Kevin Carson does an outstanding job in this book of integrating insights from a wide range of disciplines--economics, history, organizational studies, moral and political theory--into an impressive synthesis that exhibits unmistakable continuity with both the libertarian and socialist traditions. Building on his earlier Studies in Mutualist Political Economy and engaged, as usual, with an eclectic array of figures including Benjamin Tucker, Oliver Williamson, Murray Rothbard, and Karl Marx, Carson continues his creative development of the Proudhonian mutualist tradition in ways that will put anyone--whether self-identified with the right or the left--who cares about freedom, community, and a healthy relationship with the non-human world in his debt. Vulgar libertarians, vulgar Marxists, and corporate liberals and conservatives may well be unimpressed; for the rest of us, however, the chance to learn from Carson, even when we disagree with him, is not to be missed.
I stumbled upon Mr. Carson's website [...] a while back and was totally blown away by his writings, particularly an article entitled "The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand". In this book, Carson has taken on the Herculean task of integrating Right and Left libertarian theory into an overarching anti-corporate state framework, and then combines it with a deep understanding of the functioning of hierarchical organizations. There's a huge amount of information in this massive tome, and the first time I read it I felt like my brain was leaking out my ears by the end...it was that good. It's one of those books that leaves you with a fundamentally different view of the world once you've finished it. I thoroughly recommend digging into this rich text, and am eagerly awaiting a follow-up.
This book is impressively grounded in historical fact, with honestly surprising results.
One of the few explicitly political books I've read to have significantly changed my opinions. It was also challenging enough that I read it at about a quarter of my usual reading speed, with liberal breaks to think and look up references.
I look forward to Carson's next work with great expectation.