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Capitalism: A Ghost Story

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,911 ratings  ·  221 reviews
From the poisoned rivers, barren wells, and clear-cut forests, to the hundreds of thousands of farmers who have committed suicide to escape punishing debt, to the hundreds of millions of people who live on less than two dollars a day, there are ghosts nearly everywhere you look in India. India is a nation of 1.2 billion, but the country’s 100 richest people own assets equi ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Haymarket Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Saurabh Singh Yes, this okay to be read for high school especially if you are interested in international affairs and want to explore the other side of capitalism. …moreYes, this okay to be read for high school especially if you are interested in international affairs and want to explore the other side of capitalism.

PS: I am a strong supporter of economic liberation. (less)

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 ·  1,911 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A fast-paced collection of anti-capitalist articles and essays, Capitalism: A Ghost Story reckons with the violence of neoliberal rule. Addressing everything from the current state of the Kashmir conflict to the resurgence of right-wing extremism, the pieces gathered here chart with great dexterity the recent social history of India; collectively they develop a searing critique of the nation's institutionalized racism and classism, along with a denouncement of Western imperialism and complicity. ...more
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: roy
Roy brings nothing new to this book. It comes across as a collage of newspaper articles, a copy-paste of Roy’s own previous socio-political writings with may be slight references from the Foreign Affairs Journals or a Forbes Magazine. The befitting description would be this rather intriguing anecdote, during Roy’s book lecture held in 2012 at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.

Post her speech, a student, looking at Marxist books on sale outside the venue, summed up the evening: “Dude, I am a hardco
Julie Ehlers
Since reading Leslie Chang's Factory Girls and Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, I've been haunted by the way capitalism seems to be establishing itself in developing nations. In a nutshell: China and India seem to have vaulted right over the part of capitalism that's supposed to be about giving everyone an equal shot at economic success and moved directly into the part that's about the vast gulf between the insanely wealthy and the rest of us. I picked up Capitalism: A Ghost Story ...more
Fug o' Slavia
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Buy this book for the person in your life who thinks ethical capitalism exists and is a fan of the Gates Foundation
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
The stories find the artist, but it takes a special artist to listen to the ghosts of the voiceless.

The Good:
--I read this several years ago while exploring “economics”, and since then I’ve followed up on several loose-ends (see below). However, Roy’s message was clear from the beginning; real-world economics is political economy (i.e. power relations), and an artist can bring out the human struggle in ways numbers and measurements alone often obfuscate.
--Thus, this is a story of real-world glo
Saajid Hosein
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
capitalism is actual trash.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly depressing, but well worth the (brief) time and effort invested in reading, this should be considered a must-read. I was going to post a few quotes in my review, but there is something quotable on virtually every page. Very enlightening and troubling.
Sara Salem
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Arundhati Roy is always great but somehow expected more from this. Perhaps it is meant for an audience who doesn't know about the problems with capitalism or in Kashmir.
Jun 19, 2015 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: was £1 in Verso sale
You'd be better reading a review of this short book of essays from someone who lives in India, or who's actually been there. These are basically notes for myself, habitually posted as a GR review.
(I also tend to agree with the reviewer who said this epic title would have better suited a weightier tome than 100 pages of short essays.)

Some problems are, it seems, the same in many countries.
- According to government rhetoric, poor people can't do anything right. (Rural Indians are told to move to
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arundhati Roy is a fine essayist, and in this collection of work exploring the underbelly of India’s entry to global power status, its ‘gush up’ economic model and its brutal war in Kashmir she conjures up images and evokes the crimes of the new world order in the ‘world’s largest democracy’ to great effect. In doing so, she walks a fine line between presenting contemporary, voraciously capitalist India with its huge inequalities of wealth, its brutal suppression of dissent and its self-aggrandi ...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
A collection of speeches with a left perspective on India. Very short with a bit of a window on the problems of Capitalism in India. I haven't read much of Roy and will have to look into her longer works. So far from the short collections, I have seen it is a pretty standard left critique with a focus on India. It gets four stars for being in the right place politically but I need to read something more substantial from her before I can really judge her ideas.
Miki Herscovici
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
God, what a manifest of unsubstantiated data and conspiracy theories. I concede, the situation in India is probably far from being any good, and inequality is definitely a huge problem, but to dump everything on capitalism? I'm sorry but this sounds very similar to the revolutionary propaganda that brought Russia 70+ years of utter misery.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Not really like anything I've read before. this essay is like if a pop political history book and a longform poem had a baby.

It was sort of all over the place, but everything evoked the same feeling and operated in the same general topic (recent Indian politics and history). Not a bad read though.
Brief and eye-opening. My main issue was that it was too short. I flipped the page for more and was like, What.

It's a collection of linked essays and she writes about complex political issues with clarity. Sometimes this can come off a little basic but it's a solid primer for people who want to know more about the politics that inform her second novel. This is essentially the nonfiction version of it.

I found the sections on the increasingly far-right Indian security state & Kashmir especially
Sarah Beaudette
May 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: india
After FINALLY reading the work of art that was The God of Small Things, I was willing to follow Roy to the ends of the earth, including a nonfiction rant about capitalism. In GoST I loved Roy's precision and economy; you leave the book with the impression that every single image might have taken her an hour to get just right. And so unique. It wasn't a swing hanging from the tree, it was two thin arms reaching down to hold hands. She makes you want to see the world the way she does.

I mention th
This was pretty damn amazing. Eye opening, enraging, informative, and well-written, Roy destroys modern India as well as subtle worldwide issues such as the creeping corporate takeovers of government and services (her takedown of the rise of NGOs is terrific and utterly depressing, and I truly did not understand the concept of corporate foundations and she elucidated that perfectly - but also left me depressed). She speaks with power and presence and writes with clearheaded anger.

My only quibble
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Arundhati Roy is a courageous and cutting writer. Although most of us know her from her Booker Prize Winning novel, I've read that her political writing is even better. I thought I would start out with this small book of essays, and the accolades are worth it. Like many political books nowadays, the facts that Roy lays out about her native India are chilling, whether she is discussing poverty, inequality, climate change, corruption or religious wars. The only failing in this book was myself, the ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a bleak polemic against capitalism, but mostly against non-profits and foreign aid in India. It is a good read, but it is more a lament than a history or analysis.
A.H. Haar
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tea Partiers and the GOP.
Shelves: essay, by-women, favorites
It is difficult for me talk about writers I like, even more so when their words are as powerful as these.

Arundhati Roy comes in with this book like a wrecking crew, but with finesse and craft. Everything I loved about her work in The God of Small Things is here, even in a non fiction politico-economic commentary. I guess what I mean is that this book, though it is about things like politics and GDP, is yet compelling and glorious to read. Even the comments in the footnotes were worthwhile.

In C
Ryan Bell
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Powerful, hard hitting description of the consequences of unfettered capitalism, combined with American-inspired imperialism running roughshod over the Indian subcontinent. Arundhati Roy is a courageous woman with an incisive insight into global inequality, its causes and solutions. Amazing collection of essays.
Naviya Singla
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
- given that my indian cbse history/pol sci education was completely useless,, this was a great introduction to some of the social/political/economic intricacies of india
- we never talk abt the lower castes, the poor, the adivasis in a way that isnt self serving to the upper middle class that dont have to deal
- side note: india's education system is fucked
- she touches on how capitalism/industrialization/militarization/nationalism all relate to each other in a way thats super accessible and stil
I was unfamiliar with much of the context of this book (definitely written around Occupy though), which I think limited my understanding. But that also means it pushed me out of my myopia and focused my vision somewhere new.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arundhati-roy
The book shows you the dystopian era that has already been dawned without our conscience, acknowledging it. Arundhati portrays a far-left view on the power that right-wing uses by the cohesion of government, military, and large co-operations. She explains how the major industrialist of India has the power to mold a story so as to support their capitalist endeavors. How the Maoists have been used by the government to put forward the corporatocracy.

She also questions Anna - Hazare's Lokpal Bill a
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Ever since the Great Depression, the manufacture of weapons and the export of war have been key ways in which the United States has stimulated its economy.”
tom bomp
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
a (sadly) very short collection of some of roy's essays on India. I'm ashamed to admit that apart from some vague knowledge of a few bits and pieces i basically knew shit about the situation in India before reading this so I'm just becoming aware of how much i don't know and can't make comments on accuracy or comprehensiveness. but it's a great introduction to some of the issues at stake. roy is a powerful and clear writer who never lets up in her criticism of the government. she's not exactly a ...more
Savir  Husain Khan
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bookends with a conclusive note, An end to cross-ownership in businesses. For example weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations, mining corporations cannot run newspapers, business houses cannot fund universities, drug companies cannot control public health funds.
Natural resources and essential infrastructure—water supply, electricity, health, and education—cannot be privatized.
Everybody must have the right to shelter, education, and healthcare.
And The children of the rich cannot inherit thei
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: india
After reading Roy's "The Doctor and the Saint" on the Ambedkar and Gandhi debate, I anticipated great things to follow. There most certainly will be, but unfortunately this is not one of them. This is a sustained diatribe on military, industrial, crony capital, foreign funding, world banking, land grabbing, strip mining, Muslim mobbing, Dalit crushing, Hindu nationalization and privatization.

Many of the issues are progressive strong points, yet the shrill tone of these essays tries one's patienc
Scott Neigh
Can't decide if I'm going to do a proper review of this or not. I had hoped it would be filled with that subset of Roy's writing that might be described as lyrical anti-capitalism, and it had a little of that, but it was mostly polemical, not quite what I was looking for, but still really powerful stuff. Some had a bit of a global perspective, while much of it was specifically about how global capitalism and resistance to it are playing out in the Indian context. I think it ...more
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
My lack of knowledge of Indian history and politics inhibited my understanding but reading this concise and passionate book I was left with two challenges. First, the power of corporate "foundations". It's a topic that I rarely consider outside of election seasons, but the global reach and influence of groups such as the Ford Foundation, Coca-Cola, and the one cropping up from India's most wealthy is extensive. Secondly, once again I'm faced with the consequences of the US's exportation of capit ...more
Govind Chandrasekhar
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I've never been sure what to make of Arundhati Roy. Anarchist? Communist? Socialist? Her talks are often driven more by empathy and less by fact. That said, considering that a lot of what she says is in direct opposition to ideas I take for granted, I decided to give her latest book a spin. I came up on the other side not with new convictions or facts, but anecdotes that make me want to explore topics like Naxalism and Kashmir in more detail. Don't bother with buying the book. Just read this ess ...more
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Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer who is also an activist who focuses on issues related to social justice and economic inequality. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays.

For her work as an activist she received the Cultural Freedom Prize awarded by the Lannan Foundation in 2002.

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