Robin Murray: Selected Writings
Robin Murray (1940-2017) was a radical economist whose work spanned fair trade, industrial strategy and technological change. This special collection, edited by Murray’s lifelong friend and collaborator Michael Rustin, gathers together his major writings for the first time.
Robin Murray: Selected Writings demonstrates the breadth of Murray’s intellectual curiosity and his political commitment to finding new ways of organising the economy and society. A thinker at the heart of left-wing thought and contributor to the seminal 1968 May Day Manifesto, Robin Murray’s pioneering work encompasses diverse areas including fair trade, waste management, and, crucially, the regeneration of London via the London Industrial Strategy of radical local authority the GLC in the 1980s. Much of Murray’s work has striking contemporary relevance, for example his passion for ecological sustainability, co-operatives and fair trade, and his analysis of the developing ‘attention economy’ and its impact on a new era of digital platforms.
This collection has been curated to showcase the many contexts within which Robin Murray’s boundless energy, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity saw him collaborating. Murray’s work exemplifies how cooperation can bring about real social change; this book will appeal to students, policymakers and anyone interested in radical social transformation.
Introduction, by Michael Rustin
Robin Murray (1940-2017): A friend’s appreciation, by Stephen Yeo
1. Benetton Britain: The new economic order (1985)
2. Life after Henry (Ford) (1988)
3. The state after Henry (1991)
4. New directions in municipal socialism (1984)
5. Multinationals and social control in the 1990s (1989)
Waste and Recycling
6. Creating wealth from waste (1999)
7. The new political economy of public life (2004)
8. Danger and opportunity: Crisis and the new social economy (2009)
9. Global civil society and the rise of the civil economy (2012)
10. Raising the bar or redirecting the flood (2010)
11. Taking stock, looking forward (2015)
12. Post-post-Fordism in the era of platforms (2015)
This impressive and readable collection brings together Robin Murray’s writing into a coherent body of thought and introduces his hugely important ideas to a wider audience. Robin was concerned with the social relations of production and consumption and how they were neglected by conventional economics. He talked about the social or civil economy where economic activities were guided by co-operation rather than competition – something he thought would be facilitated by the revolution in information and communication technologies. He was always preoccupied with the concrete, and the coming together of theory and practice, and this book includes some wonderful examples about co-operatives, recycling, fair trade, municipal enterprise and ethical consumption.
- Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance, London School of Economics and Political Science
Robin Murray was an original, possessed of a mind that was always in motion and gifted with endless curiosity. He was, unusually, both a theorist and a practitioner. This lent his writing a richness rare amongst academics. This book is testimony to how relevant and powerful his thinking will remain long into the future.
- Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World and former editor of Marxism Today
Robin Murray was a true man for all seasons, who combined extraordinary intelligence and erudition, curiosity, profound compassion, and an unshakeable faith in the human project as a journey toward justice. This jewel of a volume combines some of his most trenchant and influential essays, plucked from his many years of analysis, writing and activism. From fair trade to fair life, Robin’s arguments ring with reason, wisdom, ferocity, and poetry. Our world always needed Robin Murray, and we need him now more than ever. This important collection keeps him with us.
- Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism