The end of capitalism is (or should be) nigh

Book cover for Capitalism is Past Its Sell-By Date, by Kit Webster

A comprehensive guide to addressing the flaws of contemporary capitalism and its relationship to climate change.

Is it possible to be…practically hopeful for our future? If so, then Kit Webster’s work here sums up what that might look like. As we move into the third decade of the millennium, we have begun to see the ramifications of overconsumption under the thumb of contemporary capitalism. To top this, we are noticing the impact our overconsumption has on the environment, from climate change to natural resource depletion, from species extinction to—you guessed it—a once-in-a-lifetime global disease pandemic. Capitalism is Past Its Sell-By Date is, by far, the most honest, brutal, yet comprehensive rabbit hole I have ever pursued in an attempt to finally grasp the ins and outs of contemporary capitalism, its transformation into corporatization, and how an economic and social system rooted in astronomically profitable gain hits us where it hurts—existentially.

Webster presents us with humanity’s definitive logic puzzle: how to balance a sustainable standard of living with a healthy economy. Split into two sections, Capitalism tackles the contemporary history of capitalism from the Industrial Revolution on, then leaps to the existential crisis of how to logistically—financially—combat climate change. While Webster injects this beefy book with more of his own analysis and opinion as a (former) free-market capitalist, I found his well-researched perspective to be the most useful primer I have read to date in proposing an end to the economic system he used to believe in.

Much like a 3-legged stool, Webster demonstrates how the support systems that maintain some semblance of equilibrium on this planet are all irrevocably bound to each other. If we were to radically exhaust one of these systems, the others will be quick to follow. What is absolutely critical about embracing a perpetual system of imbalance, Webster suggests, is how we continuously prioritize redistributing our weight as we move from rampant overconsumption to a zero-sum, no-growth economy.

Regardless of how we choose to mitigate our future, Webster settles on this key theme: all roads lead back to the end of capitalism. Capitalism is Past Its Sell-By Date will be useful for anyone studying the economics of climate change, social systems, and building sustainable solutions. Packed with over a decade of critical analysis, Kit Webster has given us the quintessential textbook on how to remodel our global economy for a more sustainable future.

This review was originally published on Reedsy Discovery, a book-sharing platform where book reviewers gain early access to new titles in independent publishing. If you want to become a reviewer, apply here.