Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

J.K. Gibson-Graham, J. Cameron and S. Healy: Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities

Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

J.K. Gibson-Graham, J. Cameron and S. Healy: Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities

Article excerpt

J.K. Gibson-Graham, J. Cameron and S. Healy

Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Communities

University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2013, pp. 222, $25

Previous publications by J.K.Gibson-Graham have challenged the principal currents of political economy that treat capitalism as an all-encompassing system. Indeed, that sort of analysis can be disempowering. Not surprisingly, people may feel overwhelmed when told that a root-and-branch transformation of an entire economic system is a prerequisite for human progress, although a minority is reliably excited by the magnitude of the challenge. For many people radicalism is more likely to grow out of their lived experience in their own communities. Simultaneously though, there is a recurrent need for need for broader understandings that provide guidance and linkages for people engaged in locally-based activities.

In this book Kathy Gibson links up with two other geographers to point some ways forward in dealing with these possibilities for developing progressive and activist politics. The book echoes the familiar theme of 'think global, act local', especially in the opening chapter where the authors posit the need for 'thinking big', 'thinking ethically' and 'thinking small'. This introduction is followed by a chapter in which the authors seek to explain the nature of economic activities, challenging the common perception of the economy as a machine and positing an alternative view of it as an iceberg, with wage-labour under capitalism as a small tip on a much bigger set of other useful and productive activities 'below the waterline'. …

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