Posted by: Tony Shannon | February 28, 2017

For the Many, Not the Few: Saving Capitalism

Now and again a book comes along that helps you see the world in a clearer light.
On a trip away I stumbled across a bookshop  with a book that caught my eye.

Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few   – by Robert Reich.

I bought it .. it may be the most important book I’ve come across in some years.

 

First published in 2015 but only recently available here, it was written before Brexit and Trump-it but is a wholly important examination of our current times.
The material within merits significant exploration and exposition which I hope to do in future posts.
For now I wanted to share the 5 Building Blocks of Capitalism that it explains.

  • Property: what can be owned
  • Monopoly: what degree of market power is permissible
  • Contract: what can be bought and sold and on what terms
  • Bankruptcy: what happens when purchasers can’t pay up
  • Enforcement: how to make sure no one cheats these rules

Now these key aspects of the world we live in may seem to be written in stone.. far from it.
The key point I’ve already taken away from this book is that these are all human constructs, not defined by the laws of nature or the universe.
In teasing these key elements apart Reich ably demonstrates why were in the state we’re in and what we need to do to get out of it.

More to follow…

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. I have not read that (I will – Reich is generally good), but you might find Paul Mason’s book Postcapitalism also of interest. I think the main problem (and it’s a pretty big one) is making capitalism sustainable, and that means changing so it doesn’t endlessly externalise all its costs (human, environmental etc).

  2. thanks Tom
    I’ve read PostCapitalism and enjoyed it, but found it a bit dreamy at times.
    This book by Reich is better (imho) as he’s identified the key aspects that need most focus, in ways that could/should help folk grapple and tackle them as we move forward.
    Clearly the challenges to reform such systems are significant to put it mildly.. The human and environmental factors looks set to continue to mount as pressures forcing capitalism to change. This isn’t about predicting the end to capitalism but redefining it, as we humans can/must do, as/when we put our minds to the the task.


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