OK, time to take another whack at these creeps.
I recommend the first two comments in this thread, those by Socratizer and GuildF312S, and also the interview below with old Marxian economist Richard Wolff. His concept of socialism (worker ownership, period) is stuck in the nineteenth century, and his understanding of the cooperative movement is very limited. (Worker coops and WOEs are only a part of the solution, as they generally treat end users of what is produced, i.e., “consumers,” as passive actors in the same way that capitalism does.) But he has a lot to offer to people new to serious study of modern alternatives to capitalism, as does Gar Alperovitz and his “Next System Project.”
My background is “STEM,” and when I stumbled upon formal economics 25 years ago in my late 40s I thought it looked like pseudo-science, with concepts that were vague or simply bogus and intentionally obscure. I spent the next decade earning two graduate degrees in it trying to figure out what they were actually saying. Once I found out that I am far from alone in that assessment, despite the feckless refusal of the MSM even to mention alternatives, I concluded that I was right the first time.
Recently I came across a book by “barefoot economist” Manfred Max-Neef and physicist Philip Smith with the tabloid-esque title Economics Unmasked, which turned out to be a scathing attack from a novel direction. Smith and Max-Neef build a strong case that the “political economy” of Adam Smith and his predecessors (a full century of them) was never even intended as a scientific analysis of how the economy works, but as an apologia for the rising bourgeoisie, whose rapidly increasing wealth and influence was not covered by the Divine Right of Kings, to shield them from attacks by the working classes.
I am convinced that they are at least partly correct, and I recommend their book. In addition, for an excellent and wide-ranging but readable account of how academic economics developed, I recommend Robert Heilbroner’s The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers. For an even more readable version, with superb graphic-non-fiction illustrations by Dan E. Burr AND a no-prisoners take on the present and possibly future at the end, I recommend Michael Goodwin’s Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn’t Work). The title is a 3-way pun.