The Crises of Capitalism: A Different Study of Political Economy

The Crises of Capitalism: A Different Study of Political Economy

by Saral Sarkar
     
 

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For nearly 300 years, capitalism propelled the world's most successful economies to new heights of development. But a spate of global environmental disasters and severe economic crises compels thinkers to question whether the system continues to function. Leveraging historical perspective, extensive research, and case studies, The Crises of Capitalism builds a

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Overview

For nearly 300 years, capitalism propelled the world's most successful economies to new heights of development. But a spate of global environmental disasters and severe economic crises compels thinkers to question whether the system continues to function. Leveraging historical perspective, extensive research, and case studies, The Crises of Capitalism builds a compelling argument that challenges the most fundamental assumptions of prevailing economic theory.

Saral Sarkar exposes capitalism's flaws through the lens of ecosocialism, a philosophy that asserts that natural resources drive production and development. Keynes, Schumpeter, Marx, and Engles had no reason to believe that there would ever be a shortage of oil, minerals, water, or food—and that technological innovation could surmount any obstacle. But oil extraction has peaked, food is harder to come by, and the cost to maintain what natural resources remain has increased exponentially. Capitalism requires constant innovation to create growth—but as Sarkar establishes, even computers wouldn't exist without copper, gold, and zinc.

The Crises of Capitalism exists at the intersection of environmental awareness and economic theory. Sarkar challenges predominant explanations for catastrophic events like the 2008 global economic crisis, revises the classic paradigm of growth, and points to evidence of systemic economic failure. In this provocative, revolutionary criticism, Sarkar suggests that like other long-abandoned economic theories, capitalism has reached its limits.

“This is an important book, and it is on the front edge of the thinking that has to come to bear on the real crisis the world is facing, of the impossible idea of growth forever and the economic model that is driving the planet into irreversible crises.” —Doug Tompkins

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Crises of Capitalism

"For those who passionately believe that innovation can no longer prolong capitalism, that the end of the Oil Age is near, that dwindling resources and today’s dangerously unstable economic moment point to “ecological socialism as the only convincing alternative,” Sarkar’s text supplies the requisite theoretical scaffolding" —Kirkus

Kirkus Reviews
A prominent eco-socialist explains why capitalism is doomed. Sarkar (Eco-Socialism or Eco-Capitalism?, 1999, etc.) casts himself as not merely a reformer of capitalism, but rather a radical who believes no amount of tinkering will prop up a capitalist system that's come up against the twin killers of global warming and the imminent depletion of vital, nonrenewable natural resources. Neither of these developments, he insists, could have been foreseen either by the defenders of capitalism or its fiercest critics. Focusing primarily on the 20th century, the author engages in a critique of the theories of prominent economic commentators, carefully distinguishing the historical crises in capitalism--the Great Depression, the mid-'70s stagflation, the disruptions caused by globalization, the Great Recession of 2008--from the crisis of capitalism, the system's inevitable collision with the newly appreciated fact of finite resources. He intends this manifesto for general readers interested in political-economic issues, economists open to a new critique of political economy and, primarily, for well-meaning activists who require theoretical clarity and objective knowledge to abandon the illusions and false theories that have heretofore hobbled them. Sarkar refers to fellow activists as comrades, but there's nothing friendly about the turgid, relentlessly donnish prose (to be fair, the text is translated from the German) that carries his argument. It's difficult to imagine those already converted to Sarkar's worldview casually picking up this tome for guidance. Still, for those who passionately believe that innovation can no longer prolong capitalism, that the end of the Oil Age is near, that dwindling resources and today's dangerously unstable economic moment point to "ecological socialism as the only convincing alternative," Sarkar's text supplies the requisite theoretical scaffolding so dear to the academy. Strictly for graduate school seminars.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619020061
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
08/28/2012
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.30(d)

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