Books & Reviews
When Warmed Over Georgism Becomes Neoliberalism
I have a personal rule — I think you should never review a book that you strongly disagree with or strongly agree with. If you entirely agree, then a “review” would be nothing more than an echo. But if you strongly disagree there’s also little point to writing a review, the disagreements cannot be isolated…
Review: Setting Sights
I often have difficulty expressing an opinion on the gun rights movement, because my views are so ambivalent. Principled arguments for gun rights based on resistance to unjust authority resonate strongly with me. I’m very aware of the historic association of limitations on gun ownership with issues of social control of the working class, going…
Review: The People’s Republic of Walmart
Let me begin by saying that I’m glad this book exists. Phillips and Rozworski are upfront about their book not containing any radical new insights into questions of economic planning, but instead they compile arguments made by others in a highly readable format, something that those on the left who argue for economic planning have…
Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism
When it comes to economics, market anarchism has done a pretty good job at punching above its weight. While Austrians and Marxists tend to ignore us, when they do respond it’s with strawmen or lazy assertions of dogma that are easily dispatched. In serious debates in these realms, we hold our own, only falling short…
Review: Living Black in America
On the debut episode of his new series “Trigger Warning,” Killer Mike challenges himself to live only on products from black-owned businesses for three days. Michael Render, better known by his stage name Killer Mike (a reference to his lyrical skills, rather than any history of violence) is an Atlanta-based rapper, activist, and media figure….
Right-Libertarian “Free Trade” and “Free Markets”: The Exoteric, and Esoteric Version
This article does an excellent job of unpacking the statism that is implicit in nominally “laissez-faire” right-libertarian models of free trade and free markets. By way of background, the main current of what is called “libertarianism” in the United States, and “liberalism” elsewhere, treats the Gilded Age as a satisfactory proxy for the “free market.”…
Review: New York 2140
Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the best science-fiction writers working today. Recurring themes in his stories include ecology, archeological exploration, anti-capitalist politics, and the ineluctable passage of time – all of which feature in New York 2140, which, like much of his work (including Icehenge, The Martians, 2312, Galileo’s Dream, and Aurora) fits almost-but-not-quite…
Review: Superintelligence — Paths, Dangers, Strategies
No, no, no. What if we’re not doomed that way? Nick Bostrom is one of my favorite academic philosophers; beyond pairing rigor with audacity, he’s one of the few to grasp and explore the philosophical avenues opened up by modern scientific understanding. But in the last decade Bostrom has shot to some prominence not for…
Avoiding the Blame — What a Focus on Grain Obscures
James C. Scott’s latest book, Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, is sure to become a classic and a brick in the wall of core anarchist theory. It covers somewhat different but complementary ground to Peter Gelderloo’s Worshiping Power: An Anarchist History Of Early State Formation. I have some significant critiques…
Review: Walkaway
Cory Doctorow (2017). Walkaway. New York: Tor I. The story opens at a communist party in an unspecified post-industrial town in Ontario sometime in the late middle of this century, from the first-person perspective of Hubert, Etc. A communist party, you should understand, is not an institution but a social event: something like a rave at…
Review: Liberty in the Age of Terror
Grayling, A.C. (2009). Liberty in the Age of Terror: A Defense of Civil Liberties and Enlightenment Values. London: Bloomsbury In his 2009 book, Liberty in the Age of Terror: A Defense of Civil Liberties and Enlightenment Values, British philosopher AC Grayling sets out to do just what the subtitle suggests. He presents a case for civil libertarianism in a…
Review: “Rise of the Warrior Cop”
Radley Balko (2013). “Rise of the Warrior Cop.” New York: PublicAffairs This book was a timely read after the last book I reviewed for C4SS, Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism by Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall. Tyranny Comes Home gives a “macro” overview of the broader policy implications of U.S. military adventurism, while…
Review: Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons
Shareable, a nonprofit media outlet co-founded by Neal Gorenflo in 2009, is devoted to the sharing economy (the real sharing economy of platform cooperatives and other open, self-organized effort — not proprietary, walled-garden, Death Star platforms like Uber and Airbnb). In 2011 Shareable organized the Share San Francisco conference to promote the city as a…
Review: “Space is the (non)place”
Stevphen Shukaitis. “Space is the (non)place: Martians, Marxists, and the outer space of the radical imagination” Sociological Review 57 Suppl (2009). In this article, Shukaitis surveys “the particular role outer space and extraterrestrial voyage play within the radical imagination.” In particular, he sees speculative fiction about life and travel in outer space as a form…
Review: Radical Markets
“Contra doctrinaire libertarians, freedom is a high-dimensional design space.” ~ Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Co-Founder A distinctive feature of left-libertarianism is its commitment to liberty and egalitarianism – not as moderating influences on each other, but as complementary and mutually reinforcing components of their philosophy. In this sense, they continue a view on markets that goes…
Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism
“The great Randolph Bourne realized that ‘war is the health of the State.’ It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society.” — Murray Rothbard In Tyranny Comes Home professors Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall methodically…
Review: Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience
Let us be clear that ecocide is happening. While we may yet avoid the severest possibilities of global ecological collapse the situation has long been grim. And it’s not just a matter of capitalism or the state making uniquely bad decisions, the tensions at play are deep — at the core of homo sapiens itself….
Review: Omnia Sunt Communia, by Massimo De Angelis
Massimo De Angelis. Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism (London: Zed Books, 2017). Massimo De Angelis is a thinker very much in the autonomist tradition; he mentions being a student of Harry Cleaver. This comes through loud and clear in his focus on the self-activity of ordinary people, and on…
Review: Srnicek and Williams, Inventing the Future
Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (London and New York: Verso, 2015, 2016). I approached this book with considerable eagerness and predisposed to like it. It belongs to a broad milieu of -isms for which I have strong sympathies (postcapitalism, autonomism, left-accelerationism, “fully automated luxury communism,” etc.)….
Review: Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals, by Derek Wall
Derek Wall. Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals: Cooperative Alternatives Beyond Markets and States (London: Pluto Press, 2017). I’ve known Derek Wall for some time as a friend on Twitter, a fellow admirer of Elinor Ostrom, an Ostrom scholar, and an official in the Green Party of England and Wales. This is not my first introduction…
The Anatomy of Escape
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist