Debt, Land and Money, From Polanyi to the New Economic Archaeology

Behind today’s ‘free market’ advocacy is the power of financial wealth to appropriate the political, fiscal and central planning role that Polanyi, Marx and other socialists hoped to see expanded in the hands of democratic government.

History Crash

My previous post offered a retrospective take on my ‘Peasant’s Republic of Wessex’ post cycle that I completed a while back. I thought I might now turn to another such retrospective, this time on my recently-completed ‘History of the world’ cycle. So I’d like to offer a few thoughts on the way we think about history, with the help of a couple of books from my recent reading.

Do Seven Cheap Things Explain the History of Capitalism?

Sadly, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things replaces concrete analysis with an artificial schema that reduces the complex organic relationship between society and the rest of nature to “cheap things.” It misrepresents or ignores ecological science. The programme it promotes is so vague that it can scarcely be called liberal.

The History of the World in 10½ Blog Posts. 10. The Current Impasse

So as I see it humanity now faces a choice. We can continue extolling the virtues of ‘development’, pin our hopes on a rapid decarbonisation of the energy system while retaining something like present levels of energy usage, and imagine that a further iteration of the capitalist economy will somehow overcome the grinding poverty that afflicts so many people in the world today. Or we could take the view that the forms of development offered by this ‘modernism’ have failed.