of the book claiming it is a "...clear guide to left wing economics", I have to respectfully disagree. When I'm ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I will definitely be reading this again!

This is a fantastic book that is only detrimentally referred to as the pejorative of a "polemic" which passively refuses to engage with any of its arguments while inferring disagreement. A real shame. I would be shocked if the arguments and research could be genuinely refuted by any concerned party.

The book reads as a clear narrative of the past century of economic policy, that has been driven by ideologues to empower international capitalist elites and th
Frank Burns
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Time to get caught up on my non-fiction reading. This has taken me a while, which is not so much a commentary on the quality of the book itself but of my life. This book is a clear, readable explanation of how finance has led us all astray and what factors have created the current parlous state of affairs. However, when it switches over to recommendations then a few cracks appear. Firstly, there is some lefty in-fighting which just makes me roll my eyes. How do leftist thinkers expect unconvince ...more
El C
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was ok

Chapter 7 helps to define a National Investment Bank that the UK Labour Party has been promoting since I think 2018. Strangely, a NIb seems to fill an anecdotal role currently employed by the US in their Federal Reserve under emergency conditions. Moreover a NIB would be redundant, over managed and impossible to operate where market conditions demand high interest.

In chapter 7 there emerges two competing and fundamental motives for the operation of a national investment bank.

(One) that t
Sandra McCord
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Her ideas for correcting the mess are visionary and courageous. She does not suffer from a failure of imagination in her plans for reversing current problems which I appreciated after slogging through content a bit over my head. Overall she did a great job making things understandable to the uninitiated. I followed her a bit on the Internet after I read this book and that helped me understand what she was writing much better.
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A fan of her media appearances and writings I was looking forward to it, and left very disappointed.

Most of it is just a rudimentary summary of where we find ourselves - not new news to anyone with a basic reading of left wing economic theory and history. One chapter of solutions that were confused, that came across a tad puerile and detached from the previous analysis.

Finally its quite repetitive, and overly focused on a few sources.
mike osman
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent description of our current predicament and possible solutions for it. The author describes the rise of finance-led capitalism out of the crisis of the 1970s and describes the shifting class politics that made neoliberalism possible, and why that version of capitalism is no longer viable. The book is mainly focused on the UK and the USA.
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Grace Blakeley is a British economics commentator and author.

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“After decades of capitalist realism, it would be possible to imagine a world based on cooperation rather than competition, on mutual aid rather than exploitation, and on stewardship of our common resources rather than ruthless extraction.” 1 likes
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