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Could alternatives to capitalism make another world possible?

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Could alternatives to capitalism make another world possible?

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Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education

For years now, those questioning capitalist managerial orthodoxy have been branded as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘utopian’.

In a new book entitled ‘The Companion to Alternative Organization’, Professor Martin Parker and Dr Valérie Fournier from the University of Leicester’s School of Management suggest that conventional business and economic models have shown themselves to be economically crisis-prone and incapable of delivering even basic economic benefits to the majority of the global population. 

Professor Parker said: “The way we organise and do business needs to be re-evaluated. The reality today is one of increasing economic inequality, both within and between nations, a deteriorating natural environment, systemic and regular financial crises, and rising levels of mental illness, stress and unhappiness, even in countries with the highest GDP. The dominant methods that we use to organise are not only failing to improve these situations; they actively contribute to making them worse.” 

Professor Parker and Dr Fournier argue that university business schools are often part of the problem, uncritically reproducing dead ideas as if it were possible to carry on doing business as usual. 

Professor Parker added: “Many business schools teach capitalism without considering the alternatives. The aim of this book is to target a wide readership and to offer alternative ideas. We shouldn’t be afraid to go against the status quo and speak out against flaws within a problematic system that dominates our daily lives. 

“The need to consider alternatives is a politically urgent current topic – with the increase of corporate gigantism ensuring that large companies hold the monopoly over smaller ones, capitalism unjustifiably generates a false idea that our current world is perfect and places significant value on consumerism whilst neglecting important issues of a social, political and environmental nature. 

“With this book we wish to issue a challenge to the established orthodoxy by offering feasible, perfectly practical alternatives that should at least be considered and discussed in serious debate.” 

‘The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization’, which was edited with colleagues from Kent State University and the Essex Business School, examines a range of alternative models for organising finance, production, distribution, exchange and consumption, explaining and evaluating them on the basis of rigorous empirical research.   

Workers self-management, consensus decision making, credit unions, fair trade, bioregionalism, gift economies and open source software movements are among the many different organisational models reviewed in the book’s 24 chapters.  

Sections on co-operatives, community currencies, the transition movement, scrounging, co-housing and much more paint a rich picture of the ways in which another world is not only possible, but is already taking shape. The aim of this companion is to move beyond complaining about the present and into exploring this diversity of organisational possibilities. 

The book is the successor to ‘The Dictionary of Alternatives’, which Professor Parker and Dr Fournier published in 2007. 

‘The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization’ is available to purchase at http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415782265/ 

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