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Books in brief: Utopia or Bust

A Marxist intellectual accessing mainstream economics

Utopia or Bust: A Guide to the Present Crisis by Benjamin Kunkel (Verso, £8.99)

Benjamin Kunkel, an American writer who made his name as one of the founding editors of the fashionable literary journal n+1, has a new vocation. “I seem to have become,” he writes at the beginning of this engaging little book, “a Marxist public intellectual.”

Marxism, Kunkel acknowledges, remains a “bogeyman” to many, especially in the United States, where it can be advocated “only a little more respectably than pederasty.” He is exaggerating slightly, for since 2008, when the…

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