Capital and Its Discontents: A Review

Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult

by Publishers Weekly
May 23rd

This rich selection of interviews with left-wing intellectuals and activists mostly grows out of the syndicated Pacifica Radio program Against the Grain, cofounded by host and author [Sasha] Lilley. Lilley…engages this international assortment of thinkers—from the well-known (David Harvey) to the less widely familiar (Doug Henwood, editor-publisher of the Left Business Observer)—with an informed, astute intelligence. Fifteen chapters come divided into three sections treating the relation between empire and neoliberalism in a period of global crisis, the contradictions of capitalism, and alternatives (including reconsiderations of Marxist and anarchist ideas by Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, and Mike Davis). The bite-size flow of the interview format is an ideal one for digesting large, complex subjects like the historical specificity of modern capitalist empire (as elegantly explained by Ellen Meiksins Wood). If there is a common theme throughout, it is what Lilley herself flags in an insightful introduction: “the answer to the crises of nature and capital lies in public abundance replacing private wealth.” This cool-headed but urgent volume—timely but sophisticated and wide-ranging enough to remain a longtime reference—will serve as an excellent introduction for readers lacking familiarity with discourse in political economy, while providing important elaboration on central themes for those with more background.

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