Tagged: capitalism

Feelin’ Massachusetts

Capitalism is much as it has been since whenever it “took off.” In the US there was one brief “golden era” (circa 1946-early 1970s), then things returned to normal.

Re the higher ed admissions fixing scandal: ironic, given that critics of the accused are protesting about access to Harvard and Yale. No one needs to bribe their way into CUNY or the University of Nebraska.

Nothing wrong with revisionism. Millions of kulaks would have survived, and a gulag would not have been built, had it won out.

If protection of the nation is Trump’s highest duty, he should resign.

He’s been Moses to MAGAts, but not to anyone else.

Clayton Kershaw has entered his King Felix years.

It is clear that endorsements won’t matter in a massive field. Journalists need to redo their play book. Ditch old narrative frames. Stop forecasting.

There’s outrage (what else would there be) about a video of Maya Angelou scolding a girl for addressing her by her first name. It’s no more than gentle arrogance. However, it does reveal something about Ms Angelou’s character, that something like that would matter enough to her that she would correct a young person on camera as opposed to off it.

Unless Ms Angelou was an angel, she had the same flaws the rest of us have, e.g., heightened self-regard (narcissism) that is obnoxious under certain circumstances. The girl was no threat to Ms Angelou. Yet, she perceived her as such. Kicking down is a sign of inner weakness.

Made of stone

As any astute Marxist knows, the working class has not always been progressive (the example of their support for Brexit and Trump is the latest evidence). Also, this Marxist would know that the mode of production in capitalism does not stand still, but is constantly revolutionised. Consequently, the industrial mode of production (most highly rationalised by Henry Ford and Frederick Taylor) could only be a time limited affair. Moreover, the skills and aptitudes needed for work under these labour conditions would also have a relatively short life span. In other words, industrialism as a mode of production would never last forever; thus the towns which built themselves around a mode of production that would become obsolete are similarly doomed to go the way of weavers and steam powered locomotives.

This process of obsolescence was hastened by the battering down of “all Chinese walls” (Marx): not only were “foreign” markets opened to the mode of capitalist consumption, they were opened to mode of capitalist production (industrial production). If capital follows “cheap labour,” then it was also inevitable that industrial production (manufacturing) would migrate across borders to more hospitable climes for the maximum profit extraction/labour exploitation. The spirit of socialist internationalism, that workers of the world share a common plight and a common struggle, is thwarted by national populist tendencies. The effort to restore Chinese walls in the form of new Hadrian’s Wall against the EU or neo-mercantilist policies (Trump) is anachronistic.

Finally, there’s the issue of climate change. The romanticised vision of industrial production, which runs counter to the satanic mill, The Jungle, and the workhouse of its reality, does not comport well with efforts to curb the degradation of the environment. Here, one can turn to an auto-critique of Marx himself: his Grundrisse is brimming over with anti-ecological statements. In other texts (such as the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844), the great man holds that the essence of the worker is bound up with “his” ability to work on nature, i.e., to destroy nature. The worker’s alienation from nature (both internal and external) is premised on “his” loss of the object of labour in a system of private property; “his” alienation is not premised on the filthy waters, toxic air, and superheated atmosphere that results from “his” labour in industrial capitalism. It is not surprising that the states inspired by Marxist thinking (the old CCCP and DDR, and today’s China) were/are global leaders in pollution, no different from their non-Communist brethren in “the West.”


Clock strikes ten

The shift from humourless intersectionality to ironic, lifestyle feminism is welcome. Thank you, Ms Dunham.


In the wake of the Greece debacle (for Mr Tsipras and the demagogue Varoufakis), talk of the final days of capitalism is sure to ensue. It’s worth remembering that the end of capitalism was just around the corner. In 1848. The final crisis of capitalism never quite happened. Hence, in its place there arose the “crisis of crisis theory” (Claus Offe). Anyone recall the “falling rate of profit”?

Capitalism is always innovativing, which Marx recognised. Methods of procuring profit are revolutionised constantly; whatever does not work, is abandoned. What Marx failed to recognise was the role that the state would play in extending the shelf life of capitalism well beyond his worst fears. The state is not merely the “executive committee” of the bourgeoisie in its struggle against the working class; it is also an engine of capitalist expansion. Most importantly, the state makes the ethereal, invisible hand quite visible to investors.

The term “postcapitalism” is a fudge on the fact that it’s still capitalism (or “late capitalism” as per Adorno). Mr Graeber is, at best, a theorist of the “last crisis,” not the “next crisis” and certainly not the “final crisis,” which never arrives anyway. My advice: don’t waste time enrolling in Potlatch Economics 101.

Wild fire

Pseu Braun is the Angry Bob of freeform radio.

Tolkien wrote YA literature. Game of Thrones is for adults.

Wargs are epileptics with telepathic capabilities.

Ironic: Oklahoma, a very red Republican state, turns to science for more efficient ways to kill while, at the same time, it denies evolution.

Capitalism has always been in a state of crisis. Crisis is its modus operandi. The real crisis is a political one: a permanent crisis of crisis management (Claus Offe).

André Gorz bid the working class adieu. . . in 1980.