If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich?

I read a great review of G.A. Cohen’s last book, “Why Not Socialism?” by Ellen Meiksins Wood in the London Review of Books, (Vol. 32 No. 2 · 28 January 2010). I had read about him in the context of other social philosophers work, but I’d never read anything about him or his writing before. I am intrigued and want to know more, so I’ve started reading what is on the web about him.
He died last year (2009). His entry on Wikipedia is brief but interesting. Google has the introduction to “If You’re an Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich?” but only parts of the book. The New Left has a review of the same book.
From the London Review Bookstore:

Why Not Socialism?

G.A. Cohen

Ellen Meiksins Wood writes:

‘Socialism’, Albert Einstein said, is humanity’s attempt ‘to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development’, and for G.A. Cohen ‘every market … is a system of predation.’ That is the essence of his short but trenchant and elegantly written last book – Cohen died last August. His object is to make what he calls a ‘preliminary’ case – a tentative case that may, in the end, be defeated by inescapable realities – for a socialist alternative. Is it desirable, he asks, and if desirable is it feasible, to construct a society driven by something other than predation, which doesn’t answer to the ‘shabby’, ‘base’, ‘repugnant’ motivations of the market but is guided instead by a moral commitment to community and equality?


One Comment

  1. Gerald Allan “Jerry” Cohen (14 April 1941 – 5 August 2009) was a Marxist political philosopher, formerly Visiting Quain Professor of Jurisprudence, University College London and Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory, All Souls College, Oxford.

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