Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of PostCapitalism, written and read by Paul Mason.
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, Paul Mason wonders whether today we are on the brink of a change so big, so profound, that this time capitalism itself, the immensely complex system by which entire societies function, has reached its limits and is changing into something wholly new.
At the heart of this change is information technology: a revolution that, as Mason shows, has the potential to reshape utterly our familiar notions of work, production and value and to destroy an economy based on markets and private ownership; in fact, he contends, it is already doing so.
©2016 Paul Mason (P)2016 Penguin Random House UK
Interesting thesis that is well needed for the modern leftists, and quite a healthy read even for a "neoliberal" as myself (tired of being clumped up with neocons as usual). The problem is that the narrator has frustratingly many breaks where he just quits mid sentence and starts over again.
This is the shit you get when you just leave work when it's not done because your work day is over.
Mason's overall premise is that capitalism is in crisis and is now in a position where it has to evolve into something new, due to the rise of automation and the sharing economy. He argues that capitalism is inherently unstable, especially in a time of abundance driven by the increasing importance of infinitely copyable information goods in the economy. He spends a long time (perhaps too long) seeking to understand the current situation by looking back at the 200 year history of capitalism, and its critics, particularly Marx. He also spends a good chunk of the book discussing the labour theory of value, and how it relates to an economy where less and less work is done by humans. He finally moves on to outlining a programme for the future, including positing the introduction of a universal basic income to ease the transition from capitalism to postcapitalism.
All in all, a very interesting listen. It's easy to find things to agree with and to disagree with in this book but Mason's enthusiasm and style had me coming back for more. I wish he'd spent a bit more time on the future, and bit less time on the past; every time he seemed about to start talking about the future he seemed to get distracted by putting it in its place the historical context of the Left.
Mason's narration is very good, but a minor niggle that spoiled an otherwise enjoyable listen is that the final product is really badly edited; there are lots of places where the narrator retakes a line that are left in the final audiobook.
Having listened to a few books now relating to economics I found some of Paul's insights well worth considering particularly his sound critique of neoliberalism.
"Edit the narration!!!"
While the content is highly interesting, and while Mason's voice is nice to listen to, the publisher had not edited the audio narration so that the reading is full of repetitions.
"Fantastic book, well read, terribly edited."
Fascinating and enlightening book, beautifully read by its author - let down by countless bloopers and repeats missed by the editing process.
"Lots of editing errors"
I've only just started this book, and while it is promising there are lots of editing errors. Paul Mason is a good reader but at several points he stumbles on a word and restarts the sentence. These should have been edited out, as they really break the experience of listening to the book.
"Book good but editing poor."
Book is good but editing is poor and they have left in a lot of the mistakes and retakes. It gets annoying.
"A bit speculative"
A mixture of historical narrative combined with some techno-future predictions.
As a historical narrative it is just one of many and history is full of different interpretations.
The techno future predictions is that the cost of everything will become zero as the productivity becomes infinite and capitalism ceases to exist. Everything becomes free.
This is on the basis of information being paramount, and as it doesn't wear out and lasts forever e long term cost of it tends to zero
There are only few examples of post capitalism, such as Wikipedia, open source software and the like.
The counter arguments are that software constantly evolves. Most of the free software is sponsored by corporations e.g. Mozilla gets around 600m from Google, oracle sponsors Java . The state pays the wages of academics who write articles for Wikipedia etc. This only covers information based how is this going to translate into free for physical product ?
The ideas may be relevant in a few cases, but as a revolutionary movement I think they are flawed
That's not to say that there are no problems in capatilism. This is the part I do strongly agree with, and neoliberalism is seriously flawed itself. But the solution is to get rid of financialisation, monopolies and exploration and ensure that there is a free information commons, although that's also the remedy that PM offers. I other words, I agree on the direction, just not the eventual outcome.
"Amazing historical context and vision for a post-capitalist world"
The amount of research, knowledge and vision poured into this work is astonishing. Following the audio book I purchased the paperback for the references and to be a reference work. (I've also ordered a copy of Red Star!)
Some editing issues, but they don't detract too much from the flow of this wide-ranging and highly engaging book. Well done Paul Mason.
"Embracing technology to further humanity"
Brilliant. An visionary outline of how humanity can prosper outside of a failing economic system.
Great, insightful book. Recording could use with some editing of mistakes as there are a fair amount of recording errors.
"enlightening map into a better future"
Enjoyed it thoroughly although this version includes reading errors by the author, thought these would be edited out as it's a bit distracting.
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