Paul Raven reviews Ursula K. Le Guins classic novel The Dispossessed, a tale of the confrontation between an anarcho-syndicalist culture and a state-capitalist culture. (CHT François.) Though Le Guins personal sympathies were with the anarchists, she doesnt stack the deck (unlike most political science fiction): the anarcho-syndicalist culture is actually pretty sucky. But the state-capitalist culture is even suckier. (I didnt say it was a cheerful book. But its a very good book.)
Related whereunto, some random items:
- Theres a book of essays titled The New Utopian Politics of Ursula K. Le Guins The Dispossessed. I havent read it; but apparently Le Guin liked it and contributed an essay herself.
- L. Neil Smith semi-dedicated his anarcho-capitalist novel The Probability Broach to Le Guin and The Dispossessed. (At least thats true of the first edition; I dont have the revised edition handy.) He also commends Hayeks Capitalism and the Historians to Le Guins attention in order to nudge her toward a more favourable attitude to property. (I gotta say, thats not the book I would have picked for that purpose.)
- Ive long suspected that Ken MacLeods The Cassini Division, with its confrontation between a flawed but functional anarcho-capitalist society and a flawed but functional anarcho-communist society, was partly inspired by Le Guins book.
- One of Le Guins last works, The Telling, deals with Taoist-inspired communities struggling under an oppressive system variously described by reviewers as a tightly controlled capitalist government and a soulless form of corporate communism. I havent read it yet either.
Addendum: I remembered something else Id intended to mention: in addition to Ken MacLeods The Cassini Division being partly inspired by The Dispossessed in its theme, Ive wondered whether MacLeods earlier novel The Stone Canal might be partly inspired by The Dispossessed in its narrative structure, with one storyline being told through the odd-numbered chapters while a flashback background story, featuring the same viewpoint character in both cases an anarchist scholar runs through the even-numbered chapters (though of course other writers have done such things as well).