For Saving the Earth We Need to Tell the Whole Truth — an eco-socialist’s response to Richard Smith

by Saral Sarkar

Saral Sarkar’s Writings | December 01, 2017

In his article,1 Richard calls upon his readers to “change the conversation”. He asks, “What are your thoughts?” He says, if we don’t “come up with a viablealternative, our goose is cooked.” I fully agree. So I join the conversation, in order to improve it.
Let me first say I appreciate Richard’s article very much. It is very useful, indeed necessary, to also present one’s cause in a short article – for those who are interested but, for whatever reason, cannot read a whole book. Richard has ably presented the eco-socialist case against both capitalism and “green” capitalism.
But the alternative Richard has come up with is deficient in one very important respect, namely in respect of viability. Allow me to present here my comradely criticisms. It will be short.
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Socialist Planning Circles: Building Scaffolds Before the Wreckage

LA Progressives | November 14, 2017

Socialist Planning Circles

In my last article, Do You Socialists Have Any Plans? Why We Need Socialist Architects, I argued that the only way 21st century socialism is going to get any traction with working class people is to not only have a socialist vision, but also to have feasible plans which suggest transitions in between the current capitalist crisis and our ultimate vision.

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Calcutta Notebook

by B J

Frontier | Vol. 50, No.18, Nov 5 – 11, 2017

The recently enacted Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, RERA for short, has brought in certain regulations that appear troublesome at the present but will lead to the expansion of the housing sector in the long run. It has been made mandatory that houses will be sold on the basis of carpet area. Builders often “load” the carpet area with non-existent common area. One builder of Ghaziabad has charged the flat owners for about 600 square feet of common area while the actual common area provided was only about 200 square feet. It will not be possible for the builders to engage in such malpractices any more. RERA also provides a dispute resolution mechanism. At present the buyers are virtually at the mercy of the builders because the only course of redressal is through the Consumer Protection Act which is tedious, expensive and time consuming. A Resident’s Welfare Association in Ghaziabad filed a case in the National Consumer Redressal Forum. The case is still lingering on after 5 years. Another Association filed a case in the same Forum. The Builder did not receive notice on the pretext of incorrect address and the case has not started even after 55 months. RERA provides for the establishment of a Regulatory Authority which will resolve such issues speedily. An aggrieved buyer will be able to make a complaint to the Authority and hopefully get relief without having to go through the courts. RERA provides that resolution will take place within 2 months though it is to be seen how much this works in practice. These measures will bring in transparency and lead to the development of the housing market in the country. Buyers will be assured that they will not be shortchanged and will come forth to buy property in larger numbers.Read More »

Neo-liberal capitalism and its crisis

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MR Online | October 28, 2017

Enjoy capitalism by any means.

“Neo-liberal capitalism” is the term used to describe the phase of capitalism where restrictions on the global flows of commodities and capital, including capital in the form of finance, have been substantially removed. Since such removal happens under pressure from globally-mobile (or international) finance capital, neo-liberal capitalism is characterized by the hegemony of international finance capital, with which the big capitals in particular countries get integrated, and which ensures that a common set of “neo-liberal” policies are pursued by all countries across the globe.Read More »

How to End Crony Capitalism

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RobertReich.org | October 22, 2017

Republicans may be taking more big money, but both parties have been raking it in. And that leaves the rest of us to drown.

The largest corporations and richest people in America – who donated billions of dollars to Republican candidates the House and Senate in the 2106 election – appear on the way to getting what they paid for: a giant tax cut.

The New York Times reports that business groups are meeting frequently with key Republicans in order to shape the tax bill, whose details remain secret.

Speed and secrecy are critical. The quicker Republicans get this done, and without hearings, the less likely will the rest of the country discover how much it will cost in foregone Medicaid and Medicare or ballooning budget deficits.

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Foreword to Creating an Ecological Society

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MR Online | October 19, 2017

Ecology Plant

As Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams point out in their new book, Creating an Ecological Society, the word “ecology” (originally œcology) was first coined in 1866 by Ernst Haeckel, Darwin’s leading German follower, based on the Greek word oikos, or household. Ironically, the word “economy,” to which ecology is often nowadays counterposed, was derived much earlier from the same Greek root—in this instance oikonomia, or household management. The close family relationship between these two concepts was fully intended by Haeckel, who defined ecology as the study of Darwin’s “economy of nature.”1Read More »

Marx’s Capital at 150: an invitation to history

by Radhika Desai

Red Pepper | September 30, 2017

‘Marx was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time,’ Engels remarked in his graveside oration, because he discovered two things that struck at the heart of capitalism. First, it was neither natural nor eternal. It rests on entirely unnatural historical processes forcibly or fraudulently separating the mass of humanity from access to the means of production, leaving it dependent on employment by the appropriators of those means. Such a contradictory and antagonistic social order had to end. The only question was whether it would take humanity with it, and that depended on the choices humanity made.Read More »

2 or 3 Things I Know About Late-Stage Capitalism

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A view of New York City from the top of the World Trade Center in the mid-1980s. (Photo: Ralph Hockens/flickr/cc)

A number of recent, press articles, including an over 8000 word feature piece in the New York Times have asked, to quote the The NYT’s headline, “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”

Although the question was proffered, the reporters and editors responsible for the articles remain resolutely obtuse to the obvious: The bughouse crazy environment of late stage capitalist culture evokes classic flight or flight responses attendant to episodes of severe anxiety and panic attacks.

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Conference Report: Marx’s Capital After 150 Years

by Leigh Denholm

Frontier | Autumn Number | Vol. 50, No.12-15, Sep 24 – Oct 21, 2017

From May 24th to 26th, 2017, the Marx Collegium of York University hosted an international conference marking the 150th anniversary of the first English-language publication of Karl Marx’s seminal Capital, Volume 1. Tirelessly organized by Prof Marcello Musto (York University, Canada) and entitled “Marx’s Capital After 150 Years: Critique and Alternative to Capitalism”, the conference gathered together 27 presenters from 23 universities spread across 8 countries. With 29 presentations across 9 sessions, the following report will focus primarily on four common themes which were recurrent throughout the conference, with only a portion of the presentations discussed here in the interests of brevity and thematization.Read More »

How Economics Is Forging Renewed Links With Social Sciences

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The Wire | October 04, 2017

Shoe-makers work in an underground workshop in Agra. Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

Economics began its life as ‘political economy,’ and the 18th and 19th-century classical economists grappled with questions that are fundamental throughout the social sciences. Adam Smith was the author of The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments. David Ricardo, in the preface to his path-breaking Principles, identified the distribution of the total produce of a country among the different classes – in the form of rents, profits and wages – to be the “principal problem in Political Economy.” And Thomas Malthus’s essay on population is known to have influenced Darwin.Read More »