1st Edition

Dying for Capitalism How Big Money Fuels Extinction and What We Can Do About It

By Charles Derber, Suren Moodliar Copyright 2023
    260 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This is an original, accessible book for scholars, students, activists, and the general public on the greatest crisis the world has faced. The authors challenge the widespread notion that a green and peaceful set of technological reforms in the current economic and political system – perhaps a “green capitalism” – can prevent disaster. Dying for Capitalism analyzes the “triangle of extinction” that links capitalism, environmental destruction, and militarism as a system that cannot sustain life on the planet. The authors analyze how the extinction triangle evolved historically, how it functions globally as integral to the world capitalist order, and how the United States has become the dominant “extinction nation.” They also show how recent anti-democratic and anti-scientific cultural and political forces intensify denial of the threat and subordinate health and survival to profit and extreme concentrated power.

    The book offers a “slender path” of social and political transformation that can prevent catastrophe. The path requires moving beyond current ruling systems. But possibilities of survival arise from action at local, state, regional, and global levels through multiple strategies and movements that already exist. The authors draw on the history of abolitionism and emancipation from slavery in the United States to show how a system that appears unchangeable can be transformed, while describing organizations, movements, and practices that are models of hope and a shift from the triangle of extinction to the “circle of creation.”

    Introduction - The Greatest Emergency of All Time  PART I - The Hidden System of Extinction  1 The Extinction Triangle: Capitalism, Environmental Destruction and Militarism  2 Is Capitalism Too Hot? Corporate Capital, Power, and Climate Change  3 Plague for Profit: Capitalism and Pandemic  4 Bloody Money: Capitalism, War, and the Doomsday Machine  PART II - The US and Extinction  5 America’s “Extinction Exceptionalism”  6 Molecules of Freedom? America’s Climate of Exceptionalism  7 Inconvenient Truths: Systemic Roots of US COVID-19 Failure  8 America the Not-So-Beautiful: The US Doomsday Machine  PART III – The Slender Path to Survival  9 Lessons & Inspiration from the Abolitionists  10 Front for Survival: Movements, the State, & Public Goods


    Charles Derber is a Professor of Sociology at Boston College and a noted public intellectual who has written 25 books, including several best-sellers reviewed in the NY Times, Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and other leading media. His books include Welcome to the Revolution, Sociopathic Society, Corporation Nation, People Before Profit, The Pursuit of Attention, The Wilding of America, and Greed to Green. With Suren Moodliar, he is a co-editor of the Routledge book series Universalizing Resistance. Derber, a life-long activist, has done hundreds of radio, television, internet, and film interviews by prominent media and commentators.

    Suren Moodliar is a scholar and activist who helped found and manage encuentro5, a movement-building center in Boston. He is also managing editor of the journal, Socialism and Democracy. He is co-author of A People’s Guide to Greater Boston (2020). He also co-edited and contributed to Turnout! Mobilizing Voters in an Emergency (2020) with Charles Derber and Matt Nelson, and to Internationalism or Extinction (2020) and Chomsky for Activists (2021) with Charles Derber and Paul Shannon. In the 1980s, Suren supported the national liberation movement in his home country, South Africa. He has also participated in public health, peace, solidarity, and pro-immigrant movements and labor organizations.

    "In digestible and elegant prose, easy to read and exciting to absorb, Derber and Moodliar show brilliantly how runaway capitalism, climate change and militarism (with its nuclear threat) create the perfect storm that threatens human survival. With many ah-ha moments, they make an urgent call, based on solid evidence, for a 21st century movement to abolish carbon emissions and nuclear weapons, taking inspiration from the movement to abolish slavery. They make the impossible seem not only possible, but essential. Read it and jump into the movement waters that will nourish your soul and might just save the planet." 

    --Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Code Pink and Global Exchange, author of War in Ukraine, winner of Gandhi and Martin Luther King peace prizes

    "An eloquent call for abolition of fossil fuels and militarism, very soon. Dying for Capitalism is carefully reasoned and informed, spelling out what we can and must do, without delay."

    -- Noam Chomsky, University of Arizona, Emeritus Professor, MIT

    "Our planet Earth lies in the tightening grip of giant corporatized destruction with no firm stop signs. Derber and Moodliar deliver the indictment and verdict in many dimensions, showing the urgency of universalizing the resistance beyond protest and demands. They call for nothing less than unified action, propelled by the younger generation towards displacing corporatism and militarism with transformative structures taking ever deeper roots. This motivating book, marked toward the survival of all species, should be in every high school and college classroom."

    -- Ralph Nader, author, activist and consumer advocate

    "This must read cogent book dissects the interconnected systemic crisis bringing us to the brink of extinction.  Dying for Capitalism illuminates the threads of the poly-crisis driven by extractive capitalism, ecological destruction, and entrenched militarism. Read it and weep –and then roll up your sleeves and engage." 

    -- Chuck Collins, co-editor, Inequality.org at the Institute for Policy Studies; author, Altar to an Erupting Sun

    "This book is original and essential reading. As this and upcoming generations contend with a web of existential, hand-me-down crises, Dying for Capitalism reveals root causes and solutions. I will be assigning this book to my students as a major resource for navigating the political and grassroots community work that is now both their burden and charge."  

    -- Jonathan White, Associate Professor of Sociology, Bentley University

    "Few could be free so long as what 19th century abolitionists called "The Slave Power" remained standing. Derber and Moodliar call us to face up to today’s abolitionist task with the courage of our forebears, and lay out a series of original and urgent strategies."

    -- Ben Manski, Assistant Professor of Sociology, George Mason University