Anti-Capitalism [ePub]

by Alfredo Saad-Filho

The opening introduction by Alfredo Saad-Filho demonstrates to the reader that capitalism is not perfect, it is crises ridden, it is politically incongruous with democracy, and it is riddled with internal contradictions. Moreover, no specific economic or political theory can analyze the tension points between states, societies, and economies, without the assistance, or predominance of Marxism. Thus, the aim of this book is to demonstrate the superiority of Marxist political economy as the key method and procedure for grappling with the crises and tensions inherently embedded in global capitalism.

Anti-Capitalism A Marxist Introduction* isn't quite an introduction. The book is a collection of essays by some of the most renowned (or notorious?) Marxist academics. What they write about however is not so much introductions into various elements of Marx's thought, but instead applied Marxian theories to particular social, economic, and political issues (e.g., the falling rate of profit in the US, third world debt, etc).

Each essay is relatively short; around 8-15 pages. This structure has pros and cons. The pros are that the reader is able to get a taste for each author. By learning about the writing style, argument style, and overall lucidity of various authors, the reader can then determine if they want to read more of their work, as each author is well published. The con though is that some of these topics cannot be broken down into a few pages without seriously hurting the readers comprehension. For instance, the opening essay on value only mentions socially necessary labor time once (or maybe not at all?). Since value plays a reoccurring role throughout the book, it would have been prudent to develop Marxian value theory with more depth. Fortunately having read Capital, and other book on Marxian economics, I am able to overlook this problem, but when the book is targeted as an "introduction", being explicit, clear, and consummate in an explanation of Marxian value theory is pretty mandatory if you're going to keep incorporating the theory throughout the book.

Nevertheless, the overall project of the book succeeds. It's clear upon completing it that capitalism is contradictory. That economic crises are regular and embedded occurrences. And it's also clear that no particular economic or political theory (e.g., Keynesianism, or Realism) can explain our neo-liberal and globalized society as well as Marxism. So, if you've read some Marxian economics, and you want to read its application to real world contemporary problems, check out this book.

*I would put a list of all the essays, but the look-inside feature on Amazon already has that covered.

23.11.2012

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