Studies in Mutualist Political Economy

The third in my paperback reprint series at is Kevin Carson’s Studies in Mutualist Political Economy. I think I improved on the original edition’s cover art — I’m getting better at it — and my version is cheaper than the one at Amazon.

How do I like the book? Carson shoves the invisible hand of subjective utility so far up the puppet head of the labor theory of value that its googly (but socially necessary) eyeballs bug out. I find it hard to think of his “labor” theory of value as anything other than a subjective utility theory, expressed unnecessarily in terms of labor.

But these are provisional judgments, and I’m not done with the book. I might have more to say about it later.

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3 thoughts on “Studies in Mutualist Political Economy

  1. Thanks for the effort of reformatting this, Jason. I’m in process of downloading it with my dialup connection, so I’ve yet to see how it differs. The cover illustration is beautiful, although I lack the art history chops to identify it.

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    • @Kevin Carson,

      Thank you! Some shop talk about the formatting:

      First, I had great difficulty with line breaks. I worked from the PDF and did what I could to remove the extras, but I am finding that I didn’t catch all of them. Nor could I find an easy way of differentiating between double line breaks that introduce new paragraphs and those that don’t. The result is that I have WAY more paragraphs in my version, many of which are clearly inappropriate.

      I also found the italicized passages to be visually less than pleasing. I’d prefer blockquotes, but this would take a while to do properly, and I wanted to read the book first rather than format it as I went.

      There are a few other faults to the edition, which I acknowledge in a note at the front, but I am continuing to read with great interest. My dig above isn’t meant by any means to be my last word on the book’s content. I peeked ahead, and I’m more excited about the later chapters.

      The cover depicts Walter Crane’s Midas’ Daughter Turned to Gold of 1893. I understood the symbolism to be appropriate, and I’ve not been disappointed on that.

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  2. Spaces seem to be one of those things that don’t translate very well across format changes. I actually used block quotes, but also italicized all quoted material; I was influenced at the time by the Anarchist FAQ’s stylistic practices. Your reaction to my treatment of the LTV — that I’ve modified it so much as to abandon its essence — is a fairly common one. In defense, I guess I’d just say that subjective utility and the laws of supply and demand played a much bigger role in the classical political economists’ understanding of the law of value than they put across; the subjective mechanism was implicit in it.

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