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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read examination of the effects of globalization., 24 July 1999
By A Customer
Question: What's the difference between Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, George Bush ... and Jack Kevorkian?
Answer: Those receiving death treatments aren't asked first. And one could add - the dying is not painless. Homelessness, poverty, pain, misery, and preventable sickness come first, and all in the name of 'market freedom.'
"The Cancer Stage of Capitalism" by Professor John McMurtry, Department of Philosophy, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, covers the history of "value programs" as well as the disciplinary methods which can either presuppose or expose them. (By a "value program" McMurtry means a locked set of unexamined principles which select against evidence which refutes it.) It is an anti-dote to the affectations of 'disciplinolatry,' and the global market wisdoms to which we are daily exposed. As a thoroughly knowledgeable examination of the economic and political determinants of the world system it provides a clear dissection of the root problems, causes and consequences for the world of globalization and neo-conservative policy. Its arguments are thorougly documented. (See also the companion: McMurtry, John, "The Global Market as an Ethical System," Toronto: Garamond, and Westport Connecticut: Kurmarian, 1998).
With a diagnostic kit-bag and an argument that is impossible to refute, this book is ideal for social consciousness raising! All those concerned with strengthening and maintaining their communities, (more generally their respective 'civil commons'), and with how to practically come to grips with the economic constitutions (e.g., NAFTA and MAI) that are being built to strengthen international corporate and financial power with consequences that weaken the life-sustaining civil commons, should read this book. Importantly, social activists and educators should make every effort to get this book into the hands of their representatives at all levels of government so they can be exactly apprised of the consequences of their actions on the citizens they ostensibly represent. With great effect McMurtry develops his argument using medical concepts which strikingly apply to social life-organization, and diagnoses a systemically life-threatening disease of social and environmental life-hosts.
Amongst other things, McMurtry updates Marx by extending the critique of capitalism to include what Marx (who lived in the heyday of the gold standard) did not and could not see -- the life-depredating logic of modern-day money-creation, debt finance and interest circuits. As well, McMurtry overcomes deficiencies in Garret Hardin's, "The Tragedy of the Commons," through a full development of the concept of the 'civil commons', by which he means socially regulated life-resources available to all members of the community (e.g., clean air and water, public education and health-care, and the regulation of money-creation itself).
Review by Dr. W. Robert Needham Director, Canadian Studies Program University of Waterloo Water;oo, Ontario
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On global illness harbingers ..., 20 Oct 2005
This review is from: The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: And Its Cure (Paperback)
John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, does not hesitate to compare the capitalism with a cancerous ulcer. The greed conducts the processes of the capital accumulations -- and will not lead to sensible, ethically acceptable investments, but causes a dying of the planet like a tumor can start the fall of a human body. There are to show a lot of short-sightedness -- from the seabed up to the ozone layer, from weapons trade to waste of fuel and medicine by few ruthless nations. To ignore these matters is similar, indeed, like ignoring growing tumors and hoping with optimism, that there never will be any need of consulting a doctor. More and more money for useless investors is demanded by capital owners, unfortunately, a mentality of "predation" would not come into disrepute at all. However, this is the effort which makes McMurtry to himself with his publications: understanding the global markets and resources as an ethical task. So McMurtry interprets some famines caused by U.S. economy sanctions -- in Cuba, Somalia, Iraq or North Korea. A hoarding of resources (to be called almost lecherously) by only few privileged ones infuriates in principle the Canadian philosopher. He stands up vehemently for an ethic, which does not consider only humane justice, but also a sudden close-out sale of our planet. In an earlier age religious authorities denied that the earth revolves around the sun, nowadays management groups steered by lobbyists deny that an economic egoism is a depressing illness. Economy policy as in a egocentric, blind rage could tip over sometime and come fast to a precipice unpleasantly. Dying by the way is not painless. The global illness harbingers are homelessness, poverty, crime, terrorism, refugee misery (from Mexico to Morocco). The morphine of not to mention it -- is like ignoring hospital, if it is needed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal book - prescient, insightful and ultimately hopeful, 7 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: And Its Cure (Paperback)
If you're anything like me you might consider "CANCER" to be "a bit much" of a metaphor to describe the global value system disorder that is most quickly described as the preference of capital growth over preservations of social life systems. However, McMurtry carefully walks the reader through an exact, sometimes very verbose, but ultimately insightful dissection (pun intended) of the market system through the lens of a medical comparison (with the help of his brother Robert, who is a medical doctor.)

The author points out that, while a medical comparison system may be stretching it a bit, in fact our medical lexicon is informed a priori by the social establishment (the word "consumption" underlines this - it being formerly the word used for Tuberculosis, because of the underlying process that ultimately undermines the body's system of operation.)

There are 5 or 6 "Ah-ha" moments per page. Do not underline the things you find insightful - you will underline the entire book.

I disagree with McMurtry on his solution - which is to put into full force the human rights and environmental rights bills we have drafted - quite clearly the predominant system prevents such behaviour - for me, as with an increasing number of people, there seems to be no solution other than the complete reorientation of global culture to one not operating on exchange, consumption and the cyclical profit economy that is the only viable solution on a planet of mostly finite resources.

A wonderful read - and highly rewarding. McMurtry will be one day remembered as the modern age's true economical philosopher.
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The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: And Its Cure
The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: And Its Cure by John McMurtry (Paperback - 20 Dec 1998)
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