1st Edition

Capitalism--its Nature and its Replacement Buddhist and Marxist Insights

By Graham Priest Copyright 2022
    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this third decade of the 21st century, deep problems plague our world. Many people lack adequate nutrition, health care, and education, because–while there is enough wealth for everyone to meet these basic needs–most of it is tightly controlled by precious few. Global warming causes droughts, floods, rising sea levels, and soon the forced migrations of millions of people. In this book, philosopher Graham Priest explains why we find ourselves in this situation, defines the nature of the problems we face, and explains how we might solve and move beyond our current state. The first part of this book draws on Buddhist philosophy, Marx’s analysis of capitalism, and their complementary role in explaining our present crisis and the events that led us here. In the second part of the book, Priest turns to the much harder question of how one might go about creating a more rational and humane world. Here, he draws again on Buddhist and Marxist ideas as well as some key aspects of anarchist thought. His discussion of the need for bottom-up control of production, power, ideology, and an emerging awareness of our interdependence is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of the planet and our latent capacity to care for each other.   

    Key Features

      • Explains the necessary elements of Marxist, Buddhist, and anarchist thought–no background knowledge of political theory or Buddhism is necessary

      • Shows how Buddhist and Marxist notions of persons are complementary

      • Convincingly shows capitalism’s role in creating current socio-economic problems

      • Provides an analysis of the corrosiveness of top-down power structures and why they should be eliminated in a post-capitalist state

      • Discusses capitalism’s role in war, environmental degradation, and race and gender-based oppression


      The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.


      1. Prolegomenon to Part I

      2. Some Elements of Buddhist Philosophy

      3. Some Elements of Marxist Philosophy

      4. Anātman and Gattungswesen

      5. The Elements as Complementary

      6. Farewell to Capitalism

      7. Prolegomenon to Part II

      8. Power and the State

      9. Society—from the Bottom Up

      10. A Transition Towards This

      11. Ideology, Consciousness, Education

      12. Changing Oneself

      13. Matters Arising


      Graham Priest is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center.  His books include: In Contradiction (1987, 2006), Beyond the Limits of Thought (1995, 2002), Introduction to Non-classical Logic (2001, 2008), Towards Non-being (2005, 2016), Doubt Truth to Be a Liar (2006), One (2014), and The Fifth Corner of Four (2018).

      "Although there have been a number of attempts recently to combine Buddhism and Marxism, this is the first full length systematic demonstration of how these two perspectives are complementary and can mutually supplement each other to guide the political praxis that would create a more humane world. The author skillfully inserts elements of anarchism in order to challenge the top-down political thinking that has all too often infected Marxism and presents a powerful argument for the necessity of building a bottom-up revolutionary movement that would pre-figure a post-capitalist society. Overall, the author draws on an impressive range of philosophical, psychological, and political resources to show how effective social political action requires a fundamental shift in our way of seeing and of being in the world."
      Karsten J. Struhl, New School for Public Engagement, New York, USA