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Customer Review

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 August 2008
It is brilliant to find this early political tract back in print once more, this edition includes a contents and index, has on the cover a picture of an angelic statue and the back a very early picture of Russell and is categorised as Philosophy / Social Commentary by the publishers [...]

Divided into two parts with an introduction, Part 1 is historical broken into 1. Marx and Socialist Doctrine, 2. Bakunin and Anarchism, 3. The Syndicalist Revolt and Part 2 labelled Problems of The Future is broken into 4. Work and Pay, 5. Government and Law, 6. International Relations, 7. Science and Art Under Socialism, 8. The World as it Could be Made.

The book is very well indexed and the reader can browse it with easy and quickly refer to chapter and verse for easy of reading or study (if you're looking for an accessible text to write an essay its a safe bet).

This book would probably prove to be an embarrassment for those who are attempting to reclaim Russell as a spokesperson for classical liberalism, the moderate alternative to militants like Hayek or Mise, because Russell staunchly affirms a variety of socialism.

The work is not an economic treatise by any stretch really, more of a political or philosophical work Russell considers Marxism, and is very perturbed by the idea of replacing the evils of capitalist monopolies with a single state monopoly, then anarchist criticism, with which he appears sympathetic but ultimately considers to be aristocratic, and then discusses syndicalism, the unions being a source of political thinking and organising at that time.

Finally Russell supports a decentralised guild socialism, considering it uniquely suited to British traditions and culture, developing organically, much like other advocates including GDH Cole did.

While its relevance is not any longer what it was it gives a great insight into the past political psyche. It is only with an appreciation of this that the impact of the destruction, death and decline of socialism for Britain can be fully understood.

I would recommend this book to any who has read Cole, anyone interested in British history and politics, not just socialist politics or history but that of the British Isles generally, or anyone who has read and appreciated George Orwell's journalism and letters or Homage to Catalonia.
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