Since the 19th century, people have claimed that the prosperity enjoyed by the First World was the result of its devotion to unconstrained economic freedoms. In his 2003 book Kicking Away the Ladder, South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang claims this was not the case and that, in fact, First World economic success was due to exactly the kinds of state intervention that traditional economic thinking consistently opposes today.
Its arguments would go on to shape global economics and influence world leaders in the late 20th century, but Capitalism and Freedom was largely ignored when it was first published in 1962. The first work written for the general public by American economist Milton Friedman, the book argues that a free market with little government interference is the best way to run society.
David Graeber's 2011 book, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, seeks to overturn hundreds of years of economic theory, specifically the idea that people have a natural inclination to trade with each other and that the concept of money developed spontaneously to overcome the inefficiencies of a bartering system. The US-born social activist uses his training as an anthropologist to trace the histories of money and of debt and reaches the conclusion that money was in fact created by the state as a means of exploiting the poor.