Back to top

CAUT Bulletin Archives

June 2004

Value Wars: The Global Market Versus the Life Economy

John McMurtry. London & Sterling, Virginia: Pluto Press, 2002; 304 pp; ISBN: 0-7453-1889-4; paper $24.95 US.
The slogan "Marxism is dead" was proclaimed almost immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Very soon after, a strange ideological inversion occurred. In place of the "inevitable victory of the proletariat" espoused by Marx, there was the "inevitable process of globalisation," a line now adopted by corporations, politicians and the media the world over. John McMurtry unravels the moral contradictions inherent in this new world order, and argues that it cannot succeed because it is based on essentially inhuman values. Connecting across a broad spectrum of issues including the Iraq and Balkan wars, the Asian and Russian meltdowns, ecological collapse, the privatisation and deregulation of public institutions, and the principles of technology, neo-classical and Marxian economics, McMurtry's compelling study lays bare the battle lines of an emerging global ethical war. Tracking social uprisings across continents from the rural landless and women's movements of the South to the workers, students and civil alliances marching in the North, the author's original "life-ground ethics" explains the unseen bonds uniting people across cultural and class divisions. Defining the clear choices available to us, and taking apart the official line of "no alternative," McMurtry offers a definitive philosophical critique of the global market paradigm and a pathbreaking manifesto for global economic reform.

Quick Review produced from information supplied by publishers.