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Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  1,440 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
From Paul Mason, the award-winning Channel 4 presenter, Postcapitalism is a guide to our era of seismic economic change, and how we can build a more equal society.

Over the past two centuries or so, capitalism has undergone continual change - economic cycles that lurch from boom to bust - and has always emerged transformed and strengthened. Surveying this turbulent history
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 30th 2015 by Allen Lane
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Anna
Aug 29, 2015 Anna rated it it was amazing
I deliberately read ‘Postcapitalism’ quite slowly, as it deserves considerable thought. I find it striking that such a book was written by a journalist, in an engagingly journalistic style, rather than an academic or that ambiguous figure in between, a public intellectual. Although perhaps Paul Mason falls into the latter category? I’m not sure. Anyway, he isn’t an economist, and I think this book demonstrates quite clearly why that enables him to think beyond neoliberalism. As an aside, a few d ...more
Manda Scott
Sep 30, 2015 Manda Scott rated it it was amazing
There are books we want to read, books we think we ought to read, and books we need to read. This one falls in the latter category, along with Naomi Klein's 'This Changes Everything' and George Monbiot's 'Rewilding' - actually, anything by either of these authors.

Paul Mason is a man for our time. He has reported from all the major political events of the past years and can tell us what was happening behind the scenes - from the ECB's annihilation of Greece for having the temerity to vote in an
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Breakingviews
Sep 11, 2015 Breakingviews rated it liked it
By Kate Duguid

Paul Mason is that rare creature: a left-wing optimist. He isn’t mourning the death of labor power or the rise of machines. That’s because the two have converged to kill off capitalism. Well, nearly. The British journalist reckons we are close enough to a new order that he has eschewed the hyphen in the title of his new book, “Postcapitalism.”

Mason is right to question whether our current system can handle the looming prospects of climate change, long-term wage stagnation and sover
...more
Taru Luojola
Aug 09, 2015 Taru Luojola rated it it was amazing
This really was a positive external shock to my thinking, reviving my once lost interest in socioeconomical litterature by building a well-thought-out (and credibly materialitsic) bridge between historical Marxism and ahistorical ”mainstream” economics. True to the spirit of the classical critics of capitalism, the book does not just describe the world as it is and has been, but also outlines a transitional program of action out of current crises looming above humanity. Much to think of for a lo ...more
Randal Samstag
Apr 01, 2017 Randal Samstag rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Paul Mason’s 2015 book, Postcapitalism A Guide to Our Future, provides a striking visualization of a possible exit from the disasters of our current capitalist world system to something else: a more life-affirming, empathetic, creativity-fostering and fun world of cooperative progress. But before we get there, we need to manage a couple of problems that capitalism has created for us which present, as the title to Mason’s penultimate chapter suggests, a rational case for panic. And mind you, this ...more
Sarah Mansour
Oct 20, 2016 Sarah Mansour rated it it was ok
Very good effort by the author to recap our modern history and how neoliberalism came into play.
However, I wouldn't call it a Guide to Our Future as he barely ever says HOW we could do it, but merely mentions the obvious.
I gave it 2 stars as its title was very misleading.
I'd start by reading the last chapter first to see the author's point of view, but the first chapters are very interesting economic history.
Veronica Dale
May 06, 2016 Veronica Dale rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
“It hooked me at the first page!” “Ripped from the headlines!” “I couldn’t put it down!”

Hey wait a minute. Isn’t this supposed to be a review of an economics book? It is, and for me all those exclamations are true. In spite of the fact that I usually think economics is opaque and boring, I found this book to be positively riveting.

Like a lot of people, I’m worried about what’s going on in today’s world. The Arab Spring never bloomed; Occupy Wall Street petered out; the upcoming US election see
...more
Jolien
Jan 12, 2017 Jolien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read! And my first non-fiction book of the year. I do think that this was kind of hard to get through at times (especially when it became very history-heavy) but it brought up so many interesting ideas. I know I'll be thinking about this for a while.
Todd
Apr 16, 2016 Todd rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was utter drivel. The author has no understanding of Marxism and incredibly premises much of his theory on a notion of "long-term" economic cycles; a fit-the-regression approach that offers no insight to understanding the complex relationships embodied in economies. I'm surprised he didn't commence his cyclical approach with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. It's fascinating that bogus scholars such as Mr. Mason fit their own analyses to the brief data sets that they cite. Don't w ...more
Bellish
"It is absurd that we are capable of witnessing a 40,000-year-old system of gender oppression begin to dissolve before our eyes and yet still seeing the abolition of a 200-year-old economic system as an unrealistic utopia."

I rather enjoyed Postcapitalism for the potted history of left-wing thought, the use of "bullshit jobs" as a technical term, and the thought that if someone can find the political will we could find ourselves basically living in Star Trek. Viva la revolución.
Elling Borgersrud
Sep 05, 2015 Elling Borgersrud rated it really liked it
Ja, dette er veldig bra. Grunndig og vitenskapelig. Jeg tror kanskje det er en klassiker.
Når det er sagt, så er jeg uenig med den et par steder, det skulle vel nesten bare mangle..? Men jeg trur det er et veldig bra utgangspunkt for å diskutere økonomi og framtida. Også er den positiv og litt optimistisk, hvor de fleste venstresidebøkene om framtida ikke er så... hehe... lystige, for å si det sånn ;-)
Det er nok årets store anbefaling for raddisser, altså.
Vuk Trifkovic
Jun 26, 2016 Vuk Trifkovic rated it it was ok
Not bad, but eventually overreaching. Feels a bit rushed. The main problem is that it totally and utterly fails to explain the lynchpin on which his argument rests. You can't just say "Wikipedia" and be done with it...
Kirk Houghton
Sep 13, 2015 Kirk Houghton rated it really liked it
Left-wing politics has lost all credibility in economic science since the victory of Free-Market Capitalism post-1989. Turning their attention to environmentalism, human rights, social justice and anti-austerity, socialists of today do not question the basic premise that private property and a market system for the distribution of goods are indispensable to economic growth; the only question is to what extent the state should temper its excesses. But in the last year distinguished economists hav ...more
Leftbanker
Nov 17, 2016 Leftbanker rated it it was amazing
This ranks up there among the “must read” books that help to explain exactly where we stand in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. This was a brilliant snap-shot of economic history by a thoroughly knowledgeable leader in this field. To even suggest that we can charge full speed ahead with the same neo-liberalism strategy of unregulated markets and unchecked free trade is completely insane. I’m not sure that capitalism has a finite lifespan as he suggests but I certainly enjoyed reading hi ...more
Antonio De la rosa
Jun 09, 2017 Antonio De la rosa rated it really liked it
This is a remarkable book. It has been a long and sometimes arduous read. For my efforts I have learned much about the history of capitalism (approached by the author from many different angles and voices).

My understanding of the current state of affairs economical, political and social, was fragmented and emotional. After reading this book it stays emotional but I have a coherent story about how we got where we are.

The author furthermore names and places rightly all the major blocks of our puzz
...more
Sara
Feb 25, 2017 Sara rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book's blend of history and economics. It was a valuable read. However, calling the book 'A Guide to Our Future' is a little generous. The book illuminates a lot about what we can or cannot learn from our past, but the 'guide to the future' isn't spelt out beyond a gist that requires a good deal of imagination to fill in. In that case, it is probably a realistic 'guide to our future,' but definitely not a handy playbook for activists and policy-makers.
Nick Turner
Aug 19, 2015 Nick Turner rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
Capitalism is emerging from possibly its greatest challenge. The collapse of the banking system and a recession which threatened a depression seem to have scarily dented its armour. So when Channel 4’s economics editor pops up, fresh from dodging tear gas in Syntagma Square, with a book telling us we are on the dawn of a post capitalist age the first thought that springs to mind is that Mason has ‘done a Fukuyama’ and badly misread history.


Mason’s thesis is that advances in technology will incr
...more
Mick Kelly
Aug 01, 2016 Mick Kelly rated it really liked it
A must-read view of economic history and our economic future.

Though I have a lot of points of disagreement with the author, I still think this is an important book that will give any reader the impetus to question many of the assumptions that underlie the politics of the current model of economics - for economics is really just a branch of politics.

My background is in hard science. I did Astronomy for my first degree and Computing for my masters - so I find the 'hand-waving' pretend maths of e
...more
Darran Mclaughlin
Dec 30, 2016 Darran Mclaughlin rated it it was amazing
A superb book, extremely well written and researched and very thought provoking. Mason's argument is complex and I don't think a single reading is enough to fully digest it.

I just read five reviews of this book in various newspapers and magazines to understand his argument better and see what criticism it has generated. None of the critiques were very good, and I think most of Mason's arguments are strong. The reviews all massively oversimplify his arguments and don't engage with much of what h
...more
R.A. Forde
Apr 29, 2016 R.A. Forde rated it really liked it
This is not a totally easy read, as the material it covers is quite difficult. Having said that, anyone who can maintain my interest through this much economic history (and I started with almost none) has done very well. Mason's ideas are provocative in places, but also follow a lot of the logic of modern life. For example, he is completely right to say that capitalism is based on the idea of scarcity, and that many products in the 21st century are information, which can be copied and transmitte ...more
Ruth
Jul 18, 2015 Ruth rated it really liked it
I recommend this book, in spite of its one enormous shortcoming. It's called "a guide to our future," and the recommendations or predictions for the future constitute the written equivalent of vague handwaving. Mason seems to want to provide a positive vision of an alternative to the sure destruction we face from neoliberal economic policy, yet he only succeeds in persuading me that we are in really big trouble. His belief in new forms of sharing information is fuzzy, hard to summarize.

I'm also
...more
Stephen
Feb 04, 2016 Stephen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Mason's optimism and clarity are enviable, though I ultimately found his outlook a little too rosy. His basic argument is that as we move into a world characterized by the sharing of information, which he argues tends to bring cost down to zero (I'm shamefully simplifying his argument), the regular patterns of capitalism (which he contends, per the Russian economist Kondratieff, last in roughly 50 year cycles of boom and bust) will be disrupted. So, basically, the argument is for a technological ...more
Александр Шушпанов
Не так уж часто я говорю о книгах с использованием выражения "продрался сквозь" - здесь же то самое выражение. Единственное, о чём надо сказать - это не вина автора, скорее, моя общая погружённость в прочие вопросы и лёгкий осенний спад активности - а до моей витаминной бомбы ещё месяц.

Собственно, это - самая ожидаемая мной книга года и она же стала определённым разочарованием. Ощущение повторения повторения. "Они собрались в старой бане, надели запонки и гетры и застучали в стену лбами, считая
...more
CarolynKost
Jun 14, 2016 CarolynKost rated it liked it
This is a thought provoking book about the ways that the economy is changing. Naturally, it's difficult to understand transitions while they are happening, but Mason helps us to see it through at least his lens. Even if the reader were disposed against the abundant history and economic theory here, there is enough intriguing information here to glean. “There is a growing body of evidence that info tech, far from creating a new and stable form of capitalism, is dissolving it: corroding market mec ...more
Martin Dubeci
Nov 01, 2016 Martin Dubeci rated it it was ok
Paul Mason je bývalý ekonomický reportér BBC. Dobré reporty robil, rád som ho pozerával, počúval, tak keď sa dostala von táto kniha, povedal som si super. No žiaľ, asi všetko čo bolo dusené popularizáciou sa dostalo do tohto textu. Klasický na Tatcherovej odchovaný odpor k neo-liberalizmu v kombinácii s fascináciou s marxistickými štrukturálnymi vysvetleniami ekonomických cyklov a histórie (to všetko v zbytočne zdĺhavom rozprávaní). Teda to je všetko fajn, nič proti tomuto prístupu, ale od knihy ...more
Joma Palana
Aug 09, 2015 Joma Palana rated it it was amazing
This is an intriguing book with an intriguing proposal: A post-capitalism world based on information technology, which envisions a world of abundance and (almost) free goods. Capitalism in its present form (neo-liberalism) is in crisis and post capitalism (which the author claims is Marxism correctly applied) is the lasting alternative. As technology enables more automation, and the state guaranteeing basic income, it will now be possible to separate work from wages, thus freeing people to work ...more
Luke Edward
Apr 10, 2016 Luke Edward rated it liked it
Although I am not convinced of his underlying thesis, the author makes some very interesting observations regarding the economic and social effects of information on our society. His most compelling arguments in my opinion are those grounded in long wave theory (though much of Wall Street agrees we are in a deleveraging period, so the conclusion is not novel in its entirety) and those referring to the failure of conventional economic measures such as per capita GDP at calculating the effects of ...more
Michelle Tran
Nov 05, 2016 Michelle Tran rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern, politics
I had already been familiar with Paul Mason from watching some of his interviews in support of basic income. This book gives a good overview about the history behind neoliberalism and the historical context of labour economics (Marx et al.). I had wanted a bit more insight into how we get to a postcapitalistic society, but he mostly proposed ideas of Lenin contemporaries and/or related it to the transition between feudalism and capitalism (hint: one theory of the increase in valuation of labour ...more
Melinda
Nov 22, 2016 Melinda rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant book. So much research. So well written. I have no idea if this book answers any questions really - but at least he is asking the right questions.

This book is basically asking us whether capitalism can continue. And if it can't- what's next, how do we get there, what's the transition, what will need to change.

Really this book is thought provoking. It makes you question your nice comfy middle class existence. It challenges the reader to think outside their comfort zone. You may
...more
Dylan
Apr 18, 2016 Dylan rated it liked it
I appreciate the effort here, but I Mason's writing style is a bit too much like surfing the internet. Hops from one thing to another, often assuming the reader is on cue, following the same thread. There's something Toffler-esque in Mason: formulas to describe the now and predict the future; and it all has to do with the Internet, wiki-able ideas, networks, and informational access... In the end, it feels too helter-skelter and too focused on the Internet as the cause of a revolutionary new pha ...more
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Note: Paul^^Mason

Paul Mason is an English journalist and broadcaster. He is economics editor of the BBC's Newsnight television programme and the author of several books.

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“JP Morgan spelled it out: for neoliberalism to survive, democracy must fade.” 4 likes
“But why, if the real weekly value of my labour is thirty hours of other people’s work, would I ever work sixty hours?” 2 likes
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