Dennis Loo

Sometimes asking for the impossible is the only realistic path

Dennis Loo

Dennis Loo
Location
Los Angeles, California,
Birthday
December 31
Title
Professor of Sociology
Company
Cal Poly Pomona
Bio
Author of Globalization and the Demolition of Society; Co-Editor/Author of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, World Can't Wait Steering Committee Member, co-author of "Crimes Are Crimes, No Matter Who Does Them" statement, dog and fruit tree lover. Published poet. Winner of the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award, Project Censored Award and the Nation Magazine's Most Valuable Campaign Award. Punahou and Harvard Honor Graduate. Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz. An archive of close to 500 postings of mine can be found at my blogspot blog, Dennis Loo, link below. I publish regularly at dennisloo.com, worldcantwait.net (link below) and also at OpEd News and sometimes at Counterpunch.

JULY 30, 2011 12:59PM

Announcing My New Book's Release

Rate: 7 Flag

 

My new book, Globalization and the Demolition of Society, is coming out in August. Finishing the book is the main reason why I've not been posting very much at OS over the course of the last many months. The work of something like this is rather similar to giving birth - although in this case the gestation period exceeds nine months and the hours or days of difficult labor by many years. The book is actually several different books in one; each chapter covers material that a whole book could entail.  Whew! I'm exhausted! 

GL cover 

It's coming out in hardcover (432 pages) for $27.95 list price at bookstores near you. An eBook version (list price $18) will also be available in August at all the usual suspects (Kindle, Nook, iBook, etc.) and hopefully picked up widely. My publisher is a small publishing house, Larkmead Press. (My last publisher, Seven Stories Press, was willing to do my book, but would have needed at least a year or more to get it into print. I did not want to wait that long.)

I invite the OS community to check it out and would be very glad to share with anyone who wants to do an early review of it a gratis pdf of the book. 

Here's the dustjacket copy which introduces you to what my book is:

“Does the advice we get on health care over the mainstream media give us enough scope, depth and detail to allow us to treat ourselves and be our own physicians? Certainly not. Why would political advice dispensed via mainstream media and existing governmental institutions be any better? Is it reasonable to expect that reliance upon the major parties’ campaign pitches and the injunction ‘just vote’ could possibly be all you need to know to change society? The richest 497 individuals in the world have more wealth than the bottom fifty percent of the world’s population. If you had such extreme wealth and power and enjoyed your luxuries more than justice, would you let your possessions be subject to the whims of the principle of ‘one person, one vote?’ Would you let your extraordinary wealth be outvoted? You would be crazy to do so.”

Since the 1980s, advocates of “free market” forces and unrestrained individualism have succeeded in making their views dominant worldwide. In this timely, startlingly honest, wide-ranging, and profound book Dennis Loo shows that free market fundamentalism  - also known as neoliberalism - make us not more secure or prosperous: it tears the social fabric and undermines security, leading inevitably to disasters on the individual, regional, and global levels. 

Neoliberalism is based on the mantra that market forces should run everything. It aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It consequently undermines the basis for people to voluntarily cooperate with authority as almost everyone is increasingly left by themselves to face gargantuan private interests, with governmental and corporate authority ever more indifferent to the public’s welfare.

Loo points out that given this trend, the government must rely on ever increasing secrecy, deception, surveillance, fear and force in order to keep people in line, no matter which public official or political party is in power. This is the underlying reason why the Democratic and Republican Parties are less and less distinguishable from each other, and why both parties have been moving politically to the Right.

Loo tells this story of two worlds in contention – those who uphold private interest vs. those who defend the public interest - by drawing from everyday life to illustrate and bring alive what might otherwise seem to be disconnected and disparate disturbing developments. He conveys complex topics and questions with remarkable clarity, subtlety, and sophistication. Even after reading only one chapter, you will come away from Globalization and the Demolition of Society looking at the world differently.

 ***

 Here are some advanced reviews of my book:

“A brilliant exposition… compelling written and readily grasped, yet profound in its synthetic treatment . . . . Loo’s analysis of the inherent, self-reinforcing logic of neoliberalism and the ‘War on Terror’ . . . is a potential game changer.” – Sharon Araji, 2011 President, Pacific Sociological Association, Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado, Denver

 

“[A]n adventure in cognitive rebellion.” – Peter Phillips, Professor of Sociology, Sonoma State University, President, Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored

“Globalization and the Demolition of Society is a clear, critical analysis of globalization and its outcomes.  Instead of taking a pro-globalization or anti-globalization stance, Loo presents an analysis of how political and economic changes have occurred over roughly the past forty years.  How are our lives different because of globalization?  Loo points to the role of the media, crime, and misinformation to answer this question.  The ‘war on terror,’ ‘death panels,’ and more are explored in great depth to understand the impact of the rhetoric beyond the initial splash.

“In careful detail, Loo explains the path to demolition and offers a way to rebuild from the wreckage.  What if the role of leadership in relationship to the led were different?  A more open society will benefit from the gifts of leaders and the working class.  What if ‘more democracy’ was not limited to voting?  If people participated more directly and freely in policymaking, not only would more people participate, but they would be heard in more meaningful ways.

“There are many books on globalization, but Loo's book contributes something distinct.  The political and economic changes wrought over the past forty years are critically and systematically mapped out.  Readers will follow Loo's path of bread crumbs and arrive at the conclusion understanding the steps that have unfolded to result in the Demolition of Society.  

“Beyond making this distinct contribution to an extensive literature,
Globalization and the Demolition of Society is also very readable--it is sufficiently clear for audiences new to globalization, and it is written in an engaging manner.  Readers will connect with the material and not find themselves overwhelmed by the language.  It is also distinctively sociological, taking a holistic view of society and the changes undergone by institutions and individuals in our globalizing world.”  - Keri E. Iyall Smith, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Suffolk University, Co-Editor of Societies Without Borders, societieswithoutborders.org

“[A] seminal work… a much needed incisive analysis that provides readers with a sense of urgency regarding the false utopianisms of globalization. Loo, a faithful voice from the left, embarks on a courageous sociological journey of the intellect, of activism, and of consciousness-raising in ways that remind us that one is never too socio-historically close to assess the human condition under 21st century capitalism.” – Jack Fong, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology, Cal Poly Pomona

And here are some book excerpts:

Since the 1980s, political systems across the globe have been undergoing relentless and radical restructuring. This tectonic shift in the nature and role of politics in people’s lives has been and is being carried out under the signboard of installing market forces and unrestrained individualism as the director for all matters personal and public.

Reminiscent of H.G. Wells’ depiction of extraterrestrial aliens invading the US in his classic The War of the Worlds, no arena has been spared from this full-scale assault. The proponents for free market fundamentalism bring with them not only concrete programs that they are fervently and meticulously inserting into place but an entire army of philosophers of privatization who hector us from every media outlet conceivable, generating a drumbeat of scorn for any who object. “There is no alternative, this is the panacea,” this army’s foot soldiers and generals tell us; nowhere and nothing is immune from their demand that they must take over and take charge. The acolytes of the invisible hand are visible everywhere we look. (From the Preface).

Perversely, the more preoccupied the public has become with security, and the more that measures have been employed supposedly to promote security, the more insecure we in fact have become—subjectively as well as objectively. This holds true both on the national level and on the personal level. It goes beyond the question of the competence or incompetence of the US government’s economic policies or its anti-terrorist and anti-disaster measures and policies. It goes beyond the matter of whether the Republicans or the Democrats are in power. It goes to the very heart of the new world order’s fundamental nature. (Chapter One)

Social systems, economic systems, political systems, and so on, are all governed by their own internal logic. All systems have rules and inherent logic. You do not change those systems by putting different individuals in charge of them. Systems do not operate the way that they do primarily because of the nature of the people who occupy them.  In the Stanford Prison Experiment, for example, the “guards” and “inmates” were all Stanford students. Yet they one and all readily and quickly adopted roles that eerily mimicked real prisons’ occupants and repressive atmosphere. To stop the Stanford students from behaving like prison guards and prisoners, Philip Zimbardo, the experiment’s lead investigator, brought an early end to the simulated prison. You change system outcomes, in short, by changing the system. (Chapter One)

I will post more excerpts later on. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface

A War of the Worlds

Introduction

Laying a Foundation for Politics of a New Path: Contests Over What is Real and What is True

Chapter One

The Paradox of Preeminence

Chapter Two

The Neoliberal State’s Origins and the Rise of the Right: Wars, Revolutions and Insurgencies

Chapter Three

Courting Catastrophe and Sabotaging Everyday Security: Neoliberalism’s Dangerous Dance

Chapter Four

The “War on Terror” (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy)

Chapter Five

Why Voting Isn’t the Solution: The Problem with Democratic Theory

Chapter Six

Media: the New Faux Public

Chapter Seven

The Prospects for Change

Appendix One

Appendix Two

Appendix Three

Index

About the Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Congrats! Good luck with it.
Congratulations, Dennis!
Thank you Rei and Catherine!
Congratulations. This will make a great gift for my son who is studying philosophy and political science in college. Don't be a stranger. RRR
Dennis,
Congratulations! That is wonderful news.
Congratulations! I wish you good luck with it.
Congratulations, Dennis...and good luck with it.

f.
CAN I GET IT IN CANADA?

WHERE?

(*Please rush answer.....*)

.
Bernadine, Nick, Tinkertink 69, Diary of a Hopeful Starving Student, Bette, Frank (!), skypixieo: Thank you all for your kind wishes and for your visit! It's nice to have a community, isn't it? The relationship between individuals and groups is a key theme in my book. For example:

"Individuals are like a tree's leaves that extend out from twigs (the family), that spring out from branches (populations) that in turn spread out from the tree trunk (society). The tree, for its part, cannot live without leaves. It is true that some trees shed their leaves for a season and live on their stored resources and connection to the ground. But they would not have those stored resources if they didn't sprout leaves for the rest of the year in order to collect the sun's rays and carry out photosynthesis. Leaves are a tree’s way of providing for itself. Leaves, in turn, cannot survive without being attached to trees. A detached leaf, going about its merry way on its own and freed of its connection to and the dictates of the tree, falls and dies." (Chapter One)

And in another example:

"[Friedrick] Hayek [godfather of neoliberalism and hero to Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman et al] in effect dismisses the idea that there is such a thing as objectivity or necessity. There is only what the individual wants and that must prevail. Hayek’s hypothetically free individual declares his or her freedom, as if to say, 'I care not what is right, nor what is true. I care only that it is what I want. And that shall suffice.' If objective reality does in fact exist, and if science, medicine, navigation, exploration, and technology all rely upon objective reality’s existence to work (a fact evident to anyone using a car or airplane, for instance), then the ongoing effort to determine at any given time in society what the best ideas are—the ones that more truly represent objective reality—is not merely an idle intellectual exercise but one with powerful material consequences. Which ideas predominate and set the terms matters to the whole of the society. Science, for example, operates through a collective process of peer review. A claim made by one scientist has to be demonstrably true for the scientific community or that claim is rejected as untenable. If what matters more than anything, on the other hand, is that individuals should have the right to pursue their ideas and plans based on their 'own' ideas, then the question of what is true and its impact on the whole of society becomes moot. Implementing Hayek’s stand as a principle for the whole society would produce tremendous damage; indeed we find it doing precisely that, as this book discusses, by leading to the demolition of society." (Chapter One)

skypixieo: You will be able to get it in Canada. I don't know the stores in Canada, but Amazon.ca will have it soon and Barnes and Noble is going to be carrying it as well.
Mazel Tov ! Dennis, looking forward to reading it.