Articles & Blogs, Category = Book reviews

Category: Book reviews

Goodbye to All That: The End of Neoliberalism?

“What, precisely, do we mean when we discuss neoliberalism? Are we simply using a polite euphemism for ‘capitalism’ or do we refer to a distinctive social order altogether? Is neoliberalism an idea or a politics or a cultural phenomenon or some combination of all of these? Denniss [in his new book Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself and What Comes Next] suggests ‘neoliberalism’ can be used, fairly straightforwardly, as ‘a catch-all term for all things small government’ and for a ‘blind faith in market forces’.”

Book review: ‘The Socialist Manifesto’ by Bhaskar Sunkara

“The title is a misnomer, because The Socialist Manifesto is not much of a manifesto. It is mostly a history of socialist movements around the world. The ‘manifesto,’ such as it is, is in the opening chapter, where Sunkara briefly describes a fictitious near-future socialist America, and in the final chapter, where he describes a political strategy for socialists to grow their movement and win influence.”

Should We Be Anxious about the Future of Capitalism?

“Sassoon, Emeritus Professor of Comparative European History at Queen Mary, is hardly a dyed-in-the-wool free marketeer, and The Anxious Triumph; A Global History of Capitalism 1860-1914 is by no means a celebration of capitalism. There are frequent swipes at neoliberalism, free-market ideology and ‘untrammelled individualism’. […] But to this laissez-faire reader, the big-picture lesson from Anxious Triumph is an encouraging one, and all the more so for the fact that its author likely disagrees with me on quite a lot.”

Grace Blakeley’s ‘Stolen’ Is a Tired Invective against Market Capitalism

“Grace Blakeley’s Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation […] is not a good book. Its invective against capitalism cherry-picks the evidence and disregards the dramatic economic growth of non-Western countries, home to 80% of the world’s population, since 1980. Furthermore, the book’s case for a state takeover of most capital allocation in the economy takes no account of the gross mismanagement, environmental degradation, and human suffering associated with twentieth-century experiments with socialism, to which contemporary Venezuela is a particularly tragic sequel.”

The Sacrificial Rites of Capitalism We Don’t Talk About

“Capitalism’s official story, Rajan explains, charts a linear progression from magical-thinking hunter-gatherers doing their ‘trucking and bartering,’ as Adam Smith would have it, to today’s rational global capitalists engaged in free competition. This story insists — and here we come to a tricky part — that when individuals act in their own interest, the best results occur for everybody. Millions of self-centered actions add up to create an equilibrium that gives birth to a society that is fairer and more stable, creative, and abundant than ever before. Quite a tale! But far from the whole story, says Rajan.”

Who Is Watching the Shadow Banks?

“Shadow banking refers to bank-like financial activities that do not fall under traditional regulations; they have been one of the root causes of the recent financial crisis. M. Thiemann identifies the structural causes for their rapid growth, and shows which institutional reforms could prevent the circumvention of regulations.”

Work That Doesn’t Pay Off

“Free labour takes a wide variety of forms today: charity work, civic service, internships, digital labour… Taking as her starting point the teachings on domestic labour put forward by feminists many years ago, the sociologist Maud Simonet provides an updated analysis of these contemporary forms of exploitation.”

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