£18.99 | $34.95
13 September 2012
216mm x 138mm
Development, Economics, Latin America, Politics, Sociology, Geography, Environment
Reclaiming Public Ownership
Making Space for Economic Democracy
The last few years have seen the spectacular failure of market fundamentalism in Europe and the US, with a seemingly never-ending spate of corporate scandals and financial crises. As the environmental limits and socially destructive tendencies of the current profit-driven economic model become daily more self-evident, there is a growing demand for a fairer economic alternative, as evidenced by the mounting campaigns against global finance and the politics of austerity. Reclaiming Public Ownership tackles these issues head on, going beyond traditional leftist arguments about the relative merits of free markets and central planning to present a radical new conception of public ownership, framed around economic democracy and public participation in economic decision-making. Cumbers argues that a reconstituted public ownership is central to the creation of a more just and sustainable society.
This book is a timely reconsideration of a long-standing but essential topic.
'Twenty-first century capitalism has dramatized an apparent paradox: while markets and private enterprise seem to be driving forces behind much innovation and spectacular growth (as in China and India), severe recessions and financial crises have led to major interventions by the state, including public ownership of some huge banks. This contradiction is the springboard for Andrew Cumbers' new book. His argument is controversial, but his examination of the issues shows that the great economic paradox of our century cannot be tackled adequately without overturning much dogma on both the traditional left and the free-market right.'
Geoffrey Hodgson, research professor at University of Hertfordshire Business School
'In this provocative and timely book, Andrew Cumbers makes the case not only for reclaiming but also rethinking questions of public ownership. This means going beyond those flat-footed, standardized, one-size-fits-all models that have been so thoroughly denigrated by neoliberal critics, to embrace and then work with the full spectrum of solidaristic and socially oriented alternatives.'
Jamie Peck, author of Constructions of Neoliberal Reason
'Paraphrasing, Winston Churchill suggested that capitalism is a terrible system until you consider the alternatives. He was at least (first) half right but, drawing upon a range of arguments and historical experience, Cumbers develops a wide-ranging, sophisticated and innovative riposte to the second half wrong, demonstrating the potential, even necessity, of alternatives in new forms of public ownership.'
Ben Fine, professor of economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
'In arguing that public ownership needs to be radically rethought in order to be relevant and appropriate to the global economy of the twenty-first century, Reclaiming Public Ownership manages to fit in an improbable amount of scholarly depth and rigour across its 228 pages. It is exceptionally well written throughout, and should appeal to a wide readership. [...] Without doubt [it] will provoke and inspire action on the diagnoses and proposals it makes. It will certainly inspire new thoughts, responses and critical agendas to emerge. And it is for these reasons that I recommend the book without any reserve or hesitation.'
Richard J. White, Sheffield Hallam University, for Antipode
Table of Contents
Introduction: an unexpected guest - the return of public ownership
PART ONE Public ownership and its discontents
1 Public ownership as state ownership: the post-1945 legacy
2 The neoliberal onslaught and the politics of privatization
3 Coming to terms with Hayek: markets, planning and economic democracy
PART TWO The return of public ownership
4 Financial crisis and the rediscovery of the state in the neoliberal heartland
5 Public ownership and an alternative political economy in Latin America
6 Alternative globalizations and the discourse of the commons
PART THREE Remaking public ownership
7 Remaking and rescaling public ownership
8 State ownership, deliberative democracy and elite interests in Norway's oil bonanza
9 Decentred public ownership and the Danish wind power revolution
About the Author:
Andrew Cumbers is professor of geographical political economy at the University of Glasgow. He has written extensively on the problems of uneven development in capitalist societies, responses on the left and the prospects for a more democratic and egalitarian politics. Recent publications include Alternatives to Market Fundamentalism in Scotland and Beyond, co-edited with Geoff Whittam, and Global Justice Networks: Geographies of Transnational Solidarity with Paul Routledge.
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