Capitalism: A Ghost Story – Arundhati Roy

Capitalism-A Ghost Story BY Arundhati Roy

Pure badass! This woman is hard-to-the-core in the best possible sense of the expression. Bereft of any academic dryness or pretention she cuts through like a mythical sabre wielded by a veteran warrior from some ancient fable. Honestly, the first chapter/47 pages of this book have more potency/restorative clarity truth & precision not to mention immaculate critique (the facts generally do that themselves) than half the shit on my shelf (that’s a HELL of a lot kid).

The book details & confronts overall & concentrated aspects of the modern capitalist calamity but specifically the lesser scrutinized but excruciatingly important phenomena of corporate philanthropy & corporate capture through subsidiary, funding, charity, NGO’s, compromised/cowed media & of course “development” (the bulk of her analysis is on India as a third world country under intensive development). Roy writes – “the army is experienced enough to know that coercive force alone cannot carry out or manage social engineering on the scale that is envisaged by India’s planners. War against the poor is one thing. But for the rest of us – the middle class, white collar-workers, intellectuals, “opinion makers” – it has to be “perception management” “. Roy runs through a massive codex of organizations & think tanks right from the Carnegie Institute & Rockefeller Foundation, Council Of Foreign Relations, Aspen Institute, Trilateral Commission, Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation/The Welcome Trust & of course the Ford Foundation who state that their “goals for the future of mankind” is to intervene in grassroots  networks directly. Clearly all on the same consensus they differ in how opaque, ambiguous or deceptive they present themselves & their covert subterfuge/ulterior agendas depending on which demographic they are trying to convince/misinform/prey-on & how (academia & educational institutes, a bursary/grant/pay-check, life-style accessory etc) along with their given social/political orbit. Her research & debunking is extraordinarily informative, almost paragraph for paragraph & I mean that quite literally. As Roy concludes in one section – “the corporate or foundation endowed NGO’s are global finances way of buying into resistance movements, literally as shareholders buy shares in companies, and then try to control them from within. They sit like nodes on the central nervous system, the pathways along which global finance flows. They work like transmitters, receivers, shock absorbers, alert to every impulse, careful never to annoy the governments of their host countries.” Her writing is the perfect antigen to obliterate all the obfuscational PR garbage, mendacity & sophistry that these lot use to swindle, mislead, camouflage & falsely-justify their corporate tyranny & perceptory osmosis.

Of course the land struggles, Naxalite & Nagaland rebels (probably the most overt large scale collective armed resistance against modern Capitalist state terror in the world which Roy wrote about in her previous & equally brilliant book Broken Republic) & India’s breakneck modernization are also covered along with their concomitant & horrific mass-murder & torture related strategies perpetrated by the state through the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (kill & maim at will on any suspicion with total exemption) & other military malevolence. Roy brought international attention to this diabolical infraction before, but it seems to be being stifled as much as possible in the press (including the Guardian even) & a taboo topic that gets practically no coverage even in the left-wing press (that’ll be the corporate capture in action). Later chapters go on to the prosecution & murder of journalists & activists & Kashmir specifically, but it’s the same monstrosity behind it all. I don’t think it matters what angle or area of capitalism & it’s continuing calamity interests you, this book is extremely valuable with an exquisite verisimilitude & factual precision. The total lack of bullshit, ostentation & even length (it’s only 96 pages long with medium sized print) make it for me easily the best exclusive anti-capitalist book I have read so far. Roy’s detachment, lack of literary egotism & style or strategy of letting the disaster speak for itself create an immensely powerful formula. It’s no wonder that I never saw a review of this anywhere & only came across it in a book shop by chance. An exceptional book from an exceptional mind, do yourself a favour & read a copy. Radical as fuck, apt, the way it should & needs to be.

Publisher – Verso

Author-Arundhati Roy


96 pages