The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure | Prof John McMurtry (2013)

For Life on Earth

First published 1999 by Pluto Press
345 Archway Road, London N6 5AA
Second edition first published 2013

Distributed in the United States of America exclusively by
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of St. Martin’s Press LLC,
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010

Published in Canada by Fernwood Publishing
32 Oceanvista Lane, Black Point, Nova Scotia, B0J 1B0
and 748 Broadway Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3G 0X3

Fernwood Publishing Company Limited gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture and the Province of Manitoba, through the Book Publishing Tax Credit, for our publishing program.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
McMurtry, John, 1939-, author

The cancer stage of capitalism: from crisis to cure / John McMurtry. – 2nd edition.
First edition published: London: Pluto Press, 1999.
Co-published by Pluto Press.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-55266-592-3 (pbk.)

  1. Capitalism – Moral and ethical 2. Economics – Sociological aspects. 3. Economic history. 4. Marxian economics.

I. Title.
HB501.M275 2013       330.12’2       C2013-902838-2

Copyright © John McMurtry 1999, 2013

The right of John McMurtry to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 978 0 7453 3314 4 Hardback
ISBN 978 0 7453 3313 7 Paperback (Pluto Press)
ISBN 978 1 55266 592 3 Paperback (Fernwood)
ISBN 978 1 8496 4803 5 PDF eBook
ISBN 978 1 8496 4805 9 Kindle eBook
ISBN 978 1 8496 4804 2 EPUB eBook

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data applied for

This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental standards of the country of origin.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Designed and produced by Chase Publishing Services Ltd
Typeset from disk by Stanford DTP Services, Northampton, England
Simultaneously printed digitally by CPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham, UK and Edwards Bros in the United States of America


The nature and conclusions of this now almost 20-year study have made it a rather solitary project. Taboos block system diagnosis and cure at all levels. So without the support of others, the work might not have reached book publication. Pluto’s commissioning director and former chair Rogervan Zwanenberg proposed the plan for the ‘very unusual’ second edition. When Roger retired, David Shulman became his vitally supportive replacement. Jeff Noonan and Giorgio Baruchello have been responsive co-researchers in the advance of life-value onto-axiology. In the hardest days near the end, Joel Bakan read the new first chapter and responded with a revealing review which bridged across the editions.

What specially prepared me for this second edition was a seven-year research project for UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. Although an independent project entitled ‘Philosophy and World Problems’, the concept of ‘life-support systems’ as our ultimate bases of being alive is the bedrock on which I build.

Persons who have been kindly supportive or helpful in this edition include Ellen Brown, Allan Connolly, Jim Fetzer, Rajani Kanth, Peter Joseph, Wahu Kaara, Stephen Lendman, Jeff Noonan, Marcel Schlaff, Bob McMurtry, Matthew Stanton, Frank Trotz and Howard Woodhouse. Tracey Dando has been an acute proof-reader. Responses and editing throughout the multiple drafts by Jennifer Sumner have been more than invaluable.



1. Decoding the Cancer System and its Resolution

2. The Ancient Taboo

3. The Pathologization of the Free Market

4. The Social Immune System and the Cancer Stage of Capitalism

5. The Paradigm Shift: From Cancer System to Life-Capital Economy

6. The Great Vehicle of the Civil Commons



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