Geoffrey McCormack and Thom Workman
The Servant State
Overseeing Capital Accumulation in Canada
Two Canadian political science professors contend that the grotesque inequities of the capitalist system feed hatred, nourish misogyny, promote chronic dispossession and wreak havoc on the environment. In their new book, The Servant State: Overseeing Capital Accumulation in Canada, (Fernwood, 2015), Geoffrey McCormack and Thom Workman, add that [o]nly when humanity moves beyond this system of social and natural exploitation will the well-being of all improve. Their book suggests, however, that moving beyond capitalism in advanced, industrial countries will not be easy since such states are ruled by governments that consistently serve the interests of the capitalist business class, helping it accumulate the machinery and equipment that are the means of capitalist production. They argue that the capitalist state also reinforces the coercive nature of capitalism with labour market policies designed to force workers into accepting jobs even if they’re poorly paid and insecure.
In The Servant State, McCormack and Workman focus on how Canada weathered the global financial crisis of 2008. The book examines why Canada fared better economically than the U.S. and outlines the steps the Canadian government took to serve and protect capitalism during its latest crisis. Drawing on Marxian theory, the authors seek to move beyond what they describe as the smooth and oftentimes complacent discourse about Canadian capitalism to focus instead on the essential nature of the capitalist system. They write, this study embraces the spirit of rejection rather than indignation, the spirit of repudiation rather than conciliation. Geoffrey McCormack is assistant professor of political science at Wheelock College in Boston while Thom Workman teaches in the political science department at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. They spoke to the New Books Network at the university library in Sackville, New Brunswick.