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Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy

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The dominant schools of neoclassical and neoliberal economics tell us that material scarcity is an inevitable product of an insatiable human nature. Against this, Costas Panayotakis argues that scarcity is in fact a result of the social and economic processes of the capitalist system. The overriding importance of the logic of capital accumulation accounts for the fact that The dominant schools of neoclassical and neoliberal economics tell us that material scarcity is an inevitable product of an insatiable human nature. Against this, Costas Panayotakis argues that scarcity is in fact a result of the social and economic processes of the capitalist system. The overriding importance of the logic of capital accumulation accounts for the fact that capitalism is not able to make a rational use of scarce resources and the productive potential at the disposal of human society. Instead, capitalism produces grotesque inequalities and unnecessary human suffering, a toxic consumerist culture that fails to satisfy, and a deepening ecological crisis. Remaking Scarcity is a powerful challenge to the current economic orthodoxy. It asserts the core principle of economic democracy, that all human beings should have an equal say over the priorities of the economic system, as the ultimate solution to scarcity and ecological crisis.


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The dominant schools of neoclassical and neoliberal economics tell us that material scarcity is an inevitable product of an insatiable human nature. Against this, Costas Panayotakis argues that scarcity is in fact a result of the social and economic processes of the capitalist system. The overriding importance of the logic of capital accumulation accounts for the fact that The dominant schools of neoclassical and neoliberal economics tell us that material scarcity is an inevitable product of an insatiable human nature. Against this, Costas Panayotakis argues that scarcity is in fact a result of the social and economic processes of the capitalist system. The overriding importance of the logic of capital accumulation accounts for the fact that capitalism is not able to make a rational use of scarce resources and the productive potential at the disposal of human society. Instead, capitalism produces grotesque inequalities and unnecessary human suffering, a toxic consumerist culture that fails to satisfy, and a deepening ecological crisis. Remaking Scarcity is a powerful challenge to the current economic orthodoxy. It asserts the core principle of economic democracy, that all human beings should have an equal say over the priorities of the economic system, as the ultimate solution to scarcity and ecological crisis.

32 review for Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shane Wallis

    Recognizing that scarcity is a key concept in how economic systems are approached, this becomes a central them to this book. Not all too shocking considering the title. However despite being so central to economics, Panayotakis presents a case that economists, and by this he means primarily neo-classical economists, have gotten it wrong. Initially he builds the case that the manner in which scarcity is commonly interpreted is limited. Indeed in it's attempts to be a value free science, it often Recognizing that scarcity is a key concept in how economic systems are approached, this becomes a central them to this book. Not all too shocking considering the title. However despite being so central to economics, Panayotakis presents a case that economists, and by this he means primarily neo-classical economists, have gotten it wrong. Initially he builds the case that the manner in which scarcity is commonly interpreted is limited. Indeed in it's attempts to be a value free science, it often presupposes many of the features of a neo-liberal capitalist society. Instead of being an informative and critical field, it becomes a handmaiden. One area where this is demonstrated would be when it comes to the goals that people are pursuing. Neo-liberal politics does not concern itself with what the goals are. Whereas Panayotakis would argue that this is an important aspect to take into consideration, as the goals and aspirations of a populace do not spring out of nowhere. Rather they are influenced very strongly by sociocultural factors. Marketing for instance goes to great expense to attempt to shape these values, drawing on research conducted by psychologists and to a lesser extent other social scientists. This would be all good and well if it could be demonstrated that capitalism is an efficient means of addressing scarcity. Panayotakis argues that this is not the case either. Looking at the culture of consumerism, as well as inequality and ecological destruction the case is presented that neo-liberal capitalism is having a disastrous impact. The problem he identifies is that the system promotes abstract logics of capital and profit which result in resources not being adequately employed towards the removal of inhumane conditions and ecologically destructive patterns of behaviour. Indeed the continuous need to increase one's relative profit results in the never ending pursuit of cost cutting and revenue increasing. These logics are in place, Panayotakis asserts, in large part due to the non-democratic nature of our economic system. The book finishes off by exploring what an economic democracy might be like. He looks briefly at a few models which have been offered, identifying their relative strengths and weaknesses. He does not advocate what the goals of an economic democracy would be, outside of some rather general principles. Importantly he also spends a little time briefly postulating on what style approach would be required in order to bring this transition about. Finally his writing style is incredibly clear and concise. I found it very enjoyable and easy to work my way through. Since he is advocating for a system which encourages more public participation, it is quite fitting that his ideas are presented in such a manner that a wider audience would be able to grapple with them. All in all a very interesting read.

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    Middlethought

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    Michael Connor

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