False Dawn, John Gray 1998.
As a subscriber to The Economist magazine, John Gray's 1998 book is an uncomfortable read: the main targets of his skewering are such Economist icons as free markets, liberal democracy and much of the Enlightenment project itself. Gray predicts the implosion of the financial system and describes the future as being one of many competing, and very different, capitalisms than the one the "West" has tried to spread around the world since the Second World War.
The book is challenging to many preconceived notions of the way the world works and what the future holds, and that makes it very thought provoking. Now that we've had a major financial inflection point (I could say crash), the book was worth another read.
For an even more thought-provoking and challenging book by John Gray, I've also read Straw Dogs. This book needs a re-read and then a post itself.
From the Postscript synopsis :
False Dawn argues that a global free market is not an iron law of historical development but a political project. The deep flaws of this project have already caused much unnecessary suffering. Yet a global economy modelled on Anglo-American free markets is the avowed goal of the International Monetary Fund and similar transnational organisations. Global markets are engines of creative destruction. Like the markets of the past, they do not advance in smooth, steady waves. They make progress through cycles of boom and bust, speculative manias and financial crises. Like capitalism in the past, global capitalism achieves its prodigious productivity today by destroying old industries, occupations and ways of life - but on a scale that is worldwide.