Review of Value and Crisis by Alfredo Saad-Filho

Link to a review by Fabian Van Onzen of the book Value and Crisis: Essays on Labour, Money and Contemporary Capitalism (2019) by Alfredo Saad-Filho:

Review of Value and Crisis

 

Bonus links: Review of Making Money and “How Decades of Neoliberalism Led to the Era of Right-Wing Populism” (this article reviews another book on the same topic but is rather questionably historicist, though it is absolutely correct to note that “all policies — whether statist or neoliberal — are normative”) and “When Socialist Hungary Went Neoliberal” (“neoliberalism represents a class project, aiming not so much to ‘restore’ the power of economic elites . . . but instead to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation following the global crisis of capital accumulation (1968-75).  . . . as neoliberalism gradually gained traction amongst ruling classes across the world it has come to represent the current phase of global capitalism. In this regard, neoliberalism is, among others, characterized by a structural reorientation of the state towards export-oriented, financialized capital, open-ended commitments to market-like governance systems, privatization and corporate expansion, a deep aversion to social collectives and the progressive redistribution of wealth on the part of ruling classes, etc.”) (note that this interviewee makes much-contested if not outright dubious claims about “Soviet-style state capitalism” and “the Stalinist myth that the Soviet bloc regimes were somehow ‘post-capitalist’ societies”, that is, he calls the former USSR “state capitalist” rather than communist/socialist)

George Martin Fell Brown – Marxism and the Philosophy of Science

Link to a review by George Martin Fell Brown of Helena Sheehan’s book Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical History (1985/2018):

“Book Review: Marxism and the Philosophy of Science”

 

This review does suffer from a bit of a Trotskyist (anti-Stalinist) bias, but it still provides a useful historical overview.

Nicholas Freudenberg – The Capitalist Diet

Link to a review by Nicholas Freudenberg of Gerardo Otero’s book The Neoliberal Diet: Healthy Profits, Unhealthy People (2018):

“The Capitalist Diet: Energy-dense and Profitable”

 

Bonus link: “Nick Freudenberg on the Corporation the Individual and Public Health” – though his invocation of liberal pluralism along the lines of the FCC’s old “fairness doctrine” is subject to criticism and probably still isn’t sufficient.

Maggie Levantovskaya – Identity Shaping on Social Media

Link to a review by Maggie Levantovskaya of Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion (2019):

“Identity Shaping on Social Media: On Jia Tolentino’s ‘Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion'”

 

Bonus links: Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age and “The Programs of Neoliberal Feminism” and “‘If Only There Were More Female Billionaires!’— New York Times” and “Capitalism and Female Labor”

Philip Alcabes – No Peace of Mind in Psychiatry

Link to a review by Philip Alcabes of the book Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness (2019) by Anne Harrington:

“No Peace of Mind in Psychiatry”

 

Bonus links: “Psychiatry’s Incurable Hubris” (takes an implicitly anti-Freudian perspective, ignoring Lacan) and “Élisabeth Roudinesco Interviewed on the 30th Anniversary of Jacques Lacan’s Death”

Peter Greene – Winners Take All, Education Edition

Link to a review by Peter Greene of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (2018) by Anand Giridharadas:

“Winners Take All, Education Edition”

 

Bonus links: “Social Service or Social Change?” and “Education, Jobs and Capitalism” and Summary of Dupuy on Social Hierarchy and Slavoj Žižek On Political Struggle and “Democracy Is the Enemy” and Oscar Wilde Quote and Review of The New Prophets of Capital and Critique of Cynical Reason and “Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas Review – Superb Hate-reading”

Matthew Stanley – Ulysses S. Grant: American Giant

Link to a review of Ron Chernow‘s book Grant (2017) by Matthew Stanley:

“Ulysses S. Grant: American Giant”

 

Selected quote: “To the extent that it overturns reactionary narratives and underscores the radical potential of the American past, Chernow’s Grant should be commended as a gain for truth. But his stress on the importance of political rights without discussion of how the market renders those political rights vulnerable (or even futile) is the primary shortcoming of liberal accounts of the Reconstruction era — and of liberal politics today.”

 

Bonus links: Democracy in America? and Golden Rule and Trade, Development and Foreign Debt and Review of Lenin

Liza Featherstone – Bad Romance

Link to a review by Liza Featherstone of Kristen Ghodsee’s book Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence (2018):

“Bad Romance”

 

But Ghodsee is open to criticism of the same sort Jodi Dean leveled at Naomi Klein: why is “unregulated capitalism” the problem rather than just “capitalism”?  Isn’t Ghodsee just making typically vague (left) populist claimsWe can critique that position by saying that “populism is simply a new way to imagine capitalism without its harder edges; a capitalism without its socially disruptive effects. Populism is one of today’s two opiums of the people: one is the people, and the other is opium itself. *** What remains of the passionate public engagement in the West is mostly the populist hatred, and this brings us to the other second opium of the people, the people itself, the fuzzy populist dream destined to obfuscate our own antagonisms.”

Landon Frim & Harrison Fluss – Steven Pinker: False Friend of the Enlightenment

Link to a review by Landon Frim & Harrison Fluss of Steven Pinker‘s book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (2018):

“Steven Pinker: False Friend of the Enlightenment”

 

This is a great tear-down of Pinker’s thinking, which is problematic because of how basically insipid it is as mere status quo boosterism.

Bonus links: Review of The Great Leveler and Review of Domenico Losurdo’s Liberalism: A Counter-History and Slavoj Žižek On Political Struggle and Review of Making Money

Bonus quote:

“in the analysis of ideology, it is not simply a matter of seeing which account of reality best matches the ‘facts’, with the one that is closest being the least biased and therefore the best. As soon as the facts are determined, we have already — whether we know it or not — made our choice; we are already within one ideological system or another. The real dispute has already taken place over what is to count as the facts, which facts are relevant, and so on.”

Rex Butler, “What Is a Master-Signifier”