The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel
How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy

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Synopsis

"A deeply though-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness."--Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine


Opening with Oscar Wilde's observation that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing," Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced. He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place. Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.


If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world's worth. If we don't want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.


This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics. While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one. If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn't often said who gets to make them. The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.

 

About Raj Patel

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Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved, is an activist and academic who has been hailed as "a visionary" for his prescience about the food crisis.  Raj has worked for the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and has protested against them on four continents.  He is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Center for African Studies, an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First.
 
Published January 4, 2010 by Picador. 257 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Value of Nothing

Kirkus Reviews

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A social scientist and activist makes a case for setting limits on our free-market society.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Value of Nothing: How to ...

Publishers Weekly

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Expanding on his analysis and recommendations in Stuffed and Starved , which located the horrifying imbalance in the world's food system in its profit-driven

Nov 02 2009 | Read Full Review of The Value of Nothing: How to ...

New York Journal of Books

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that is the reason Patel holds the company responsible for higher health costs.

Jan 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The Value of Nothing: How to ...

Examiner

I mean, I have trouble telling time on non-digital clocks (are non-digital clocks just called clocks???) and if I actually get the time right I still won’t be able to tell you how much time we have left until break time, lunch time, home time or any other type of time that people look forwards to.

Apr 14 2010 | Read Full Review of The Value of Nothing: How to ...

New York Journal of Books

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Here’s a quote from Patel: “Unlike Economic Man, people value mercy, trust, altruism and reciprocation for their own sakes.”Now consider this quote from a sermon by the Victorian cleric, the Cambridge-educated Charles Kingsley:“Did it ever strike you, that goodness is not merely A beautiful thing...

Jan 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The Value of Nothing: How to ...

The Globe and Mail

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The cost of the recovery indicates that what we have long regarded as 'normal' may be an illusion

Feb 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The Value of Nothing: How to ...

Christian Science Monitor

Ronald Reagan said famously and often, “Government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.” Simply get out of the way of free markets, and it would be morning in America ad infinitum.

Jan 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The Value of Nothing: How to ...

Socialist Review

In discussing Keynesianism, the book The Great Transformation, by Karl Polanyi, and (briefly) Marxism, Patel describes a process that began with the enclosure of land and has brought us to the abyss between bankers like Bob Diamond and those of us who are expected to pay for their lifestyles and ...

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Cinema: Jack Reacher Michael Dalton - Added Thursday, January 03 @ 18:41:04 EST (158 reads) Reviewed by Peter Gray Given that the character of Jack Reacher has been around since 1997 when he was first introduced through Lee Childs’ novel ‘Killing Floor’ and has a se...

May 06 2010 | Read Full Review of The Value of Nothing: How to ...

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