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For years, we’ve been taught that capitalism is good for freedom. Dominant right-wing commentators claim that markets free us, and this view still dominates education and politics. However, in Capitalism vs. Freedom, Larson puts big business under a microscope, debunking libertarian economics while demonstrating that the marketplace has its own great centres of power, which the libertarian tradition itself claims is a limit to freedom. Larson illustrates how capitalism fails both this and other concepts of human liberty, not just failing to establish a right to a share of society’s production, but also leaving us subject to the power plays of political and corporate elites which are increasingly becoming one and the same.
That global economic, political, social, and environmental systems are disintegrating is scarcely in doubt. Inequality is on the rise as resources are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Even in the West, children now born can expect to be poorer than their parents. The era of ever-increasing prosperity is coming to an end. Conventional energy sources are running out while renewables fail to plug the gap. Climate change is making vast swathes of the Earth – such as the Middle East – increasingly uninhabitable for millions who have two choices – move somewhere else or die. Mass migration continues to drive social conflict. Fundamentalism is resurgent. Donald Trump and Brexit are just two of the most obvious signs of cascading collapse. The kaleidoscope has been shaken, the pieces are in flux, a new world is coming. The question simply remains – what, if anything, can we do about it?
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