Sunday, December 22, 2013

A World Without Money

libcom.org has English translations of the first two of the three 1975–1976 French pamphlets — Un Monde Sans Argent: Le Communisme (A World Without Money: Communism) online for reading, printing or downloading. In fact these English translations have been made from a Spanish translation (Un Mundo Sin Dinero: El Comunismo). Here, the pampleteers argue that money must disappear under genuine communism:

http://libcom.org/library/world-without-money-communism-part-two-les-amis-de-4-millions-de-jeunes-travailleurs

Part Two begins:
Communism is a world without money.
Later its authors write:
Money is the bearer of a profound mystification. It conceals the original nature of the expenditure that really created the product. Behind wealth, even mercantile wealth, are nature and human effort. Money seems to produce interest, it seems to breed. The only source of value, however much it appears to derive from commerce and all the more so the more it does derive from commerce, is labor.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review in Capitalism Nature Socialism

A book review of Life Without Money has just been published online by the Capitalism Nature Socialism journal. The reviewer, David Barkin, is an economics professor at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Xochilmilco, who investigates and supports community-based economies with strong social and environmental values. David has been the reviews editor of the Review of Radical Political Economics for a very long time. Here are some excerpts of his review of our book:
Grounded in a long history of people critiquing the role of money as an instrument for social and economic denomination, this book brings together a broad range of participants, all of whom are convinced that money is a central part of the problem for reorganizing society and some of whom are actively engaged in groups attempting to function without money as it is commonly used and understood ... A useful and enlightening feature of the book is the inclusion of short vignettes at the end of all but one of the chapters by well-known advocates for the construction of alternatives, beginning with excerpts from Thomas More’s Utopia at the beginning.

While there is a surfeit of books sprouting with proposals for building alternative societies, there are a precious few that purport to be informed by strands of Marxist theory. This collection of essays offers an insight into one (decidedly not monolithic) approach to this end. It is firmly grounded in the world of the “advanced” capitalist world and draws on thinking and examples that are deliberately nonviolent and focused on small-scale change (with the possible exception of the Yugoslav case).

... this is a valuable collection of essays that will spark classroom discussions of the possibilities for implementing change without massive social movements.