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THE BEST BOOKS OF 2008

15 SCHOLARS, CRITICS, WRITERS, AND ARTISTS CHOOSE THE YEAR’S OUTSTANDING TITLES.

MICHAEL HARDT

The financial crisis of fall 2008 is one symptom of a transition in the nature and form of global order. The most important question this transition raises is what new possibilities it is opening up; but before asking that, one has to understand also what the transition is closing down. Two of the best books I have read in the past year, Giovanni Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century (Verso) and Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Picador), help us situate the current crisis within this larger period of transition and recognize what is coming to an end. Arrighi details the exhaustion of US unilateralist strategies over the global political and economic order, and Klein demonstrates the failures and inevitable bankruptcy of neoliberalism.

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