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2 Beaverton Economics- General

The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy

by

The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy Cover

ISBN13: 9780312429249
ISBN10: 031242924x
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

Raj Patel's remarkable and ambitious new book asks some basic economic and political questions and comes up with surprising solutions. Patel explores ways we might more accurately value the world, arguing that our current market system is deeply flawed. The Value of Nothing is a powerful and relevant work.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Credit has crunched, debt has turned toxic, the gears of the world economy have ground to a halt. It’s now clear that the market doesn’t only get it wrong about sub-prime mortgages, it gets it wrong about everything.

We need to ask again one of the most fundamental questions a society ever addresses, and one to which very few people know or understand the answer: why do things cost what they do?

Radical, original, nimbly argued, The Value of Nothing uses some fundamental but forgotten economics and some cutting edge neuroeconomics to show how the price we pay for everything from food, to handbags, to fridges, to entertainment, is systematically distorted. After reading this book, the question 'How much?' will never just be about the price on the sticker.

Review:

"A pleasing invitation to act on our most benign impulses to create a sustainable future." Kirkus Revies

Review:

"Bracingly written and full of surprises, The Value of Nothing is itself invaluable, showing us a path out of the darkness of the economic woods." Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma

Synopsis:

Economics is about choices, but who gets to make them? Patel shows how free market fundamentalism has distorted how consumers value their world.

Synopsis:

Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved, is an activist and an academic who has been hailed as "a visionary" for his prescience about the food crisis and solutions to it.

Synopsis:

"A deeply though-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness."--Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine
 
Opening with Oscar Wilde's observation that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing," Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced.  He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place.  Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.
 
If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world's worth.  If we don't want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.
 
This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics.  While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one.  If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn't often said who gets to make them.  The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.
Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved, is an activist and academic who has been hailed as "a visionary" for his prescience about the food crisis.  Raj has worked for the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and has protested against them on four continents.  He is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Center for African Studies, an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First.
Opening with Oscar Wilde's observation that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing," Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced.  He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place.  Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.
 
If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world's worth.  If we don't want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.
 
This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics.  While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one.  If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn't often said who gets to make them.  The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.
“With great lucidity and confidence in a dazzling array of fields, Patel reveals how we inflate the cost of things we can (and often should) live without, while assigning absolutely no value to the resources we all need to survive. This is a deeply thought-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness—argued with so much humor and humanity that the enormous tasks ahead feel both doable and desirable. 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, author The Shock Doctrine

“Patels accomplishment with The Value of Nothing should not be understated. He has written what is very likely the greatest introductory economics text that has ever been written, a stunning defense of democracy, and a plausible how-to guide for the social justice activists of the next century.”—Zach Carter, YES! Magazine

“With great lucidity and confidence in a dazzling array of fields, Patel reveals how we inflate the cost of things we can (and often should) live without, while assigning absolutely no value to the resources we all need to survive. This is a deeply thought-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness—argued with so much humor and humanity that the enormous tasks ahead feel both doable and desirable. 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, author The Shock Doctrine

"As we confront the crisis in the worldview of orthodox economics, Raj Patel offers us a whole new way to think about price and value.  Bracingly written and full of surprises, The Value of Nothing is itself invaluable, showing us a path out of the darkness of the economic woods."—Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma

“With The Value of Nothing, Raj Patel has done something of great value: in language utterly clear, concise, literate, and engaging, he takes readers through the murk and mess of the economy's collapse. He shows the hows and whys, how we seem bent on a repeat (no real substantive changes to the practices that got us where we are, at the policy level), but also how we, in our communities, if not larger concerted efforts, have some power to right the course. What Raj Patel did so brilliantly with food in Stuffed and Starved, he now does so with money and the economy.”—Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company

“In this riveting eye-opener of a book, Patel dismantles with great fluidity and precision the reigning theory of the free market and its applications: how it creates in our global society deep inequalities of power, based solely on the diktat that our fundamental  needs (water, decent food, housing, health care) are worthless because not profitable, and thus leading to economic chaos and a loss of community empowerment. But there is also hope in the emergence of social groups around the world who are insisting and reclaiming ‘the right to have rights through their democratic engagement. Patel brilliantly shows us how both a fairer society and a sustainable economy are possible as long as we are willing to seize back our freedom to choose from colluding governments and corporations.  The Value of Nothing should be required reading for any self-respecting citizen of the world.”—Marie du Vaure, Vromans Bookstore

“Its only January 2010, and we already have a candidate for the most important book of the year. Raj Patels The Value of Nothing takes aim at the conservative orthodoxy that has dominated American politics and economics for the last several decades, and he scores a direct hit.”—Bill Petrocelli, Book Passage

"Patel lays bare the social, political, and environmental damage caused by free markets and the commoditization of every facet of any market society. Such commoditization allows corporations to despoil the earth for short-term profit and has encouraged at least one economist to argue that antibigamy laws restrain the economic rights of ugly people by eliminating them as second spouses in the marriage marketplace. Markets, Patel declares, are a human construct and can be overthrown by humans; social rights to political participation, democratization, and popular control over the 'commons'—air, soil, and water—offer the only viable alternative to the rape-and-pillage mentality of the market. Patel debunks the myth that markets are the perfect form of social organization, effectively arguing that the tyranny they exert can and must be replaced by strategies benefiting all humanity and ensuring our very survival. This work is written calmly and sensibly enough that it could change some readers' minds, although it will leave free-market apologists spluttering. Highly recommended."—Duncan Stewart, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Library Journal (starred review)

Video

About the Author

Raj Patel, former policy analyst for Food First, a leading food think tank, is a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies. He has written for the Los Angeles Times and the Guardian, and though he has worked for the World Bank, WTO, and the UN, he's also been tear-gassed on four continents protesting them.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Walt Ron, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by Walt Ron)
Great explanation of the 2008 Recession and great ideas to end our dependence on capitalism.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Natalie Aldern, March 23, 2010 (view all comments by Natalie Aldern)
"We know the cost of everything and the value of nothing." I have zero background in economics but Patel makes his discussion of modern markets easy to understand. The book is fascinating and uses current examples to explain why we need to reevaluate the prices we pay in order to address broader global issues. Mind blowing!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
eevans, January 7, 2010 (view all comments by eevans)
This book is needed to be 'consumed' by everyone who gives a damn about our planet's sustainability. It is pinnacle journalism and should be 'shared' knowledge worldwide. I genuinely wish Mr. Patel the best promoting his book and I will be first in line congratulating him when he comes to Portland on January 19th!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312429249
Author:
Patel, Raj
Publisher:
Picador USA
Author:
Patel, Rajeev Charles
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Nationalism
Subject:
Development - Business Development
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
Economics
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20100131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 2 bandw photos
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.28 x 6.59 x 0.77 in

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Related Subjects

Business » Business Plans
Business » Marketing
Business » Strategy
Featured Titles » Staff Picks
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Economics » Global Economics
History and Social Science » Politics » General

The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Picador USA - English 9780312429249 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Raj Patel's remarkable and ambitious new book asks some basic economic and political questions and comes up with surprising solutions. Patel explores ways we might more accurately value the world, arguing that our current market system is deeply flawed. The Value of Nothing is a powerful and relevant work.

"Review" by , "A pleasing invitation to act on our most benign impulses to create a sustainable future."
"Review" by , "Bracingly written and full of surprises, The Value of Nothing is itself invaluable, showing us a path out of the darkness of the economic woods."
"Synopsis" by , Economics is about choices, but who gets to make them? Patel shows how free market fundamentalism has distorted how consumers value their world.
"Synopsis" by ,
Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved, is an activist and an academic who has been hailed as "a visionary" for his prescience about the food crisis and solutions to it.
"Synopsis" by ,
"A deeply though-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness."--Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine
 
Opening with Oscar Wilde's observation that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing," Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced.  He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place.  Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.
 
If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world's worth.  If we don't want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.
 
This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics.  While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one.  If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn't often said who gets to make them.  The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.
Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved, is an activist and academic who has been hailed as "a visionary" for his prescience about the food crisis.  Raj has worked for the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and has protested against them on four continents.  He is currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Center for African Studies, an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First.
Opening with Oscar Wilde's observation that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing," Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced.  He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place.  Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.
 
If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world's worth.  If we don't want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.
 
This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics.  While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one.  If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn't often said who gets to make them.  The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.
“With great lucidity and confidence in a dazzling array of fields, Patel reveals how we inflate the cost of things we can (and often should) live without, while assigning absolutely no value to the resources we all need to survive. This is a deeply thought-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness—argued with so much humor and humanity that the enormous tasks ahead feel both doable and desirable. 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, author The Shock Doctrine

“Patels accomplishment with The Value of Nothing should not be understated. He has written what is very likely the greatest introductory economics text that has ever been written, a stunning defense of democracy, and a plausible how-to guide for the social justice activists of the next century.”—Zach Carter, YES! Magazine

“With great lucidity and confidence in a dazzling array of fields, Patel reveals how we inflate the cost of things we can (and often should) live without, while assigning absolutely no value to the resources we all need to survive. This is a deeply thought-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness—argued with so much humor and humanity that the enormous tasks ahead feel both doable and desirable. 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, author The Shock Doctrine

"As we confront the crisis in the worldview of orthodox economics, Raj Patel offers us a whole new way to think about price and value.  Bracingly written and full of surprises, The Value of Nothing is itself invaluable, showing us a path out of the darkness of the economic woods."—Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma

“With The Value of Nothing, Raj Patel has done something of great value: in language utterly clear, concise, literate, and engaging, he takes readers through the murk and mess of the economy's collapse. He shows the hows and whys, how we seem bent on a repeat (no real substantive changes to the practices that got us where we are, at the policy level), but also how we, in our communities, if not larger concerted efforts, have some power to right the course. What Raj Patel did so brilliantly with food in Stuffed and Starved, he now does so with money and the economy.”—Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company

“In this riveting eye-opener of a book, Patel dismantles with great fluidity and precision the reigning theory of the free market and its applications: how it creates in our global society deep inequalities of power, based solely on the diktat that our fundamental  needs (water, decent food, housing, health care) are worthless because not profitable, and thus leading to economic chaos and a loss of community empowerment. But there is also hope in the emergence of social groups around the world who are insisting and reclaiming ‘the right to have rights through their democratic engagement. Patel brilliantly shows us how both a fairer society and a sustainable economy are possible as long as we are willing to seize back our freedom to choose from colluding governments and corporations.  The Value of Nothing should be required reading for any self-respecting citizen of the world.”—Marie du Vaure, Vromans Bookstore

“Its only January 2010, and we already have a candidate for the most important book of the year. Raj Patels The Value of Nothing takes aim at the conservative orthodoxy that has dominated American politics and economics for the last several decades, and he scores a direct hit.”—Bill Petrocelli, Book Passage

"Patel lays bare the social, political, and environmental damage caused by free markets and the commoditization of every facet of any market society. Such commoditization allows corporations to despoil the earth for short-term profit and has encouraged at least one economist to argue that antibigamy laws restrain the economic rights of ugly people by eliminating them as second spouses in the marriage marketplace. Markets, Patel declares, are a human construct and can be overthrown by humans; social rights to political participation, democratization, and popular control over the 'commons'—air, soil, and water—offer the only viable alternative to the rape-and-pillage mentality of the market. Patel debunks the myth that markets are the perfect form of social organization, effectively arguing that the tyranny they exert can and must be replaced by strategies benefiting all humanity and ensuring our very survival. This work is written calmly and sensibly enough that it could change some readers' minds, although it will leave free-market apologists spluttering. Highly recommended."—Duncan Stewart, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Library Journal (starred review)

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