Marjorie Kelly has written three books that trace the failures of the extractive economy and the emerging shape of a new democratic, sustainable economy. These books have been published in multiple countries, including the United Kingdom, South Korea, China, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and elsewhere. Her latest works examine the on-the-ground movement to build a democratic economy through public ownership, employee ownership, anchor procurement, commons governance, ethical finance, and other innovations.
The Making of a Democratic Economy (with Ted Howard)
The Making of a Democratic Economy is a clarion call for a movement ready to get serious about transforming our economic system. Illuminating the principles of a democratic economy through the stories of on-the-ground community wealth builders and their unlikely accomplices in the halls of institutional power, this book is a must read for everyone concerned with how we win the fight for an economy that’s equitable, not extractive.
“It’s not enough to imagine another world is possible, we need to feel and taste it. Kelly and Howard give us the concrete stories we need to truly believe in this new world.”— Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough, This Changes Everything, and No Logo
“An insightful, moving, energizing book, just what America needs now more than ever. Kelly and Howard enable us to see that indeed there is life—good life—beyond our brutal form of capitalism, and it is already emerging. Bravo!”— Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and coauthor of Daring Democracy
“In the face of our climate crisis, dangerous levels of social inequity, and the loss of unimaginable biodiversity comes The Making of a Democratic Economy, a critically important book of hope, possibility, and solutions. Thorough, thoughtful, and full of essential insights, this timely guide is a must-read for all concerned about a better future.”— Jeffrey Hollender, cofounder of Seventh Generation and Board Chair, American Sustainable Business Council
Owning Our Future
In her 2012 book, Kelly explores many experiments with new forms of ownership, which she calls generative: aimed at creating the conditions for life for many generations to come. To understand these emerging alternatives, Kelly reports from all over the world and finds the five essential patterns of ownership design that make these models work. She then explores how they may hold the key to the deep transformation that our civilization needs.
“Owning Our Future by Marjorie Kelly has for years been among my five top reads for rethinking economics because of its ambitious vision and incisive clarity.— Kate Raworth, economist
“A friend handed me a copy of Marjorie Kelly’s new book Owning Our Future and said he thought it was so good that he had bought a case of them to share with colleagues and friends. By the time I was 50 pages into the book, I had a similar impulse to buy a case. This is one of those books that you read and from there forward, you see the world a different way.”— Beth Tener, New Directions Collaborative
“This magnificent book is a kind of recipe for how civilization might cope with its too-big-to-fail problem. It’s a hardheaded, clear-eyed, and therefore completely moving account of what a different world might look like—what it already does look like in enough places that you will emerge from its pages inspired to get involved.”—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy
Divine Right of Capital
In this book, Kelly considers how corporations strive to make money for their shareholders regardless of the costs to society. Part 1 examines the structure of the public corporation and how it serves investors not employees or the community for which it was created. Part 2 argues for new set of paradigms and laws that would result in economic democracy, insuring that corporations exist for the public good. Named one of 10 Best Business Books of 2001 by Library Journal.
The Divine Right of Capital was widely excerpted and reviewed, in places as diverse as Harvard Business Review, Utne Reader, San Francisco Chronicle, Earth Island Journal, BusinessWeek online, and many others. It was selected as a recommended book by book clubs, Harvard Business School, Wharton@Work, and elsewhere. Now more than two decades old, the book is still used in a variety of MBA classes.
Read the introduction [pdf].
Kelly’s book will exhilarate you, because it is such a thorough de-masking of the indefensible.”— Paul Hawken, Whole Earth
“This might just be one of the most important books of the past fifty years.”— John Renesch, author of Getting to the Better Future: A Matter of Conscious Choosing
“Until I read The Divine Right of Capital, I never really entertained the thought that stockholders are not even the rightful owners of corporations. This is Kelly’s seditious claim. She delivers a provocative plea for a dialogue on ownership and the nature of the corporation, in the bracing tradition of Thomas Paine.”— William Bole, America: The National Catholic Weekly
Reviews and Interviews
- Building Prosperity—A Review of ‘The Making of a Democratic Economy’ by Robert O. Zdenek, Shelterforce, August 2019.
- Making of a Democratic Economy: Review Essay, by James McRitchie, Corporate Governance, July 13, 2019.
- Book Review by SenScot.net on April 23, 2013.
- Who owns us? Who owns our future? Review by Bruce Cahan, Solutions Magazine, February 2013. Reprinted by Resilience.org.
- Creating the Structures for a Generative Economy Review by Beth Tener, Principal at New Directions Collaborative, Jan 7, 2013.
- Owning our Future: When Systems Theory Meets Corporate Design [pdf]. Review by Susan Ware, CSRWire , Nov 14, 2012.
- KEXP, Mind Over Matters Sustainability Segment. Interview with Diane Horn in which Marjorie talks about her book, Owning Our Future. September 17, 2012.
- Radio Interview on Real Food Empire with Stephanie Georgieff August 5, KCCA Radio 1050AM, Loma Linda, CA Hear Marjorie speak about her new book, the John Lewis Partnership, Organic Valley, and more on the interview podcast (Marjorie is on halfway through the program).
- Radio Interview by Maria Armoudian Insighters & Scholars’ Circle, July 8th, 2012. In the first half-hour of this podcast, host Maria Armoudian discusses with Marjorie her book, Owning Our Future, and the growing number of examples of the democratic economy at work.
- There Is a Way! Beyond the Big, Bad Corporation by Tara Lohan, with comments from Marjorie Kelly. Huffington Post, May 22, 2012.
- Time to Ditch Our Profit-Hungry Corporate Economy: Here’s What the Future Could Look Like Instead, an interview with Marjorie Kelly by Tara Lohan, Alternet, May 2012.
- When No One’s in Charge. Review of Owning Our Future, Harvard Business Review, May 2012.