Postcapitalism: A Guide To Our Future (from @paulmasonnews)

I have just finished reading Paul Mason’s book, Postcapitalism: A Guide to our Future. Scary stuff; and not because this is a rant by an extreme left wing political economist/journalist – because it isn’t. This is a serious attempt to analyse where the world is heading, what it means, and what can be done to prevent disaster.

Where is the world heading?

– Neo-liberalism is dead

– Climate change is a world-changer, and a new energy economy is required

– The ageing of the world population, coupled to migration, is also a world-changer

– Public debt is unsustainable and 60% of states are heading for bankruptcy by 2050

Paul’s view is that the global elite is in denial, and have no solutions to these problems. The market will not solve the problems.

So far, little to disagree with. What are the solutions? Paul offers some sense of the required direction of travel, rather than a step by step set of instructions. Centralised, strategic and fast action is required, with states acting together; revolutionary reformism leading (after a possibly lengthy transition) to Postcapitalism. This requires willpower, confidence and design. The key principles are:

– creation of a zero carbon economy

– production of machines, products and services with zero marginal costs; reduction of necessary labour time to as close to zero as possible (automated economy; less work, more non-waged activity)

– ecological sustainability

-human attitudes to work and societal structures need to change

-maximisation of power of information; allowing networks to attack societal (and other) problems and arrive at solutions collaboratively

-society to become overtly ethical

Very revolutionary, but not in a ‘up against the wall’ sort of way. The transition to a Postcapitalist world doesn’t abolish the state; it requires states and politicians to step up to the plate, and confront the structural problems facing the world, and to take the painful measures required. The transition cannot be left to market forces, although these can be co-opted to nudge the system into the desirable pathways to change.

Clearly, I’ve left a lot out. Recently, Paul Mason seems to have become a figure of fun as far as the rest of the media is concerned. I think that’s a misunderstanding. This book is definitely worth reading.


2 thoughts on “Postcapitalism: A Guide To Our Future (from @paulmasonnews)

  1. f4rheen

    Yes I have concerns about the future, and I think our politicians are burying their heads in the sand while our economists are busy rehashing old theories.

    I am sending my son to uni this year to study Government and Economics​. No pressure son, just sort this message out please.

    1. chemistrypoet Post author

      Thanks for your comment. I’m more optimistic, and it isn’t absolutely clear what the path forward is. I suspect that there will be options, but also that we (society at large) will need to get more engaged with politics.


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