Credit has crunched, debt has turned toxic, the gears of the world economy have ground to a halt. Yet despite its failures, the same market-driven ideas are being applied to everything from the food crisis to climate change. It's time to ask one of the most fundamental questions a society can address: why do things cost what they do?Radical and original, The Value of Nothing uses basic but forgotten economics and cutting-edge neuroscience to show how the price we pay for everything, from burgers to ballistic missiles, is systematically distorted and to explore some rich alternatives to market fundamentalism. 'With great lucidity and confidence in a dazzling array of fields, Patel reveals how we inflate the cost of things we can (and often should) live without, while assigning absolutely no value to the resources we all need to survive. This is a deeply thought-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness - argued with so much humour and humanity that the enormous tasks ahead feel both doable and desirable. This is Raj Patel's great gift: he makes even the most radical ideas seem not only reasonable, but inevitable. A brilliant book.' -Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine'Bracingly written and full of surprises, The Value of Nothing is itself invaluable, showing us a path out of the darkness of the economics woods.' -Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's DilemmaRaj Patel has worked for the World Bank, interned at the WTO, consulted for the UN and been involved in international campaigns against his former employers. Currently a researcher at the University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal in South Africa and a visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, his education includes degrees from Oxford, the London School of Economics & Cornell University.