Green Left Weekly asked various people to name the best books published this year
“A game-changer on steroids”
Mat Ward chose Too Many Pe0ple? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis by Ian Angus and Simon Butler (Haymarket Books, 2011)
For me, a great book is one that substantially changes the way people see the world. Nicholas Shaxson’s Treasure Islands, which came out this year, definitely does that. It exposes the extent to which tax havens have corrupted the entire global financial system, resulting in governments slicing away at corporate tax to try to compete.
But Ian Angus and Simon Butler’s Too Many People? is a game-changer on steroids. The book’s release, coming as population hysteria reached a peak with the world’s head count hitting 7 billion, could not be more timely. Whereas Shaxson’s book sees capitalism as essentially benign, Too Many People? shows, clearly and concisely, that capitalism — not population — is the very root of the world’s problems. It will challenge the views of many on the left; it certainly changed mine.
“Every socialist should buy two copies”
Ian Angus chose What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism by Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster (Monthly Review Press, 2011
Environmental destruction isn’t caused by ignorance or mistaken policies: it is the inevitable result of a social and economic system that puts profit before people and must constantly expand to survive.
In this short and clearly written book, Magdoff and Foster explain why that is, why there can be no permanent solution to the environmental crisis so long as capitalism continues, and why greens and socialists must join forces to make an ecological revolution. Every socialist should buy two copies: one to read and learn from, and another to give to a friend who wants to go beyond environmental concern to effective action.
More Green Left suggestions for summer (southern hemisphere) or winter (northern hemisphere) reading.