Six new books for ecosocialists

Issue 

Six new books for reds and greens, as recommended by Climate and Capitalist editor Ian Angus.

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A Marxist History Of Capitalism
Henry Heller
Routledge, 2018

Henry Heller’s short account shows that capitalism has always been a double-edged sword, on one hand advancing humanity, and on the other harming traditional societies and our natural environment. He makes the case that capitalism has now become self-destructive, and that our current era of neoliberalism may trigger a transition to a democratic and ecologically aware form of socialism.

Superbugs: An Arms Race Against Bacteria
By William Hall, Anthony McDonnell, Jim O’Neill
Harvard University Press

The problem of drug resistance already kills more than 1 million people across the world every year and has huge economic costs. Without action, this problem will become significantly worse. 

Superbugs outlines the major systematic failures that have led to this growing crisis, It argues for mounting an offense against this threat through agricultural policy changes, an industrial research stimulus, and other broad-scale economic and social incentives.

Rising: Dispatches From The New American Shore
By Elizabeth Rush
Milkweed Editions, 2018

We live in a time of unprecedented hurricanes and catastrophic weather events. It is a time when it is increasingly clear that climate change is neither imagined nor distant — and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. Rising is a lyrical meditation on vulnerability and on vulnerable communities.

Capitalism: A Conversation in Critical Theory
By Nancy Fraser & Rahel Jaeggi
Polity Press, 2018

Two leading critical theorists show how various regimes of capitalism have relied on a series of institutional separations between economy and polity, production and social reproduction, and human and non-human nature, periodically readjusting the boundaries between these domains in response to crises and upheavals.

What emerges is a renewed crisis critique of capitalism that puts our present conjuncture into broader perspective, along with sharp diagnoses of the recent resurgence of right-wing populism and what is required of a viable Left alternative.

Food Bank Nations: Poverty, Corporate Charity & The Right To Food
By Graham Riches
Routledge/Earthscan, 2018

In the world’s most affluent and food secure societies, why is it now publicly acceptable to feed donated surplus food, dependent on corporate food waste, to millions of hungry people?

While recognising the moral imperative to feed hungry people, this book challenges the effectiveness, sustainability and moral legitimacy of globally entrenched corporate food banking as the primary response to rich world food poverty.

American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class
By Ron Formisano
University of Illinois Press, 2017

The US is governed by an aristocracy of huge inherited wealth that is accumulating immense political power. Their shameless pursuit of wealth and self-aggrandisement, often at taxpayer expense, rewards channelling the flow of income and wealth to elites.

That inequality, in turn, has choked off social mobility and made a joke of meritocracy. It has exacerbated the dangerous instability of an American democracy divided between extreme wealth and extreme poverty.