Commodity : The Global Commodity System in the 21st Century book cover
1st Edition

The Global Commodity System in the 21st Century

ISBN 9780367606633
Published June 29, 2020 by Routledge
114 Pages

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Book Description

The 21st century marks a watershed in the history of the human economic condition. Income and wealth inequalities are now greater than ever before – and their role in the global financial crisis is one of the burning issues of today.

Commodity looks at the great financial crisis from an entirely original perspective – that of the global commodity system as a newly operational totality. In the 19th century, the commodity system as defined by Karl Marx was limited to a few regions and embraced only the labour and capital capacities and their outputs. By the end of the 20th century, it encompassed the entire planet and embraced government capacity as well as private capacities, financial securities and material goods and services. This book shows how the financial crisis and its causes can only properly be understood as a result of this vast, unprecedented extension of the commodity system – a system which benefits the rich. The author makes the watertight case that it is only through the creation of a global tax authority – to coordinate national tax regimes and to implement a tax on global wealth – that we can avoid another crisis and create a fairer and more equitable world.

Addressing a broad range of themes, Commodity offers a new perspective which will be of interest to political economists as well as researchers specialising in other related fields of social enquiry. Written in a clear and engaging way, the book’s concise nature also makes it accessible for the non-specialist reader, and it will especially appeal to all those who want a more just society.

Table of Contents

Preface,  1. Structure.  2. Genesis.  3. Operation.  4. Crisis.  5. Control.  Appendix.  Bibliography.  Index

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Photis Lysandrou is a research professor in the Department of International Politics at City University Political Economy Research Centre (CITYPERC), UK. Previously he has taught economics at City University, Greenwich University and at London Metropolitan University, where he was Lead Professor in Economics.


'Commodity is a rich and thought-provoking analysis of capitalism in the 21st century. The book grapples with the materiality of production, forms of governance and transformations in the world of finance. It contributes to the literatures on the globalisation of production, financialisation, inequality and unequal exchange, and welfare.' Victoria Stadheim, Economic Issues 

'In his excellent new book, Commodity, Photis Lysandrou deploys this method of abstraction in order to understand the heavily financialised regime of capitalism in the twenty-first century. The result is a pithy critical analysis of the ‘global commodity system’ and its various developmental tendencies. The book deftly charts how financialised capitalism rose to ascendance and how it has come to shape the world economy today.' Scott Lavery, LSE Review of Books