Trade Wars Are Class Wars

How Rising Inequality Distorts the Global Economy and Threatens International Peace

Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis; With a New Preface

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Winner of the 2021 Lionel Gelber Prize: A provocative look at how today’s trade conflicts are caused by governments promoting the interests of elites at the expense of workers

“The authors weave a complex tapestry of monetary, fiscal and social policies through history and offer opinions about what went right and what went wrong . . . Worth reading for their insights into the history of trade and finance.”—George Melloan, Wall Street Journal

"This is a very important book."—Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Trade disputes are usually understood as conflicts between countries with competing national interests, but as Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis show, they are often the unexpected result of domestic political choices to serve the interests of the rich at the expense of workers and ordinary retirees. Klein and Pettis trace the origins of today’s trade wars to decisions made by politicians and business leaders in China, Europe, and the United States over the past thirty years. Across the world, the rich have prospered while workers can no longer afford to buy what they produce, have lost their jobs, or have been forced into higher levels of debt. In this thought-provoking challenge to mainstream views, the authors provide a cohesive narrative that shows how the class wars of rising inequality are a threat to the global economy and international peace—and what we can do about it.

Longlisted for the 2020 Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award and named a Best Business Book of 2020 by Strategy + Business

Matthew C. Klein is the economics commentator at Barron’s. Michael Pettis is professor of finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management and a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"This is a very important book."—Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Trade Wars are Class Wars is a must-read from two of the most astute commentators on the global economy. Klein and Pettis offer an essential analysis of how domestic inequality and international conflict are interlinked, and provide an answer to the crisis of globalization.”—Adam Tooze, author of Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World

“An erudite, original, and provocative explanation of the global economic imbalances that have been at the root of numerous financial crises.”—Ernesto Zedillo, Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

"This is a book that everyone concerned with the global economy should read. A fascinating account of the damage that rising inequality—especially in China and Germany—has done to all our economies"—Dani Rodrik, Harvard University

“The authors weave a complex tapestry of monetary, fiscal and social policies through history and offer opinions about what went right and what went wrong . . . Worth reading for their insights into the history of trade and finance.”—George Melloan, Wall Street Journal

"[O]ffers a deeper argument about the source of the trouble”—Economist

“[Klein and Pettis] pack into just a few hundred pages a sweeping and powerful account of the interconnections between cutthroat politics and global economic imbalances.”—Ryan Avent, Strategy + Business

“Matthew Klein and Michael Pettis have successfully woven a grand narrative linking income inequality, geopolitics, trade, finance and even environmental issues.”—Maximilian Kärnfelt, Merics China Briefing Newsletter

Winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize, sponsored by Munk Centre for International Studies
ISBN: 9780300261448
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
296 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
29 b/w illus.