This chatty and engaging book by Thomas Geoghegan explores the little-known world of the present-day German industrial economy -- a form of quasi-socialism which involves large measures of worker control, through unions, "works councils", and other mechanisms. Contrary to what you would expect if you read only the financial press, this model appears to work quite well -- Germany is the world's biggest exporter (outdoing China), and they've managed to retain and make use of a skilled manufacturing workforce. According to Geoghegan, the lifestyle of a typical middle-class German is vastly better that that of a similar USian, at least along some obvious dimensions (vacation time, guaranteed health care, job security and hence no need to work like a dog to keep your job) and some non-obvious ones (a strong feeling of social solidarity, the way job stability helps to build a high-value workforce).
This is a book of personal impressions rather than something systematically researched and thought out. Geoghegan wanders in and out of the country in a daze, not quite believing this can work. Most of the people he talks to in Germany believe their system is doomed and the Anglo-American model of capitalism will triumph there as it has everywhere, and the German workers will join the race to the bottom along with the rest of the world. Yet even the center-right parties (the Christian Democrats) have robust support for the existing system.
There is some wistful but unconvincing speculation about how the US could somehow someday adopt a model like this. I'm dubious. The social and economic fabric of the US has frayed so far that it is hard to imagine it coming together again to make a society like that of Germany, where people feel responsibility for each other and enact that responsibility through social institutions with enough actual power to restrain economic rapaciousness. OTOH, think about the hellish world that present-day Germany grew out of. So dramatic changes for the good can happen. I hope it doesn't require passing through utter catastrophe.
Geoghegan's earlier book, Which Side Are You On: Trying to be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back is also very good.
Speaking of solidarity, another interesting-looking book on my queue is Yellow Blue Tibia, a novel in which Stalin after the end of WWII enlists a troop of Soviet science fiction writers to create a a new threat to bind the country together -- sort of Watchmen meets Gary Shteyngart. Uniting-against-a-fake-common-enemy is a hoary idea, but presumably the setting puts a new spin on it.