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No Local: Why Small-Scale Alternatives Won't Change The World Paperback – 27 Apr 2012

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (27 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846946719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846946714
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 1 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 752,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Greg Sharzer is a PhD candidate, activist and writer.


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Format: Paperback
Greg Sharzer is a Marxist, and this diatribe against localism essentially boils down to this: localism isn't marxist enough to be useful. It is doomed to tinker around the edges. "Class struggle," says Sharzer, "is the only force that can overturn capitalism."

It's fairly predictable that a Marxist would dislike localism, since they are almost opposite approaches. Localism is a very general set of principles, a fluid and relational idea that emphasises the practical over the theoretical. It lacks a central figure and a coherent literature. It makes it up as it goes along and believes in getting on with it. Marxism and Localism, it turns out, are pretty poorly equipped to talk to each other.

So what Sharzer does is just lump everything together, and that means lots of generalising. `Localists' think this, he will say, and then quote Barbara Kingsolver or Bill McKibben. If one person is utopian, all localists are utopian, or Malthusian, or middle class snobs. This is rather wearing, heckling a caricature of `a localist' in the absence of a defined movement.

Unhelpfully, Marxism has a category for that middle class do-gooder caricature. These are the `petite bourgeoisie', an intermediate class between the workers and the rulers who believe they can make progress as individuals and won't commit to the revolution. Localism is a petit bourgeois philosophy because it avoids conflict, believes in the small scale and most importantly for Sharzer, it is individualist. Except that it isn't. The localists I know are passionate believers in community. Still, Sharzer ploughs on, asking bizarre and patronising questions like "why do localists want their shopping trips to include personal conversations?" (Because they're lonely in their petit bourgeois world, obviously.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x95630ce4) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x941609c0) out of 5 stars Speaking truth to the impotent 7 Jun. 2013
By Drake Donegal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Finally! This book is a breath of fresh air in midst of the encroaching stench of "vote with your feet" garbage being widely promoted. Like charitable donations, consumer choices do no more than make the person making them feel a little better about themselves. The global system of capitalism, based on the exploitation of human beings and the degradation of the natural environment, not only goes on but integrates this "ethical shopping" into its paradigm, helping to prop it up even longer. The only real solution is to be found in an international confrontation between the system (and its managers) and the majority of humanity.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x944aa510) out of 5 stars The socialist perspective 10 Feb. 2013
By John F. Eden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book offers the great contribution of a socialist perspective on much of the current 'small is beautiful' theme. While not negative about what's being done, it does us the great service of revealing the weaknesses and failings in the localist movement. In an era when no one is really talking about our true problems, this book shows why socialism is really the only answer to the economic crisis as well as most of our social issues.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95638438) out of 5 stars No Local - Missing the Forest for the Trees 4 May 2013
By The GoodStudent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Okay so I want to commend Scharzer for obviously being well-versed in Marxian analysis - I can appreciate this as some of my favorite thinkers today come out of this tradition. However I am also seriously skeptical as to the value of this book as a whole. First of all, it reads like a serial critique of every major permutation of localist project and strategy out there today which seems to me just like being critical for the sake of being critical. I think there is far more nuance and diversity to the umbrella term "localism" than this book accounts for and it certainly cannot be captured in the simple division of pro-market vs anti-market localist strategies. What can I say? I have been researching localist strategies for a while now and, despite a heavy Marxist background, I do not feel these are just new incarnations of the old capitalist logic, but the necessary experiments in cultivating democracy from the bottom-up. If there will be a revolution in this century, then certainly the practical skill and intelligence of people who understand how to cooperate democratically will be important. Arguing to preserve some vague notions of big social movements based on class warfare is not a real solution and it only serves to undermine the great and interesting things happening today (I would recommend community-wealth.org as a good site to see an unbiased list of localist strategies throughout the country; political economist Gar Alperovitz is a good example of someone who has a compelling vision of how localist projects fit into the overall scheme of potential revolution, too).
6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94241ef4) out of 5 stars Serious students of peak oil need not read 11 May 2012
By aleclance - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book reads much like a watered down macro econ thesis paper - but not necessarily in a bad way. There is a lot of excellent analysis of neoliberalism, the petite bourgeois and urban agriculture, but provides very little in the way of realistic alternatives to modern capitalism. This is not a book about why localism can't be the answer to peak oil. In fact, it provides many grandiose references to Marx, McKibben and Proudhon, but offers very little new insight. This is a book about why, despite socialism being the more logical, rational approach to a modern do-more-with-less economy, capitalism will always prevail. It's an age-old story some new insight on small-scale farming and production.
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