Democratizing Finance:

Restructuring Credit to Transform Society


The Future of an Illusion

State of Innovation:

The U.S. Government’s Role in Technology Development


The Habitation Society:  Creating Sustainable Prosperity.

The book will be published this Fall by Agenda Publishing in the United Kingdom.

In The Habitation Society, leading economic and political sociologist Fred Block argues that we are at a time of “blocked transition” from one mode of economic and social organization to another. We now have a habitation economy because most people work at creating, maintaining or improving the soft and hard infrastructure of the communities in which we live. The problem, however, is that we do not yet have a habitation society since our economy continues to be organized through the structures, institutions and concepts of an industrial economy. While the old industrial economy is dying, the new habitation society cannot yet be born.

But it is more than this, our methods for understanding how the economy works are also built around the analysis of industrial production, which are completely inadequate, Block shows, for grasping the new reality of how we buy and consume services in the habitation economy. In the absence of concepts to make sense of what is happening, the political space becomes filled with conspiracy theories and disinformation. Specifically, it has become extremely difficult for people to understand their own relationship to the larger economy and society, in particular, there is no longer an obvious relationship between the amount or intensity of work effort and economic output.

Fred Block’s compelling analysis offers a path through this confusion and a means to understand our transition and what form this will take. He examines the economy as it actually exists in the present and maps out what would make that economy work more effectively in the hope that this will empower individuals to recognize the kinds of changes that could be made to improve things for themselves, their families and their communities.

Fred has previewed the argument in an article in Dissent that is available here.

A version of one of the key chapters has been published in Theory and Society as “What counts as investment?  Productive and Unproductive Expenditures”.

Recent Books


Two of the smartest and most erudite sociologists at work today, Block and Somers deftly trace the biographical origins of Polanyi’s ideas and elucidate the philosophical, historical, and economic literatures he alludes to. The result is a lucid, engaging, and often brilliant guidebook to The Great Transformation that shows just how much we need Polanyi today…

Everyone should be reading The Great Transformation these days. But first they should probably read The Power of Market Fundamentalism.

Frank Dobbin

American Journal of Sociology

The term ‘industrial policy’ remains a bugaboo in the United States, even though as this book documents the federal government is one of the world’s most activist when it comes to industrial support.

The true value of the book (State of Innovation) resides in the case narratives it presents on a range of successful and unsuccessful public programs. The book is a treasure trove of ideas on how to make the strategic collaboration between private and public work better. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the state of the U.S. economy and its future prospects.

Dani Rodrik

John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University

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