Monday, 28 May 2007
The book at the end of the world.
Mr. Lebeziatnikov who keeps up with modern ideas explained the other day that compassion is forbidden nowadays by science itself, and that that's what is done now in England, where there is political economy. (Dostoevsky 1993: 14)
Over successive days I am going to blog from my book Babylon and Beyond, So you can read and comment on my ideas for free. Thanks for the person at the Brighton real alternatives to capitalism meeting, who said 'why don't you put it on the web'.
Babylon and Beyond can be bought, I know buying things is a bit last millenium but if you must, here and here and here.
I would love it if you ordered copies for your local public library. This is the sacred principle, prosperity without pollution, increasing access rather than the cycle of production - consumption - profit - garbage.
Babylon is two things:
1) An outline of different forms of anti-capitalist economics. Moving from the ideas of capitalist anti-capitalist like George Soros and Joseph Stiglitz, Korten and Klein, to green localists like Caroline Lucas and Vandana Shiva, Marxism from Marx to Castro, Anarchists and autonomists like Hardt and Negri, monetary reformers like Major Douglas or Tobin, ecosocialist like Joel Kovel
I look at what they say and how it can be criticised. Everything you wanted to know about anti-capitalism but were too afraid to ask.
2) Its an introduction to an economy beyond capitalism, capitalism has a built in tendancy to 'enclose' resources which are free including human creativity, to build giant undemocratic corporations and to grow for ever. In my view it is unjust and ecologically unsustainable. We can do better.
I am most interested in what might be described as 'wiki economics' an economics based on creativity rather than state control or market forces.
But there are other alternatives from Parecon to Bolivarian socialism to LETs or syndicalism or eco feminist economics, the point is to debate them and make them live.
Actually you never know Bolivarian socialism might be the real deal!
This is, of course, a political task as well, currently I am the Green Party Principal Speaker and I intend to keep on struggling for a world that actually works unlike the present order which is racing toward ecocide. If you want join the Green Party and support my efforts in this direction click here.
This is the project, you can read more over successive days and weeks. Here are some more details.
"A thoughtful and inspiring guide to capitalism and anti-capitalism. This really is the first book that carefully explains the different varieties of anti-capitalist thought ... I thoroughly recommend that you read Babylon and Beyond."
Caroline Lucas, MEP
"There are far too many books on anti-capitalism out there already -- but with Babylon and Beyond, Derek Wall has removed the need to read most of them. Just read this one: a succinct, intelligent and witty summary of what it's all about."
Paul Kingsnorth, author of One No, Many Yeses: A Journey to the Heart of the Global Resistance Movement
"A synthesis of Red and Green is the future of progressive politics. Wall illuminates the interface of ecological and socialist ideas; divining common threads and offering the hope of a democratic, just and sustainable future for humankind."
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
Babylon and Beyond provides the first clear and accessible guide to the economics of anti-capitalism. Anti-capitalism is a diverse movement: critics accuse it of knowing what it is against, but not knowing what it is for. Anti-capitalists want radical change, but what shape should that change take?
The truth is that different sections of the movement advocate distinct -- sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory -- programmes for change. This book concentrates on perhaps the most divisive issue of all in the anti-capitalist struggle: how to transform the economy.
There are greens who think we must hold back economic growth and Marxists who believe the economy must move forward along capitalist lines before there can be revolutionary change; there are those who remain faithful to notions of collective or state ownership of all aspects of the economy, and those who think various kinds of reform or regulation of capitalist practice is more appropriate.
Babylon and Beyond is a modern guidebook to the complicated terrain of alternatives to global capitalism. Derek Wall explains and summarises the rich variety of theories available within the anti-capitalist movement. Chapters cover Marxism, Autonomism, Anarchism, Ecosocialism, Capitalist reformers (like George Soros and Joseph Stiglitz), Green localists (like Colin Hines), and others. Unique in its coverage, clear and accessible, the book is ideal for activists, and anyone who is trying to find a useful way forward.
This book is published in association with the Green Economics Institute.
Derek Wall is the author of five books including Earth First and the Anti-Roads Movement (Routledge, 1999) and, with Penny Kemp, A Green Manifesto for the 1990s (Penguin, 1990). He teaches Political Economy at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales.
Foreword: Nandor Tanczos
1 Warm Conspiracies and Cold Concepts
2 Vaccinating against Anti-Capitalism: Stiglitz, Soros and Friends
3 White Collar Global Crime Syndicate: Korten, Klein and other Anti-Corporates
4 Small is Beautiful: Green Localism
5 Planet Earth Money Martyred: Social Credit and Monetary Reform
6 Imperialism Unlimited: Marxisms
7 The Tribe of Moles: Autonomism, Anarchism and Empire
8 Marx on the Seashore: Ecosocialist Alternatives
9 Life After Capitalism: Alternatives, Structures, Strategies