LBJ Professor Raj Patel releases interdisciplinary book on effects of capitalism | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 12, 2017 — Nature, money, work, care, food, energy and lives, and how these seven things have shaped our world and its future are the focuses of a new book by Raj Patel, a research professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. The book, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet, is co-authored by Jason W. Moore, an associate professor at Binghamton University and coordinator of the World-Ecology Research Network.

Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles and rebellions and uprisings, Patel and Moore argue that throughout history, crises have always prompted fresh strategies to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism. Taking an interdisciplinary look at the effects of capitalism on the seven key aspects of the modern world, the authors demonstrate that in making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed and devastated earth, from hyper-exploitation of labor to racism to climate change. Patel and Moore propose a radical new way of understanding and reclaiming today's planetary emergencies.


"In offering the idea that behind every factory there's a farm, mine, bank and family, we wanted to show that there's a hidden world — and hidden struggles — that can help people understand and feel more powerful in these uncertain times." —Raj Patel

"We wanted to create a book that was both rigorous enough for one of the nation's top academic presses, but written accessibly enough that general readers could use it to connect the dots between diet related disease, Elon Musk's colonial mission to Mars, and the financial crisis," said Patel. "In offering the idea that behind every factory there's a farm, mine, bank and family, we wanted to show that there's a hidden world — and hidden struggles — that can help people understand and feel more powerful in these uncertain times."

Patel is an award-winning writer, activist and academic. In addition to his role at the LBJ School, Patel is a senior research associate at Rhodes University. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing.

Moore is the author of several books, including Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital and numerous award-winning essays in environmental history, political economy and social theory.

The book is published by University of California Press.

Fall Book Tour

Oct. 11, Seattle: Town Hall Seattle (Raj Patel)

Oct. 12, Bay Area: Commonwealth Club, Silicon Valley (Raj Patel)

Oct. 13, Bay Area: The Bindery/Booksmith (Raj Patel)

Oct. 14, Bay Area: Revolutionary University, Oakland (Raj Patel)

Nov. 4–5, Austin: Texas Book Festival (Raj Patel)

Nov. 7, New York: The Graduate Center, CUNY Public Seminars (Jason W. Moore)

Nov. 9, New York: 92nd St Y, (Raj Patel, Jason W. Moore and Sarah Jaffe)

Nov. 10, Brooklyn, NY: The Brooklyn Commons (Jason W. Moore)