- Paperback: 168 pages
- Publisher: BETWEEN THE LINES (Nov. 21 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1771132000
- ISBN-13: 978-1771132008
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 18.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 159 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #311,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Fired Up about Capitalism Paperback – Nov 21 2016
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Most people know that the world is messed up. But most people also believe that there is no alternative. Clearly and powerfully, Tom Malleson shows that another world is possible and tells us how we can get there. – Lesley Wood, Associate Professor of Sociology, York University, and anti-poverty activist A generation ago, capitalism’s supposed triumph was seen by many as unassailable. But several years of soaring inequality, the looming threat of ecological disaster, and the erosion of even the pretence of democracy in the political process, have led millions of people, especially young people, to lose confidence in the system. As these young workers and students seek out a concise yet comprehensive account of why capitalism is failing them, and a compelling sketch of some feasible and attractive alternatives to it, they will find no better starting point than Tom Malleson’s lucid and intelligent book, Fired Up about Capitalism. – Stephen D’Arcy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Huron University College, and author of Languages of the Unheard: Why Militant Protest is Good for Democracy Tom Malleson’s Fired Up about Capitalism is a rare and wonderful book. It is wonderful because it provides such a compelling analysis of some of the most pressing economic and political problems of our time along with both short-term and long-term solutions. It is rare because it is written in a way that is rigorous, sophisticated, and nuanced while at the same time being clear, engaging, and accessible, without jargon or pretension. Fired Up about Capitalism should be widely read both by seasoned activists wanting to sharpen their critique of capitalism and their understanding of alternatives, and by interested readers with little background in these issues. – Erik Olin Wright, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin, author of Envisioning Real Utopias
About the Author
Tom Malleson is Assistant Professor in the Social Justice and Peace Studies program at King’s University College at Western University. He is a long-time anti-authoritarian activist and organizer and has worked with migrant justice, anti-poverty, global justice, anti-war, and solidarity economy groups. He is co-editor of Whose Streets: The Toronto G20 and the Challenges of Summit Protest.
Top customer reviews
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It is good and very readable. It is also direct and enthusiastic. It should do well as a primer for background to cooperative production. It is a good idea to allow the tainted term capitalism, as in cooperative capitalism, which although to some it would appear a contradiction of terms, it is a paradox as such it permits both parties, capital and labour, to engage in the process of discovery.
Prof. Malleson is right, the issue is not how much the worker gets as salary, but who gets directly the product of labour and how it is controlled and shared. The same goes for profits. I have written many proposals for projects and the central point is who writes the budget and gets the money and order its distribution; the rest of the administration is window dressing. Most union worker in Ontario I have talked to would say, "All we want is a decent wage for a good day's work". They have given up.
Why does Prof. Malleson does not mention colonialism and the slave trade? It could be helpful to to his argument against the myth of "There is no alternative" to capitalism. Once upon a time till 18th century everybody in every society from the birth of civilization accepted slavery as God given and a social necessity. Read Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade, and it confirm for your the horrors of slavery and how it was unquestioned by King and servant, the duque and the maid, Church and devout parishioner in every relitgion, master and slave. Of course, today we don't see any ships loaded with slaves cruising the oceans, at least not legally. I would agree also that certain conditions of work make it as if it were slave labour with no viable alternative. Many immigrants and arbeit workers of today would see it that way; I have been seen it and been there too. When I visited China for the first time in 1977 I visited the main Anthropological Museum in Tian Ammen Square and was shocked by at a mural and display on the course of civilization with a caption on the stage of slave societies. It read, "Slavery was an important step in the development of civilization. because it permitted the organization of labour." (!)
Slave labour was part of colonialism, the greatest crime the West has ever committed, beginning in the 15th century to today's neo-colonialism or colonialism by proxy. Colonialism is a way to control material resources, populations and markets. It is necessarily
associated with violence and war. The robbery of material and human resources from colonial countries, mostly but not only in Africa, permitted England to prepare and launch the Industrial Revolution and the accumulation of the greatest fortunes in England that still enjoy those riches. (The extraordinary painting collection of the Duke of W. bought with money from the slave trade is one of them). It is controversial whether contemporary colonialism is associated with slave labour, so this issue may o may not be relevant to Malleson's work on cooperative labour production. It is fair to assume that in a colonial country the colonial state would not allow any freedom of the population to the extent that it would facilitate independent cooperative labour organizations, in competition with the capitalist exploitation of the country, which is what colonialism is all about. I have not looked at the UN compilation of International Human Rights instruments too see to what extent, colonialism is compatible with labour rights to freedom and independent cooperative production. I guess that the colonial powers might permit it as long as it does no interfere with the colonial system. The West still hypocritically speaks against colonialism, which is illegal and proscribed by the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and People, 1960, but USA will not give back Guantanamo or England Gibraltar. Interesting questions come to mind if one imagines whether USA or Canada, or even Israel, would permit labour cooperative in native territories. Malleson does not touch this issue of colonialism, so there is no need to worry about that now...
A more basic and universal issue is how to overcome the resistance to cooperative development in private and corporate or even state capitalistic societies in which the predominant ethos is individualistic, stimulating and exploiting the natural drives to selfish satisfactions. Biology is programmed with drives for pleasure, and to secure the means for the satisfaction of those pleasures, such as food, shelter, sex and procreation, power and wealth, and concomittanly the elimination of any threat to those pleasures. Biology is not destiny and education, through cultural transformation through its proper institutions, could control the demons in human nature. Capitalism is cleaver in exploiting those drives, democracy is very ambivalent. How far did John Kennedy got with his dream of " Do not ask what your country can do for you..."? When we went along with the secularization of society, along with God we also killed the Ghost in the Garden, the Spirit in the Machine, the ability to tell good from evil... and how can we tell the difference between rampant capitalism, fascism and democratic socialism? Faith has gone too, and with that we will find it very difficult to believe that the state or a bunch of individuals like us, also human, can give and share our work in the spirit of solidarity needed for the function of a cooperative organization.
Those are questions I would ask the workers and managers of the cooperatives in Mondragón, in Spain., or in Italy if I were to visit them. How good is Spanish or his Italian?
This book in not totally utopic and a pleasure to read. I wish all the best to Prof. Malleson.
Federico Allodi, MD.