Mind vs. Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism

Mind vs. Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism

by Alan Kahan


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For the past 150 years, Western intellectuals have trumpeted contempt for capitalism and capitalists. They have written novels, plays, and manifestos to demonstrate the evils of the economic system in which they live. Dislike and contempt for the bourgeoisie, the middle classes, industry, and commerce have been a prominent trait of leading Western writers and artists. Mind vs. Money is an analytical history of how and why so many intellectuals have opposed capitalism. It is also an argument for how this opposition can be tempered.

Historically, intellectuals have expressed their rejection of capitalism through many different movements, including nationalism, anti-Semitism, socialism, fascism, communism, and the 1960s counterculture. Hostility to capitalism takes new forms today. The anti-globalization, Green, communitarian, and New Age movements are all examples. Intellectuals give such movements the legitimacy and leadership they would otherwise lack. What unites radical intellectuals of the nineteenth century, communists and fascists of the twentieth, and anti-globalization protestors of the twenty-first, along with many other intellectuals not associated with these movements, is their rejection of capitalism. Kahan argues that intellectuals are a permanently alienated elite in capitalist societies.

In myriad forms, and on many fronts, the battle between Mind and Money continues today. Anti-Americanism is one of them. Americans like to see their country as a beacon of freedom and prosperity. But in the eyes of many European and American intellectuals, when America is identified with capitalism, it is transformed from moral beacon into the "Great Satan." This is just one of the issues Mind vs. Money explores. The conflict between Mind and Money is the great, unresolved conflict of modern society. To end it, we must first understand it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

[Kahan] guides readers through the origins and the devastating historical consequences of “mind” disliking “money” and intellectuals (in general) opposing capitalism, as evidenced in various movements throughout history. He masterfully traces intellectual anticapitalism in the historical and philosophical tapestry of Western society.” —Jekabs Bikis, Library Journal “The eight chapters that follow [the first chapter] present a lively discussion of the ebb and flow of anti-capitalist movements and the symbiotic relationship between capitalism and liberal intellectuals…Recommended.” —Choice “Well researched and worth anybody’s money… He explained the world with tremendous force followed by an excellent analysis of money and its dehumanization, and the implications of anti-semitism by anti-capitalist intellectuals.” —Richard Minns, Reinventing Socialism "Alan Kahan has crafted the preeminent account of the ambiguous relationship between intellectuals and modern market societies. This is not merely a polemic, but a serious and balanced account of the role intellectuals have played in modern Western history. Integrating discussions of literature and politics, philosophical concepts and events, this is intellectual history at its best - and what is better, at its most relevant to today's world. Brilliant and insightful, splendidly written on many levels, accessible to the general reader and challenging and provocative for the scholar, wide-ranging, theoretically sophisticated without being bogged down in jargon, Kahan presents a stimulating and provocative account of how the clash between intellectuals and the market has helped produce a wealth of human tragedy. Even more important, he has given us new ways to think about how this can be avoided in future." —Nicholas Capaldi, Loyola University New Orleans “A useful primer to a giant, centuries-long debate. I would recommend it as a textbook for a course on the intellectual history of capitalism.” —Jason Kuznicki, Cato Institute “[Kahan] masterfully traces intellectual anticapitalism in the historical and philosophical tapestry of Western society. Clarity, which makes the work very readable…Readers will learn a great deal about lineages of all major anticapitalist arguments and their permutations in a global world.” —Jekabs Bikis, Dallas Baptist University "In this witty and highly readable book, the chronicler of 'aristocratic liberalism' turns to that most unlikely of aristocracies: the intelligentsia. . . . Kahan marshals a wealth of lightly worn erudition to offer a genuinely original diagnosis brimming with shrewd insights and bold suggestions. If there were ever the candid mutual reassessment by the intellectual class and a capitalist public that the author recommends, Mind vs. Money would and should be in the middle of it." —Henry C. Clark, Canisius College "Kahan has written a self-consciously controversial work that seeks to vex self-satisfied intellectual and academic critiques of capitalism. The book will provoke much anger, but it will also for those who are willing to consider it seriously provoke much rethinking. Its lighthearted comments on some of the giants of modern Western intellectual life will appeal to students and make it highly useful in classrooms." —Frank M. Turner, Yale University

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781412810630
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
Publication date: 01/15/2010
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

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