The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and

The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and
    The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing, Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger as much as, and asks how we came to have markets in the first place Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political systemIf part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world s worth If we don t want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in commonThis short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn t often said who gets to make them The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society."/>
  • Paperback
  • 256 pages
  • The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy
  • Raj Patel
  • English
  • 11 January 2017
  • 031242924X

The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy❰Reading❯ ➶ The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy Author Raj Patel – Essayreview.co.uk A deeply though provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness Naomi Klein, author of The Shock DoctrineOpening with Oscar Wilde s observation that no of Nothing: PDF ✓ A deeply though provoking book about the dramatic changes we The Value MOBI :Á must make to save the planet from financial madness Naomi Klein, Value of Nothing: eBook ✓ author of The Shock DoctrineOpening with Oscar Wilde s observation that nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing, Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger as much as, and asks how we came to have markets in the first place Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political systemIf part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world s worth If we don t want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in commonThis short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn t often said who gets to make them The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.


About the Author: Raj Patel

of Nothing: PDF ✓ Raj Patel has worked for the World Bank and WTO The Value MOBI :Á and been tear gassed on four continents protesting against them Writer, Value of Nothing: eBook ✓ activist, and academic, he is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley s Centre for African Studies, a researcher at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal, and a fellow at The Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First.


10 thoughts on “The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy

  1. says:

    There is a strongly held belief that we live in a world where markets are free and that it is only because markets are free that people are free If you want to see alternatives to this view then this is as good a place to start as any other.This book isn t really like, say, a book by Chomsky When I read a book on social theory by Chomsky I generally come away feeling quite depressed There is so much that needs to be done and so few who seem ready to do any of it This book realises that one o There is a strongly held belief that we live in a world where markets are free and that it is only because markets are free that people are free If you want to see alternatives to this view then this is as good a place to start as any other.This book isn t really like, say, a book by Chomsky When I read a book on social theory by Chomsky I generally come away feeling quite depressed There is so much that needs to be done and so few who seem ready to do any of it This book realises that one of the greatest weapons used to ensure the continuation of the present is the sense of powerlessness we have when faced with the enormity of changes that need to be addressed To counter this the book is divided into two parts, the first part deals with theory and the second with how people are actively doing something to make the world ademocratic place In many ways this is an inspiring book.The first half is interesting for a great number of reasons, he points out that the current financial crisis ought to help us see that unrestricted capitalism is not good either for capitalism, nor for people, nor for the planet He gives wonderful thumb nails of economic theories from Adam Smith, Mill, Marx and Keynes all of which are handy references and in themselves make the book worth reading Here is the question how do we provide our kids with a planet that is not only one on which they can live, but one on which they would want to live Even if you don t believe in climate change it would seem hard to look about at the world, a world dominated by greed and a rapaciousness that goes beyond selfishness, and not be concerned Our standard model of freedom and democracy is clearly flawed Any model of democracy that only asks of its citizens that they vote once every four years does not deserve the name We need to find ways to make citizensinvolved in the world they live in And we need to do this by becomingtruly democratic That is, not only must we find ways to involvepeople in the issues of today we must do this by making what people are involved in truly meaningful That is, by giving people a meaningful voice and decisions that arethan a choice between minimally different sides of politics Yes, I m talking about you Australian Labor Party This book makes it clear that leaving change to Obama is simply not enough We don t need a saviour, we need to save ourselves Our only hope is inpeople being involved in truly meaningful activity.The second half of this book is a series of case studies in democracy where people often with seemingly impossible disadvantages have made a difference and helped to make the world a better andequal place I recommend this book to you as well worth reading particularly the first half I went to see the author talk when he was in Melbourne recently I m going to quote a line from memory as the copy I ve read is already off being read by someone else which has stayed with me since that talk and leapt from the page while I read this book We need to stop living in a world where it is cheaper to buy clothes than to wash them He estimates that if you take into account all of the externalities and if you don t know about externalities, you need to find out about them now and this book is a great place to start a hamburger ought to cost 200 We need to do something about food again, before it kills us If you need to be shocked before you feel you can do something then go see Food Inc A deeply disturbing, but remarkably positive film.Now, you have things to be getting on with

  2. says:

    I have to admit that this is the first book I ve read in a long, long time that s giving me problems in summarizing It s a good book, but I m hard pressed to find the common thread among its myriad chapters and examples I suppose I could start with the title, The Value of Nothing, which is drawn from an Oscar Wilde quote, Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing Using this quote as a base, Patel goes on to perform a wide ranging criticism of free market capitali I have to admit that this is the first book I ve read in a long, long time that s giving me problems in summarizing It s a good book, but I m hard pressed to find the common thread among its myriad chapters and examples I suppose I could start with the title, The Value of Nothing, which is drawn from an Oscar Wilde quote, Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing Using this quote as a base, Patel goes on to perform a wide ranging criticism of free market capitalism.From what I can gather, Patel s criticism stems from two sources First, free market capitalism attempts to put a price on everything, even things we might shy away from pricing land, labor, and even human life The problem with pricing these things, Patel argues, is that they become commodified and can be put to uses other than the ones originally intended e.g When you assign a price value to land, poor farmers sell their acreage and are forced to become city workers Second, free market capitalism allows the prices of products to ignore externalities, everything from environmental damage to social upheaval This allows some products to be priced artificially low he makes the case that if all externalities were factored into a McDonald s hamburger, it would cost 200 , and some products with positive externalities to seem artificially high sustainable, organically grown food, for example These two factors together have caused havoc throughout the world, especially in the poorest nations and communities.I liked Patel s individual examples, and there s a lot of food for thought in this book I just couldn t follow the overall thread from chapter to chapter Still, it was thought provoking and I m glad I read it

  3. says:

    Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, offers a broader and deeper critique of the origins, limits and depredations of the market economy He seeks the roots they re not all that deep, culturally of society s implicit belief that unregulated free markets are the best way to do and to value everything And he offers alternatives, along the way debunking the theory known as the Tragedy of the Commons.Turns out this theory was created in 1968, but Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, offers a broader and deeper critique of the origins, limits and depredations of the market economy He seeks the roots they re not all that deep, culturally of society s implicit belief that unregulated free markets are the best way to do and to value everything And he offers alternatives, along the way debunking the theory known as the Tragedy of the Commons.Turns out this theory was created in 1968, but it wasn t based on actual human experience with the commons Rather, it was to illustrate its creator s belief that humans are unalterably selfish and can t be trusted to shared natural resources As Patel notes, the commons in, say British history, worked pretty well for the poor until the system of enclosures came around starting in the late Middle Ages, privatizing property and leaving the poor with nothing to live off except the labor they could sell and HAD to sell, cheaply Patel s solution is much the same as in Stuffed and Starved More real democracy, that is, people taking control of their own lands and livelihoods, rather than corporations and the governments that serve them running everything He offers concrete examples of this living democracy from his travels to the developing world, including South Africa to India

  4. says:

    Having obtained degrees from Oxford, the London School of Economics, and Cornell University, Raj Patel explores the fundamental dilemma of market based economies Because prices do not accurately reflect the value of commodities due to their extensive externalities Patel explains that aappropriate price for an average hamburger would be 200 if these externalities were properly factored into the production process , an overemphasis on price and capitalism severely alters the balance of so Having obtained degrees from Oxford, the London School of Economics, and Cornell University, Raj Patel explores the fundamental dilemma of market based economies Because prices do not accurately reflect the value of commodities due to their extensive externalities Patel explains that aappropriate price for an average hamburger would be 200 if these externalities were properly factored into the production process , an overemphasis on price and capitalism severely alters the balance of society To overcome this dilemma, modern societies should integrate principles of stewardship and commoning Socially, markets must abandon the pursuit of relentless expansion and profit Response Even though Patel presents several claims that could have a great deal of validity, his process for exploring those claims is incredibly lacking Unfortunately, broad and sweeping claims are made throughout the book without evidence, leaving the validity of most of his claims in question For example, Patel concludes that Western society s endless pursuit of profit necessitates the nationalization of the health care and banking system The problem isn t that Patel advocates for policies such as nationalizing the banking industry, it s that this book is not about the intricacies of incredibly complex issues like nationalization Nationalization policy can easily fill volumes, yet Patel only mentions it once when he presents it as a solution His prior arguments are assumed to support the policy without any connection between the two This is by no means an exception either Whether it s nationalization, structural adjustment programs, the American military industrial complex, or conditional cash transfers, Patel provides the briefest of descriptions, then uses them to support inordinate claims that desperately require a great dealevidence and analysis Possibly the most egregious assumption Patel makes throughout the book without providing sufficient analysis and evidence is his reliance on dependency theory In short, dependency theory claims that modern industrialized states called the core exploit developing and underdeveloped states called the periphery This is a highly complex theory with many arguments supporting and debasing it Patel frequently references the exploitative nature of modern states as fact, without exploring any of the complexities that the debate over dependency theory has discussed Patel also attempts to offer examples of functional communal oriented governing systems such as the Zapatistas but fails to illustrate how these social structures can be scaled and adapted to modern economies and political systems Much of the book discusses the Zapatistas or similar communal oriented political organizations, offering a great deal of potential, but falls far short of any pragmatic guidance for policy makers or scholars Bottom Line Not worth the time Regardless of whether or not any of Patel s arguments are valid, he fails to present enough evidence to support his claims or respond to counterarguments Considering Patel s education, there s little doubt that he could compose an incredibly insightful book This is not that book Sadly, Patel s book amounts to nothingthan a highly educated diatribe Forreviews and a summary of Patel s main points, find us at Hand of Reason

  5. says:

    Very interesting analysis of today s profit driven democratic society in which costs are meant to reflect value The reality is that cost does not in any reflect value of goods on the market today, Raj sites examples such as Walmart s ultra cheap goods at the cost of child labor, pollution, low wages, increase of welfare Not only does this apply to material goods such as those sold at Walmart or McDonald s, it also applies to the stock markets Companies which have nothing to add or decreas Very interesting analysis of today s profit driven democratic society in which costs are meant to reflect value The reality is that cost does not in any reflect value of goods on the market today, Raj sites examples such as Walmart s ultra cheap goods at the cost of child labor, pollution, low wages, increase of welfare Not only does this apply to material goods such as those sold at Walmart or McDonald s, it also applies to the stock markets Companies which have nothing to add or decrease value of their stock still reflect fluctuating prices in the market due to various trading schemes implemented by brokers and traders In addition they create securities of no value which are so complicated that noone fully understands them and believes they are of value It s complete trickery, not a system based on open knowledge as is one of the basic assumptions under which the market runs And don t forget that fact that corporations are legally human entities, which gives them all the rights andof us regular people Spinning the corporate beast evenout of control, creatingproblems and decreasing the value of our democratic society.The corrections he recommends would greatly help our society to better value items This way we don t have to make choices based on conscience like payingmoney for organic goods because the government subsidized industrialized farmers which make those land and water leaching practices cheaper I could keep going but I suggest you read the book It s very interesting and thought provoking if you constantly question the state or our society, economy, and subsequent happiness like me

  6. says:

    This was a good read, nothing I haven t already read from a lot of other books but I enjoy Patel s writing style It wasn t alarmist, it wasn t defeatist, it was just a well stated account of market capitalism and the terrible effects it s had on our world My favorite quote by far was There are two novels that can transform a bookish fourteen year old s life The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthoo This was a good read, nothing I haven t already read from a lot of other books but I enjoy Patel s writing style It wasn t alarmist, it wasn t defeatist, it was just a well stated account of market capitalism and the terrible effects it s had on our world My favorite quote by far was There are two novels that can transform a bookish fourteen year old s life The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood in which large chunks of the day are spent inventing ways to make real lifelike a fantasy novel The other is a book about orcs

  7. says:

    Participatory democracy deserves a better champion than Patel As much as I agreed with the implicit reasoning of many of his observations, this is not a worthwhile book His meandering recounting of cliche quotes never threatens logical consistency, and his demonstration of policy value never moves beyond simplistic praise The subject of countercultural reform requires clam analysis, not crowd pleasing newspaper columns.

  8. says:

    Patel is in that school of recent left ish social critics, and muchleft than some, who are on a popularising mission to develop a critique of the contemporary capitalist order The important thing that this group of writers share think Naomi Klein, Hilary Wainwright, Arundhati Roy, George Monbiot and Eric Schlosser is a broader critique of neo liberal capitalism than we see fromeconomically specialist writers as well as a compelling writing style that brings the critique to life Patel is in that school of recent left ish social critics, and muchleft than some, who are on a popularising mission to develop a critique of the contemporary capitalist order The important thing that this group of writers share think Naomi Klein, Hilary Wainwright, Arundhati Roy, George Monbiot and Eric Schlosser is a broader critique of neo liberal capitalism than we see fromeconomically specialist writers as well as a compelling writing style that brings the critique to life the weakness is that of the list above, only Wainwright seems to have articulated a clear or programmatically focussed idea of what to do.Patel s case here is a useful and powerful supplement to this set of writers in that he sets out to do two things 1 explore the limitations of the market as a way to value stuff, and 2 in response advance a case for a democracy based in participation and the idea of the commons The idea is compelling, to democratise markets includes a struggle to get business to bear the full costs of its activities rather than palm those costs off on others the state or citizens of other countries for instance along with a willingness to get it wrong and start again But this willingness to get it wrong, this need to slow down, this need to slough off the dominance of the powerful in favour of the many is scary, takes a long time, and requires that we work to overcome two principle errors of contemporary social life the first is its destruction by neo liberal ideologies that hold that there is no such thing as society even while its advocates get all het up about social exclusion surely that s a paradox , and the second is that the market is a meaningful and accurate way to value things.The first, the end of society, is hard one to overcome and means that we need to begin to work together, not through intermediaries but through direct democratic and face to face means The second is perhaps even harder, and requires that we throw off not financialisation but a blindness that constructs the capitalist market where some enter to enhance their profits and bolster their self interest as not just a meaningful way to assess and determine value, but the only way to do so It s all kinda of intimidating.The book has some great case studies and stories of people organising for themselves to not only speak the truth to power with apologies of Orwell but force power to concede Sometimes it seems tiny like the Florida tomato pickers whose campaign focussed not on their family owned employing companies but on McDonalds and the like who purchase the tomatoes, with the outcome of a wage increase of a penny a pound It may seem miniscule and it is butimportant than the size of the increase was that there was an increase after years of nothing Sometimes it is not the material gain that matters but learning the skills of organising and the possibility of resistance Even better than the case studies is Patel s impressive ability to explain economics in clear and obvious language, and in a way that means that we don t quite realise that he is talking economics, mainly because he does not get hung up on the obscure worlds of so much economics linked obscurantism, but he focuses on the people at the centre of the stories.Amid all this however, the book is quite frustrating because it seems quite disconnected from a sense of what do we do This is not so much a problem of Patel s but of current politics he emphasises the commons, he calls for fundamental changes in the ways we think, and then says that it won t be easy I m pretty sure that as with Patel many of us can imagine a new future, what we need to know and work on is how to get to it Sadly, this doesn t take us far down that road Throughout the book, however, I was reminded of a comment by the great Uruguayan writer Edurado Galeano democracy is often confused with an electoral ritual

  9. says:

    Where do I begin with this Raj Patel runs roughshod over essentially every notion of individualism and self ownership known in Western society his conception of rights is ever expanding Patel mentions that people have a right to a job, a right to a fair wage, a right to medical care and quite likely prescriptions The most insulting claim Patel makes in relation to rights, is that people have a right to property, even if it s not theirs Essentially, Patel is arguing that an individ Where do I begin with this Raj Patel runs roughshod over essentially every notion of individualism and self ownership known in Western society his conception of rights is ever expanding Patel mentions that people have a right to a job, a right to a fair wage, a right to medical care and quite likely prescriptions The most insulting claim Patel makes in relation to rights, is that people have a right to property, even if it s not theirs Essentially, Patel is arguing that an individual has a right to loot from their neighbors so long as they can manufacture a need Worse than his offensive conception of rights, is his pseudo criticism of capitalism He sees horrible injustices being committed by corporations for example, he doesn t like that corporations can patent mineral resources on nationalized land Patel seems totally oblivious to the fact that a truly capitalist society does not allow the government to be a landholder, or for it to engage in business He continues, criticizing the Federal Reserve, and its fanatic capitalism Of course, anyone with the remotest understanding of capitalism realizes that there is no room for a central bank in a free market.He makes all these criticisms of capitalism while never really seeming to understand,that he s criticizing a mixed economy and he s arguing that giving people less economic freedom will actually fix these things Every single one of his real world criticisms of capitalism is not centered around the free market itself rather, he criticizes the very governmental actions that ensure our market is not capitalist.Don t waste your time with this book, for any reason

  10. says:

    Everyone should read this book I would be elated to find that this kind of material ended up in the public school system Raj Patel offers insight into why the current market system and economy are not working and gives examples of cases where changes have been made for the better It doesn t read as a manual for a perfect world that has all the answers, as any such book to claim that it can solve the problem is usually lacking in one way or another I am not well educated in the workings of ec Everyone should read this book I would be elated to find that this kind of material ended up in the public school system Raj Patel offers insight into why the current market system and economy are not working and gives examples of cases where changes have been made for the better It doesn t read as a manual for a perfect world that has all the answers, as any such book to claim that it can solve the problem is usually lacking in one way or another I am not well educated in the workings of economic systems and my experience and interest with them probably ended back in grade 8 when our class had played a game of creating our own stock market I realized back then that the stock market was easily manipulated and could bring about the worst in people I had guesses of what was really happening with our type of economy but didn t have the knowledge or information to back those ideas Raj Patel touches on a lot of these gut feelings and explains them in a way that is easy to understand Some of the cases that he speaks of are sad and sometimes unbelievable spoiler such as slavery still existing in parts of the United States only ten years ago, but others are hopeful and positive stories of change I was fearful that reading this book would just bring me down and be depressing, however I found it to be fairly even in its emotional impact

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