Reading Matters

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, September 2019


Five books for reds and greens …. Waste  …  Solar Power … Sustainable Food Systems … Karl Marx and the Birth of Modern Society … America’s Overripe Economy.

Climate & Capitalism can’t review every book we receive, but this column lists and links to those that seem relevant to our mission, along with brief descriptions. Titles described here may be reviewed in future. Inclusion does not imply endorsement, or that we agree with everything (or even anything!) these books say.

This month’s illustration is used with permission from the artist, Margaret Scott. 


Kate O’Neill
WASTE
Polity, 2019
Waste can be a risk, a resource, and even a livelihood, and it has major implications for governance at local, national, and global levels. O’Neill traces the emergence of the global waste industry, and discusses how we could deal with both the risks and the opportunities associated with the hundreds of millions – possibly billions – of tons of waste we generate each year.

Dustin Mulvaney
SOLAR POWER
Innovation, Sustainability, and Environmental Justice

University of California Press, 2019
Despite its deservedly green reputation, solar development and deployment may have social and environmental consequences, from poor factory conditions to impacts on wildlife. Mulvaney outlines the state of the solar industry, exploring the ongoing conflicts between ecological concerns and climate mitigation strategies, current trade disputes, and the fate of toxics in solar waste products.

Robert Biel
SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS
The Role of the City

UCL Press, 2016
Although it may at the moment be true that there’s enough food ‘around’ (provided we stop wasting it and distribute it fairly), the system which currently produces that food is not ecologically sustainable into the future. Calling for a confluence between radical socialism and organic farming, Biel argues that the solution to today’s food crises can only be driven by the kind of social movements which are now daring to challenge the existing unsustainable order

Michael Heinrich
KARL MARX AND THE BIRTH OF MODERN SOCIETY
The Life of Marx and the Development of His Work
Volume I: 1818-1841

Monthly Review Press, 2019
There are many biographies of Marx, but none of them give his life and work equal attention. Heinrich aims to include the contemporary conflicts, struggles, and disputes that engaged Marx at the time of his writings, alongside his complex relationships with a varied assortment of friends and opponents. Volume One deals with his youth in Trier, his studies in Bonn and Berlin, and his focus on Hegelian philosophy and the so-called “young Hegelians” in his 1841 Dissertation.

Alan Nasser
OVERRIPE ECONOMY
American Capitalism and the Crisis of Democracy

Pluto Press, 2019
This history of the emergence of a finance-ridden, authoritarian, austerity-plagued American capitalism surveys the ruthlessly competitive capitalism of the nineteenth century, the maturation of industrial capitalism in the 1920s, the rise and fall of capitalism’s Golden Age and the ensuing decline towards the modern era. Nasser shows why financialized neoliberal capitalism emerged, and points to the kind of system that can transcend it.

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