The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy Paperback – 6 Jan 2011
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'Combines sociology and neuroeconomics to ask the most fundamental question of the season: why do things cost what they do?' --Prospect
`This is Raj Patel's great gift: he makes even the most radical ideas seem not only reasonable, but inevitable. A brilliant book' --Naomi Klein
`A penetrating and admirably concise guide to the follies of market fundamentalism' --John Gray, Observer
'A tightly argued and timely study that deserves to be read by anyone concerned with the state of the world today' --Tribune
`Patel offers us a whole new way to think about price and value. Bracingly written and full of surprises'
--Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma
About the Author
RAJ PATEL was educated at Oxford, the LSE, and Cornell. A former fellow at Yale and Berkeley, he now holds a Visiting Fellowship at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has worked for the World Bank, interned at the WTO, consulted for the UN, and protested against his former employers. He is one of only a few activists trusted to work with the Via Campesina peasant movement. His first book was Stuffed & Starved. www.rajpatel.org
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Top Customer Reviews
I thought I knew a lot about why the financial crisis happened, but Patel manages to sum it up quickly, entertainingly and cleverly. There were lots of bits where I found myself giggling, or saying 'wow' - like the bit about Antons Blindness, where people believe they can see but actually can't, or the discussion of how nuts 'carbon trading' is. He's got lots of great insights into why we got here, but what that this book has that others don't is what we can do to fix things.
Patel talks about 'the commons' - the idea that won the nobel economics prize this year - and he shows how we can't really carry on with the way things are at the moment. There are loads of inspirational stories from around the world, and although it doesn't seem like shackdwellers in South Africa have much in common with us, I reckon we're much closer than people think.
Definitely recommend this book. It doesn't have all the solutions to today's economic collapse, but it has all the right questions.
There's a growing consensus that conventional economics contains some very, very dubious assumptions at its core. One of the most dubious is that of `homo economicus' - the person who in any given situation will act so as to maximise their utility. Another is the Efficient Markets Hypothesis - roughly the claim that markets are `informationally efficient', that prices reflect all publically available information and instantly change to reflect new information. A lot of economic models require these assumptions to get going.
Now, I'm not exactly an economics insider, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that neither of these claims comes close to representing the world as it really exists (as opposed to as it exists in the heads of certain members of the Chicago school), and that the most interesting work within the discipline is being done by people who make contrary assumptions. Patel takes aim at both of them - especially effectively at homo economicus - and scores a number of hits. We do not, it seems, behave much like this in real life. We would be pretty horrible if we did.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit of fresh air. Profound and
entertaining and caused me rethink economics and why the system no longer works.
I have no idea which 'book' the reviewers on here have been reading (or whether they can actually read as I have obviously been subjected to a different 'book'). Read morePublished on 25 Sept. 2012 by THE TRUTH