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Raj Patel's new economy

Raj PatelThe Value of Nothing

Although Raj Patel has been dealing with macroeconomic issues, his book "The Value of Nothing" takes its title not from an economic principle but from a quote by Oscar Wilde: "Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Patel is a London-born academic and activist whose online bio explains that he "has worked for the World Bank and WTO and been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against them."

Tonight, Patel will be on the Colbert Report to talk about his book, which is a critique of markets -- sparks will probably fly. Later this month, the author comes to Los Angeles -- on Jan. 20, he'll be at the L.A. Public Library's Aloud series, which requires reservations but offers its tickets free -- providing value for, of course, nothing.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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