The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System

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Overview

In the vein of his bestseller, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, nationally recognized social critic Jerry Mander researches, discusses, and exposes the momentous and unsolvable environmental and social problems of capitalism.

Mander argues that capitalism is no longer a viable system: “What may have worked in 1900 is calamitous in 2010.” Capitalism, utterly dependent on never-ending economic growth, is an impossible absurdity on a finite planet with limited ...

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The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System

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Overview

In the vein of his bestseller, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, nationally recognized social critic Jerry Mander researches, discusses, and exposes the momentous and unsolvable environmental and social problems of capitalism.

Mander argues that capitalism is no longer a viable system: “What may have worked in 1900 is calamitous in 2010.” Capitalism, utterly dependent on never-ending economic growth, is an impossible absurdity on a finite planet with limited resources. Climate change, together with global food, water, and resource shortages, is only the start.

Mander draws attention to capitalism’s obsessive need to dominate and undermine democracy, as well as to diminish social and economic equity. Designed to operate free of morality, the system promotes permanent war as a key economic strategy. Worst of all, the problems of capitalism are intrinsic to the form. Many organizations are already anticipating the breakdown of the system and are working to define new hierarchies of democratic values that respect the carrying capacities of the planet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Mander's provocative newest, the environmentalist, social critic, and author of 1977's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television predicts the impending failure of the capitalist "experiment," one based on infinite expansion and unable to meet the challenges of climate change, peak oil, finite resources, and a rising global population. Mander lambasts the "intrinsic amorality" of capitalism, arguing that its focus on amassing wealth at any cost has abetted the rise of the incredibly lucrative military-industrial complex, and the practice of "so-called democratic governments...catering to and facilitating the interests of the ultra-rich." Arguing that "cooperation must replace competition," Mander's concerns transcend party lines and established ideologies. As such, he closes with a compelling discussion of four ideas that he believes might blaze a trail away from capitalism and toward sustainable economic models: he suggests a refocusing on the limits of our planet, an emphasis on localization (as opposed to globalization), improved corporate structures, and a dismissal of the current black-and-white notion of capitalism vs. socialism. Refreshing and informative, these papers are a cogent rally cry and eloquent assessment of America's-and the world's-current predicament, dismal prospects, and hope for a way out.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
Praise for The Capitalism Papers

"In Mander's provocative newest, the environmentalist, social critic, and author of 1977's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television predicts the impending failure of the capitalist "experiment," one based on infinite expansion and unable to meet the challenges of climate change, peak oil, finite resources, and a rising global population. Mander lambasts the "intrinsic amorality" of capitalism, arguing that its focus on amassing wealth at any cost has abetted the rise of the incredibly lucrative military-industrial complex, and the practice of "so-called democratic governments…catering to and facilitating the interests of the ultra-rich." Arguing that "cooperation must replace competition," Mander's concerns transcend party lines and established ideologies. As such, he closes with a compelling discussion of four ideas that he believes might blaze a trail away from capitalism and toward sustainable economic models: he suggests a refocusing on the limits of our planet, an emphasis on localization (as opposed to globalization), improved corporate structures, and a dismissal of the current black-and-white notion of capitalism vs. socialism. Refreshing and informative, these papers are a cogent rally cry and eloquent assessment of America's—and the world's—current predicament, dismal prospects, and hope for a way out." —Publishers Weekly

“This is a bold, much-needed book. On a subject where others are too often abstract or strident, Jerry Mander writes with a down-to-earth common-sense wisdom. I particularly like the way he weaves together his own experience in business and advertising with a large-spirited awareness of so many dimensions of the fragile planet we live on.” —Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost

"Jerry Mander's The Capitalism Papers is a book of astonishing clarity and all-too-rare honesty. In an age where our major institutions are in collapse as our environment crumbles, and in which there is no apparent relief on the horizon, Mander has the courage to say that the emperor has no clothes; that the profit-obsessed economic system we are expected to swear loyalty to has its best days in its rear-view mirror. The implications are revolutionary." —Robert McChesney, author of Rich Media, Poor Democracy—Communication Politics in Dubious Times

“Capitalism's days are numbered but few have the courage to say so. Jerry Mander has both the courage and insight to put the case before us, and he does it brilliantly and movingly. There is hope for this planet and our future, Mander argues, but only if we are honest enough to admit that the experiment in unregulated market capitalism has failed and it is time to move beyond it.” —Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

"Written in accessible language, and packed with real-life example. Point by point, Mander explains why capitalism can no longer serve people or the planet. And he leads us to a set of principles on which we can build a new economy for the 21st century and beyond." —Anne Leonard, author Story of Stuff

"This is a big book in terms of ideas, scope, and depth. I hope it finds the wide audience it deserves.” —James Gustave Speth, founder, World Resources Institute (WRI)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619021587
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 403,602
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Called the the patriarch of the anti-Globalization movement by The New York Times, Jerry Mander was Founder and is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Forum on Globalization. He also spent 15 years in the advertising business as president of Freeman, Mander & Gossage, including producing the famous Sierra Club campaigns of the 1960s that saved the Grand Canyon. He has BS and MS degrees in international economics, and he lives in Northern California.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction

I Economic Succession 3

The Missing Link 5

The "C"-Word 7

This Book 11

Disclaimer 11

Structural Arguments 13

II Growing Up Global 16

A New World Order 17

From Yonkers to Wharton 20

New Dawn for Business 21

Robert McNamara, Enforcer 24

Forty Years Later 28

III The Copenhagen Conundrum 30

Carbon Debt 31

Cochabamba, Bolivia 33

The Cancún Conundrum 35

The Morales Conundrum 37

Part 2 The Fatal Flaws of Capitalism

IV Intrinsic Amorality & Corporate Schizophrenia 43

Is Greed Good? 49

Everyday Life in Advertising 53

Are Corporations People? 58

Corporations Are Machines 60

V Intrinsic Inequities of Corporate Structure 62

Eight Intrinsic Inequities of Corporate Structure 64

1 Profits from Business Operation 64

2 Profits from Capitalization of the Public Commons 65

Cost Externalization 65

Limited Legal Liability 66

Exploitation of the Intellectual Commons 66

3 CEO Megasalaries & Bonuses 70

4 Stock Payments & Dividends 72

5 Invested Earnings: The Multiplier Effect 73

6 Wage Repression of Employees 73

7 The "Worker Productivity" Scam 75

8 Cashing Out: The Sale of Company Assets 76

The Illusion of Corporate "Efficiency" 77

VI Endless Growth on a Finite Planet 81

Ecosystem Into Economy 84

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 85

What's Left Out of GDP? 87

Virtual Growth 89

"Planetary Boundaries" 91

Resource Shrinkage on a Finite Planet 92

Financial Speculation in Food Supplies 94

Privatization of Water 97

Peak Species & Peak Beauty 98

Earth Island 100

Fundamental Questions 103

VII Searching for Growth: Desperate Measures 105

Seven Explorations in Growing Growth 106

1 Shifting from Real Growth to Virtual 106

2 Creating "New Resources"-Privatizing the Commons 106

3 Expanding the Military Economy 107

4 Green Capitalism 107

Eco-pornography 109

Green Shopping 110

5 Search for Green Energy 111

Net Energy Limits 112

6 Creative Destruction 114

7 Techno-Utopianism & New Nature 119

Reinventing Nature 120

Atmospheric Engineering 122

Artificial Volcanoes 125

Debate: Intellect or Wisdom? 126

VIII Propensity Toward War 129

War as Economic Strategy 130

The stealth Economy 134

Doing the Numbers 135

Commercial Arms Trade 138

Military Keynesianism 139

F-35LightningII Fighter: $325 billion (Lockheed Martin Corporation) 140

Gerald Ford-Class Supercarrier: $120 billion (Northrop Grumman Corporation) 141

Future Combat System: $340 billion (Boeing and SAIC) 141

Littoral Combat Ship: $38 billion (Austal USA and Lockheed Martin) 141

U.S. Military Bases 143

Asia Pacific 144

Western Europe 145

Middle East 145

Africa 146

South America 146

Focus on the pacific 147

"Comparative Advantage" oe War 151

IX Privatization of Democracy 153

Rule by the Rich 154

Doing the Numbers 156

What Is a Billion Dollars? 158

The "Problem" of Surplus Capital 159

Investments in Government 160

Politicians for Sale 164

Koch Brothers: Role Models for Neofeudal Expression 167

Democracy? 170

X Privatization of Consciousness 172

Who Needs Advertising? 174

Living Inside Media 176

Advertising to Children 177

Global Reach 178

The Powers of Received Images 179

Are You Immune? 180

Is Television Real? 181

"Truth" in Advertising 182

Virtual Reality 185

Global Control 186

AOL-Time Warner 188

Disney 188

The News Corporation 189

Crisis point 190

XI Capitalism or Happiness 194

Laissez-Faire 195

Doing the Numbers 196

Consequences of Inequity 199

Economics of Happiness 201

Sufficiency 203

Summaries & Afterthoughts 206

Part 3 Epilogue

XII Which Way Out? 213

Four Megashifts Toward a New economics 217

1 Nature Comes First 217

Steady-state Economics 218

Contraction and Convergence 219

Biological Restoration and the Public Commons 220

The United Nations' Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth 221

2 The Primacy of Scale: Not Globalization, Localization 222

Direct Democracy 224

The Indigenous Example 226

3 Experiments in Corporate Values and Structure 229

Redesigning Corporate Form 230

Worker-owned Cooperatives 233

4 Hybrid Economics 235

Central Planning? 236

Can We Learn from China? 237

New-economy Models 238

Uncharted Territory 241

Bibliography 245

Organizations 253

Acknowledgments 257

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    A must read for those waking up...

    I had read Manders Absence of the Sacred and Four Arguments for the Elimination of TV (a couple of times) so I got a little excited when I saw he wrote another one. For me, he didn't dissapoint. It's a clear-eyed look at the flaws of capitalism that are evident today with climate change, inequality, and our political system; all working in favor of the large scale corporate world or 'global economy'. Remember when your neighbor owned the grocery store, the hardware, gas station, etc,? One of your parents was a stay at home parent because one income could raise a family? Those days are gone and now a select few reap the benefits of our public commons. Why? Who elected these select few to benefit so greatly? Why do so few control our airwaves? Who elected them? Why do we have the choice between candidates who neither seem to benefit anyone but the corporate industry that funds them now? We have quietly moved from a democracy to a plutocracy, and getting dangerously close to fascist state as more and more of our choices are fashioned by corporate money. Mander does provide some ideas on solutions (local sustainability, etc.) but the reality is it will take radical change (one would be to shut off the noise machines) to reverse our course.

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