Book Review: Capitalism and Its Alternatives

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Capitalism and its alternative is a beneficial detailed interpretation and analysis of different approaches of capitalism and the possible alternatives. Chris Rogers draws most of his arguments from the extended Marxist traditional highlights that provide a variety of interpretations regarding capitalism and all the while parading some objective analysis followed by biting critiques. Therefore, the authors central argument revolves around the intrinsic tendencies of capitalism to combat crisis thus posing the need to create reliable alternatives that are both desirable and justified. From this case, an epic interrelation is presented between the two capitalism and alternatives with the analysis presented justifying the central idea of the author.

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Different theories and approaches to capitalism have been discussed utilizing the four most prominent economic figures who have promoted the core idea of capitalism. These legendaries are Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Friedrich Von Hayek, and John Maynard Keynes. With these four faces of capitalism Rogers has been able to theoretically and empirically characterize the nature of capitalism. Also, from these theoretical approaches, Rogers was able to engage, explore and outline the solutions that should be applied to solve capitalism related crisis. From his book Roger concludes that Hayek and Keyness capitalism approaches agree with the notion that there is a need to try and avert a future crisis by outlining outright models on how capitalism should function (Rogers, 2014). This conclusion is drawn from their responses in some of most destructive crisis on the globe with Keynes responding to the great depression and Hayek responding to the Bretton Woods system collapse.

On the other hand, both Marx and Smith offer slightly different but almost similar approaches to capitalism. Both methods provide fundamental theories related to capitalism, but unfortunately, their concerns do not outline any practical solutions to combating capitalism related crisis. Smiths theoretical approach was more on political economy view criticizing mercantilism while trying to correlate this approach with the market systems emerging in the 17th and 18th century (Rogers, 2014). Marxism criticizes Smiths political economy approach explaining that capitalism was more of a fundamental exploitation of those in the elite classes. Pointedly Rogers has extensively borrowed a lot of his critical insights from Marxs work because his view is almost similar to Marxism approach.

Consequently, Rogers analysis of capitalism and its alternatives incorporates some significant events, which outline its functionality, and the crisis that result from developing an economy on these grounds. The three major events that he analyzes are the Bretton Woods system breakdown, the recession of 2007-2008, and the Great Depression (Rogers, 2014). From these three events, Rogers ensures that by evaluating them to the capitalism theories available none of the three approaches provides an efficient long-term responsive solution except Marxism theory. He explains that each approachs response acts as a predecessor of another crisis.

Rogers points out that the capitalist nature is characterized by an inherent tendency, which buds from over dependence on reproducing and destroying living labor. Therefore, Rogers critique of the three theories derives from their inability to outline precisely the nature of capitalism and instead offer a rigid naturalized explanation on their correlation thus evading the question on how they contradict. Drawing from his critics Rogers is said to support Marxs approach to a more liberal economic theory that is more preoccupied with functionality than causation (Rogers, 2014). From this analysis, Rogers presents Marxism as a theory that inherently evaluates the systemic contradictions existing within capitalism. This is especially, of concern to the antagonized correlation between labor and capital and the problems resulting to more accumulation.

Rogerss discussion of alternative forms of combating capitalism is also drawn from analyzing the works of different people. He bases libertarianism from Robert Nozick and Hayeks work. Cooperativsm, on the other hand, is derived from Robert Owenss ideas. Lastly is socialism that is drawn from the social democracy in the 20th century. With each alternative, Rogers embarks on a critical interrogation of each economists ideas and how they have had impacts once they are practically applied (Rogers, 2014). Industrial Socialization in particular from Rogers view is the best and most practical consideration and alternative that a government can use in time of crisis no matter what ideals they have in place. With this kind of an alternative approach, the government is ascertained of economic stability during the crisis.

Different ways of resisting capitalism have been drawn from Marxists interpretation that the state cannot be an autonomous arena of society. Instead, its citizens social relationships should be the core factor reflecting on the rise and construction of a capitalist state. From these insights, Rogers creates his criticism of anti-capitalism establishing that the state should be sharp and focused on its citizens social relations (Rogers, 2014). From this analysis, they should create alternatives that are from its people's perspectives.

However, Rogers should have delved into depths on the problems related to modern networks considering that the seeds that were planted in the earlier centuries are still being integrated into the political discourses in the 20th century. In particular, movements have continually used Rogerss resistance style, which has been co-opted into the current parliament whereas it has proven to be futile in the past.

Nonetheless, reading this book has proven to be rewarding. This is especially, with the authors insistence on the importance of cultivating good social relations. Consequently, the reader can understand the nature of capitalism that is characterized by inherent crisis tendencies that could be corrected by applying as responsive solutions to capitalism persistence.


Rogers, C. (2014). Capitalism and its alternatives. London: Zed Books. Print

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