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Selfish Capitalist Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091924162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091924164
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S Wood on April 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Well ones thing for sure, Oliver James must be doing something right - he's obviously irritated some individual enough for them to post five 1-star reviews of his book . Needless to say not one of which would appear to have the resulted from an actual reading of the book - well maybe they read the blurb on the back cover?. "The Selfish Capitalist" is a post-script to his earlier Affluenza and contains further thoughts and data related to the effects of what James calls "selfish capitalism" (more or less a synonym for Neo-Liberalism) on our societies. He also reflects on what other writers and political thinkers from Karl Marx to David Harvey have had to say about his area of investigation: the links between the mental health of individuals and the economic organization of society.

In line with more orthodox thinking on Neo-Liberalism, James asserts that selfish capitalism is a phenomenon that has risen to prominence in the English-speaking world since the 1970's. While it has been a growing phenomena in other developed and non-developed countries, it is in the developed economies of the English speaking world that it goes deepest into the fabric our societies. Using data from WHO studies and other sources he demonstrates a clear correlation between income inequality (one of the pertinent and pernicious features of Neo-Liberal economies) and emotional distress. For the English-speaking world (Britain, U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia) the average incidence of emotional distress in the last 12 months is 21.6%, nearly double the level of other countries (Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and France) that average 11.5%.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bill gonch on October 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oliver James has written a very well researched and thought out response to the epidemic of 'mental illness.' The book is a more scholarly companion to his more anecdotal Affluenza (Affluenza). To summarize the ground that James covers.

1) He argues that we need to move beyond thinking about mental illness and make the object of our study mental distress. To the extent there is an epidemic, the illness model and various theories of brain diseases, genetic influences and chemical imbalances are really not terribly helpful. The scientific proof is consistently lacking. While these theories serve mainly to enrich certain interests (e.g., big pharmaceuticals) while distracting us from the very real issues. These issues are really spiritual issues that emerged disproportionately in certain ideological contexts.
2) We need to ask ourselves why this epidemic seems to be confined to the English Speaking world (mainly UK, US, New Zealand and Australia).

James breaks out a separate species of Capitalism (Selfish Capitalism - The play with Dawkins is both intentional and enlightening) that could also go by the names of neoliberalism or the Washington consensus. Where neoliberalism has been given full reign (e.g. Australia) the epidemic of mental distress (depression, anxiety) has occurred. Where Selfish Capitalism has not (Denmark)been given into, the epidemic has not appeared. For example, women in Denmark are half as likely to be depressed as women in the English speaking countries mentioned above.

James is a careful thinker, he presents his theory, assembles the evidence, but, is also very aware of the limitations of the evidence. It is a book worth reading.
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