The alternative to capitalism - Adam Buick and John Crump

The alternative to capitalism - Adam Buick and John Crump

E-book by Adam Buick and John Crump on capitalism and its revolutionary alternative.

Capitalism is an exchange economy in which most wealth, from ordinary consumer goods to vast industrial plants and other producer goods, takes the form of commodities, or items of wealth that have been produced with a view to sale on a market.

Although states have intervened in capitalism ever since it came into existence, in so far as the aim was merely to interfere with the operation of world market forces, their intervention was only at the level of the division, not the production, of surplus value. However, over the past 100 or so years, there has been a definite trend in capitalism for states to go beyond merely trying to distort the world market, and to involve themselves in the actual production of wealth by establishing and operating state enterprises.

If state capitalism is not socialism, what is? In other words, if state ownership and management of production does not amount to the abolition of capitalism but only to a change in the institutional framework within which it operates, what would be the essential features of a society in which capitalism had been abolished?

The Alternative To Capitalism - Adam Buick and John Crump.pdf399.41 KB

Posted By

Theory and Practice
Mar 12 2013 15:42



Mar 13 2013 13:27

epub PLS!!!

Mar 14 2013 03:25

Hey man, if you use a program like ABBY FineReader (Which you can get for free if you know where to look), you can covert it into word, and then into an EPUB.

Mar 19 2013 21:02

Yeah, I know, but that's kind of redundant given that the original of this book is MOBI (it sells on Amazon).

Mar 19 2013 22:16
jura wrote:
Yeah, I know, but that's kind of redundant given that the original of this book is MOBI (it sells on Amazon).

I'd be interested to know why there are so many PDFs of books when I would have naively assumed that digital books would be more easily pirated/leaked via the epub or mobi formats as they are often sold in those formats. I don't know much about this, but can you often buy PDF versions of books too? Otherwise how are these PDFs being produced?

Mar 20 2013 09:37

My impression is that some major academic and other publishers produce (or have in the past) e-books in PDF form – like Routledge with the Taylor & Francis e-Library. These get leaked and pirated. It seems that this happens with pre-production PDF's (not intended for public release as e-books), too. Then, a lot of stuff is also simply scanned, converted to PDFs and shared (sometimes it's even difficult to tell the difference between a scan and an original e-book).

Apparently not that much academic stuff (including books on marxist theory, labor history etc.) is put out as epub/mobi (apart from more the popular ones, like Harvey's The Enigma of Capital). Without consistent page-numbering (i.e. one independent from the viewer), e-books are pretty much useless for academics, and I guess the expectation from the publishers is that not many other people will buy e.g. a tome on the everyday life in a Moscow steel factory on Amazon.

Mar 20 2013 11:25

Thanks jura.

Apr 25 2013 08:02
Sep 19 2013 10:17

I noticed a review of this by the ICC in their latest edition of 'World Revolution' which makes some valid observations although I have disagreements (amongst others) with their particular 'stages' view of the transformation from capitalism to socialism/communism:

Duncan Bowie
Jan 11 2014 20:29

Review by Frank Lee published in Chartist Jan/Feb 2014

Out on a Limb
The Alternative to Capitalism
Adam Buick and John Crump
Create Space Independent Publishing Platform £7

Also available online at

Frank Lee on socialism and capitalism

This slim volume accurately describes some of Marx’s basic precepts – the labour theory of value, the commodification of production, the development money and exchange economies, the formation of classes and class struggle - as first set out in Capital, The Grundrisse and Theories of Surplus Value. It is to be hoped that soi-disant socialists will be encouraged to come to grips with the master’s critique of the standard political economy of his time (and ours incidentally). Whether this is likely to take place is a moot point, however. Given the prevalent belief on the left that socialism is some sort of extension of liberalism, and also that British socialism has more in common with Methodism that Marxism (as it is usually unread and misunderstood) I wouldn’t make any bets on it, except at very long odds. One should never underestimate the parochialism of the British left.
These facts notwithstanding the authors – who implicitly identify with the rather exotic far left of Anarcho-communism, impossibilism, council-communism, Bordigism and Situationism - do, raise some interesting points regarding socialism and capitalism. The two are regarded as being mutually exclusive, which is probably correct, especially so in the age of globalization. They argue:
‘’In today’s conditions, what both capitalism and socialism have in common is their all or nothing quality ... Capitalism does not exist within the political boundaries of single countries; world capitalism is not a collection of separately existing national capitals but a single economic unit. Capitalism only exists on the world level, as a world economic system. There is no such thing as a ‘national capitalist economy’ and there never was.’’
True enough, but where do you go from here as regards politics. The authors’ answer is unequivocal: the full programme of socialism. A moneyless, stateless, classless society based upon the production of use-values rather than exchange-value, and from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her needs. And moreover this programme to be carried out at a global level. To their credit the authors take some time detailing the everyday and administrative nuts and bolts of such a new order so cannot be accused of simply slogan-mongering and bluster.
However the notion that revolutionary social transformation on this scale can be accomplished without any type of ideological, cultural, economic and political transition seems a little out on a limb, not to say, hopelessly optimistic. But the authors are having none of it. Their riposte would be that all such transitions sandwiched between capitalism and the socialist utopia – from Fabian gradualism to Bolshevik insurrectionism – have failed, often grotesquely and catastrophically, and they certainly have a point in this respect. In practice, both Soviet communism and British Labourism were both wont to push the golden age further and further into the future, until, in the fullness of time, the whole project of socialism was comprehensively abandoned.
Revolutionary socialism is always an attractive idea, so romantic and uncompromising. However, the sort of radical change proposed has to be carefully thought out: as Max Weber once observed: ‘Politics is made with the head ...’ Regardless, therefore, of the patchy track record of actually existing socialism (or state-capitalism as it suits) a realistic approach involving an awareness of the difficulties of such a deep-going transformation of society, and the political necessity of compromise, still seems the only reasonable programme – a programme which will perforce be both gradual and total. (One can only hope that we have learned from our past mistakes.) There will be no starting from ground-zero as it is impossible to change a culture overnight. Past practice and beliefs will not be erased in such a manner, and it might be very dangerous to try. Lenin put it in a nutshell when he all but admitted that the militant atheist, Bolshevik campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church was a failure. He opined that ‘Religion is like a nail, the harder you hit it, the further it goes in.’
Utopian experimentations on the fringes of the new society in transition may be possible and even encouraged, but human consciousness is slow to change, and such changes which the authors’ envisage may take decades to accomplish.
Reservations notwithstanding, the ideas and views put forward in the book offer a very challenging read, and it is perhaps significant that publications of this sort are now beginning to make an appearance. More power to their elbow.