The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure Second Edition, New edition, Kindle Edition
|Length: 394 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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"Any entity that defines itself through exponential growth, be it a cancer tumor, the financial system or a runaway nuclear reaction, can only have one outcome: catastrophic failure with the sole chance of survival being the recognition of and response to the disorder. McMurtry provides both the diagnosis and antidote for this current state of our world." – Marcel Schlaf, Professor of Chemistry, University of Guelph
"McMurtry's profound analysis of the consequences of the unrestrained and relentless pursuit of profits should be a source of grave concern for everyone who cares about the survival and reproduction of the species. The publication of this new edition of his classic study will be welcomed with enthusiasm by every rational member of the world community." – James Fetzer, Distinguished McKnight University Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Duluth
"This new edition confirms McMurtry's place as the foremost social philosopher of our time. The revised Cancer Stage of Capitalism lays bare, in even more detail than the original, the structural causes of global life-crises. McMurtry rigorously exposes the opposed paths between which humanity must choose: money-driven life-collapse or civil commons enabled life-development and enjoyment." – Jeff Noonan, Professor of Philosophy, University of Windsor
"The Cancer Stage of Capitalism confronts and resolves the ultimate issue of our time – world survival. The real economy is being consumed by the global corporate cancer system at every level. Survival depends on understanding McMurtry's classic analysis and acting on it." – Stephen Lendman, 2011 Mexico Investigative Journalist of the Year, author of How Wall Street Fleeces America
"McMurtry's classic study is more relevant than ever, as global finance capitalism multiplies itself at the expense of everything from vital public services to the ecosystems upon which all life depends. While southern Europe is being torn apart for the sake of debt servicing and the former Icelandic "tiger" recovers from a dramatic meltdown by imposing capital controls, this second edition brings much that is new, and a cure. Once again, McMurtry is ten years ahead of everyone else." – Giorgio Baruchello, Professor of Philosophy and Social Sciences, University of Akureyri, and Editor of Nordicum-Mediterraneum
"John McMurtry's work has woken us up, inspired us, and motivated us to connect our struggle for the life-ground and the civil commons – the real common good that strengthens the people across Kenya, the old and young, the men and the women, the eco-feminists and the dispossessed. In the life-ground and the civil commons, we know our spirit cannot be broken." – Wahu Kaara, Global Call to Action Against Poverty, All Africa Conference of Churches
About the Author
John McMurtry is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the author of the multi-volume Philosophy and World Problems, written for the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, Value Wars (Pluto Press, 2002) and Unequal Freedoms: The Global Market as an Ethical System (1998).--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- File size : 963 KB
- Publication date : July 8, 2013
- Publisher : Pluto Press; Second Edition, New edition (July 8, 2013)
- ASIN : B00DU8O4J2
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 394 pages
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,793,580 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"There is no wealth but life" said John Ruskin, and it is life itself that must become the basis of a sane economy.
Top reviews from other countries
Everything he has written is worth reading - not just the books but also the essays. (I would particularly recommend searching out a piece called "Fascism and Neo-conservatism - Is There a Difference?") Of his books, the two that really stood out in the past were the first edition of "Cancer Stage of Capitalism" and "Value Wars". The former seemed more all-embracing but the latter brought the story up to date for the post 9/11 world. (Indeed 9/11 was happening just as the latter was being written and McMurtry added on a fascinating prologue dealing with that event.) Ideally I wanted a re-write of the former book but with the new events detailed in the latter book added. And - what do you know? - Here it is!
In the Acknowledgement section McMurtry refers to the "very unusual" second edition. This is appropriate. What we have here is not simply the first edition with a few extras thrown in. There has been a major restructuring of the entire text. There is a new Preface and a new first chapter. And the original first chapter is now placed second. This latter item contains a reassessment of Marx who, although still considered to be one of the most penetrating critics of capitalism, is considered by McMurtry to have ironically overestimated the value of capitalist commodities by failing to connect with true life values.
In the Preface, McMurtry distinguishes between the customary concept of capital which is related to money and a new (or rather, an old) concept - "life capital" which has been obscured by the insistence that what's important is a matter of opinion. But this "life capital" is always presupposed and is indeed essential e.g. such matters as fresh air, clean water, nutritious food, full introduction to society's symbols, stimulating education etc. As in his book "Value Wars" McMurtry says that these two different concepts of capital are at war with each other. To put it as bluntly as possible:- money sequences pretend to serve life although they are in fact against life. This pretence is essentially where the concept of cancer comes in.
And in this new edition McMurtry takes great care to emphasise that the cancer stage of capitalism is not a metaphor but is an actual model of how capitalism works i.e. that just as cancer on the microbiological level involves fooling the body's immune system before gradually taking over the organism with parasitic cells, so cancer at the macro social level appropriates the jargon of societal health in order to disguise its true objective: the generation of monetary profit which subverts that health and ultimately destroys it.
One of the most astonishing new developments in this edition is McMurtry's assertion that even cancer on the microbiological level is a symptom of capitalism. He says that in the pre-capitalist world there was only one reported case of cancer - from Ancient Egypt. The rise of an epidemic of biological cancer in the capitalist world is not a coincidence. Capitalism depends on creating goods which are not only non-beneficial but create a state of dependence to initiate addiction. The most obvious case is with cigarettes. But food laced with addictive additives would be another case.
With so much to praise in this book it is a shame that it has been subjected to a plague of typos. It doesn't help that McMurtry has a dense prose style which takes a bit of getting used to. He has a special fondness for generating enormous subordinate clauses and at one point he gets lost inside one of those clauses and forgets to come out of to finish the sentence! Also, some of his sentence constructions seem unorthodox so that it is sometimes easy to feel there is a typo when it turns out to be an oddly turned phrase.
But the typos are definitely there. Sometimes they are clearly the result of a misused spell check e.g. "while" instead of "whole", "uniformed" instead of "uninformed".
And on page 108 we have another unfinished sentence without even the excuse of confusion generated by a subordinate clause:
"It is within these primary and conflicting structures that most of humanity for the last three decades."
That most of humanity....what? All of which just goes to show that there is simply no substitute for a living breathing proof reader. And I am tempted to dock a star for this but I feel the book is so important it easily merits the full five anyway.
I can only hope that Pluto Press come to their senses and, for their next reprint, subject this book to the decent proofreading this vital publication deserves.
The very word cancer is still a fearful term. “The War on Cancer” is still far from won. What possible application does this term have to capitalism?
Store bookshelves and lists are full of titles expressing profound dissatisfaction with this or that aspect of our lived experience in the world today. See, for example, the section labelled 'Smart Thinking' in your bookshop. Find books there on our economics, the environment, our public services, our democratic representation. Books about equality, employment, migration, and so on.
This book is disturbing because the author, a philosopher, draws these 'Dots' of dismay about our lives and living together by proposing and following through a thought experiment. That capitalism has developed to a cancer stage in our societies where the growth of money has become an end in and of itself and all the consequences for life and living become exogenous to that growth. Just as in the growths of cancers in our bodies.
I dared to buy this book in August 2013 to find out. I have lived with this thought experiment and it has indeed illuminated the Dots providing me with many insights into the arrangements we now live in right across the spectrum of concerns.
The model shows where we are and offers sound criteria for determining a way forward. The author does not commend any particular political party programme, pointing out that how they are all in thrall in one way or another to the overwhelming power of the cancer.
I used to wonder how the dystopias of some science fiction came about. “The Space Merchants”, by Pohl and Kornbluth, for example. John McMurtry's model illuminates that as well.
The challenge is clear. If the modelling does illuminate our arrangements for living on this planet then the “War on Cancer” takes on an even more formidable meaning for us all.
I highly recommend this product to anyone concerned about our species and our home the Earth.