Book Review: Single capitalist market

Trading Places by John Palmer, Radius

The media are currently making a big fuss about the “single European market” which is supposed to be coming into existence in 1992. Capitalists have been appearing on television and in press advertisements to tell us what a good thing it will be for them. They are right; it will be a good thing for them, or at least for some of them, but for those who depend on working for a wage or salary it is a monumental irrelevance. About the only concrete change we’ll notice will be the suppression of duty-free allowances when we come back from holidays in Europe.

Trading Places is written by Guardian journalist John Palmer, to accompany the ITV television series of the same title. He explains the idea behind the so-called single market is to move from the customs union (with no tariff’s, quotas or customs duties) which has already been established in Europe to the abolition of what are called “non-tariff barriers” to trade, by which is meant differing health and technical standards and different taxes (VAT and excise duties) which impede the free movement of commodities. Hardly the most fascinating of subjects, but to be able to argue the case for the abolition of all markets, socialists need to be informed about what’s going on under capitalism. This book provides the needed information on this particular subject in a readable form.

Adam Buick