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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The inherent immorality of capitalism, June 29, 2004
Malvin (Frederick, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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"Value Wars" by John McMurtry offers what may be one of the most effective and scathing critiques of capitalism written in recent memory. Mr. McMurtry penetrates the palliatives offered up by corporate propagandists to expose the wanton greed of the privileged class and the inherent immorality of capitalism. Importantly, the author also offers a thoughtful and compelling package of socio-economic reforms that, if implemented, might well help secure a measure of real social, economic and environmental justice.
Mr. McMurtry is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. His works have been published in over 150 journals and books, including the classic "The Cancer Stage of Capitalism" (1999). The author is recognized as a leader in the anti-globalization and peace movements. His prior life experiences as a football player, journalist and world traveler combine to create probably one of the most original, humane and articulate voices in North America today.
The Preface to "Value Wars" compares the fanaticism of the 9/11 hijackers with the corporate value-set. The author contends that the close ties among the business community, the U.S. government and many of the terrorists exemplifies the moral crisis. That the incident has provided a pretext for the U.S. to systematically repress its citizens who are opposed to globalization and to actively colonize strategic nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq merely compounds the situation.
"Value Wars" is divided into three sections, as follows:
Part I describes "The New World Order" of global capitalism. Mr. McMurtry deconstructs the "inversions of meaning" used by the powerful to gain popular acquiesence for the neoliberal agenda. Corporate control of government and the mass media has resulted in a loss of meaningful dialogue and debate; instead, the fanatical pursuit of private wealth accumulation is proclaimed to be the only viable "choice" for society. But even as social and environmental costs escalate as a consequence of the neoliberal agenda, the state increasingly collaborates with capital in a deliberate manner by negotiating and enforcing pro-corporate trade deals, social program cuts, the sale of state assets, and the application of police and military force.
Part II is entitled "Unlocking the Invisible Prison". Mr. McMurtry's writing is in top form as he explores the methods by which the finance capital system colonizes the minds and bodies of its subjects. Advertising induces consumption through garish "repetitions of mind-shackling misrepresentations" while the media projects false "images of dream-like omnipotence" of the materialist lifestyle. When the social sciences fail to manipulate and condition citizens to behave in the properly prescribed manner, the prison is used to enforce subservience; meanwhile, the author contends that the "real capital criminals" are rewarded with success in the corporate sector.
Part III is "The Paradigm Turn: The Life Economy Principles from Where We Stand". Mr. McMurtry devotes 100 pages to a detailed discussion of a "Life Economy Manifesto" that could help restore equity and sanity to the world. Throughout the discussion, the author's knowledge of history, economics and philosophy helps him build a very credible case for reform. Mr. McMurtry is particularly effective when he shows how really existing capitalism has strayed from its professed principles; the author highlights the contradictions of neoliberal dogma and argues that his proposals offer a better way to achieve peace and prosperity for all. While many of Mr. McMurtry's ideas have been stated elsewhere -- for example, the author advocates taxes on speculative investments, greater public accountability of corporations and the media, reductions in military spending, and so on -- his ability to effectively compare and contrast the corporate "death" economy with his "life" economy alternative frames the discussion in an interesting and uniquely compelling manner.
I strongly recommend this powerful and visionary book to everyone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Capitalism on the skids, August 7, 2014
Hard to read, but full of insights.
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Value Wars: Moral Philosophy and Humanity
Value Wars: Moral Philosophy and Humanity by John McMurtry (Hardcover - July 15, 2002)
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