This is a new book by Ted Trainer. You can download it for free (170 pp.) at: https://thesimplerway.info/CAPITALISMBOOK.pdf
This book provides a fairly short but sufficiently detailed critical discussion of the nature of our basically capitalist economic system, its faults, why it is not just unsatisfactory but is leading to global breakdown, the alternative we must work for, and how to achieve it. It is written for “ordinary” people and especially for students. It is not aimed at academics in the field. It is not a rant; it is a quiet and reasoned attempt to help thoughtful and concerned people to see why this economic system is deeply flawed, causing major global problems and needs to be replaced.
It is not an argument for transition to Socialism. It argues that the alternative to capitalism must be a form of Anarchism. This case derives from the “limits to growth” analysis of the global sustainability predicament. An understanding of the great extent to which we have overshot sustainability limits leaves no alternative to working for an eventual transition to mostly small, highly self-sufficient and self-governing cooperative communities controlling local economies and embracing materially simple lifestyles and systems. It is explained that these can enable a higher quality of life than rich countries have now, without reduction in socially desirable institutions such as high-tech medicine. This vision is about participatory democracy and contradicts the state-centred goal put forward by Socialists.
The book also puts forward original ideas on how the transition to a post-capitalist society could be achieved. Reforms such as those proposed by Green New Deal advocates cannot solve the problems; the system must be replaced. Socialist strategies cannot achieve the required alternative, which cannot involve centralised control and cannot be implemented by capturing the state. This revolution must be essentially a cultural revolution, driven by willing acceptance of radically new ideas and values compared with those fuelling capitalist society.
The last Chapter argues that our present society is incapable of making the transition deliberately and rationally through its parliamentary and other institutions. Capitalism and obsession with affluence and growth are so deeply entrenched that we are locked into descent to a possibly terminal time of great troubles. This will see capitalism’s contradictions bring about its self-destruction. It could also terminate “civilisation”, along with the lives of billions. But it will also open the way for the emergence of more sustainable and just ways built by the increasing numbers now coming to realise the need for transition to some kind of Simpler Way. The main purpose of this book is to persuade more people to join us in raising awareness of the need for radical change.
Ted Trainer is an Australian academic and an author. He is an advocate of economic degrowth, simple living, and ‘conserver’ lifestyles. He is a retired lecturer from the School of Social Work, University of New South Wales. He can be reached at: [email protected]
T. Vijayendra (1943- ) was born in Mysore, grew in Indore and went to IIT Kharagpur to get a B. Tech. in Electronics (1966). After a year’s stint at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, he got drawn into the whirlwind times of the late 60s. Since then, he has always been some kind of political-social activist. His brief for himself is the education of Left wing cadres and so he almost exclusively publishes in the Left wing journal Frontier, published from Kolkata. For the last nine years, he has been active in the field of ‘Peak Oil’ and is a founder member of Peak Oil India and Ecologise. Since 2015 he has been involved in Ecologise! Camps and in 2016 he initiated Ecologise Hyderabad. He divides his time between an organic farm at the foothills of Western Ghats, watching birds, writing fiction and Hyderabad. He has published a book dealing with resource depletions, three books of essays, two collections of short stories, a novella and an autobiography. Vijayendra has been a ‘dedicated’ cyclist all his life, meaning, he neither took a driving licence nor did he ever drive a fossil fuel based vehicle. Email: [email protected]