Nightmares of Neoliberalism— Fear of popular rule animates our society and politics

by Jason Hirthler

The Clintons: way above the 1%, seriously. Their foundation one of the biggest scams in political history. (DonkeyHotey)

On a wintry Saturday in January a motley crew of disgruntled protestors took up a position in front of one of the many stark and faceless towers of Midtown Manhattan. The tower rose vertiginously in the bright afternoon sky, an anonymous vertical field of black glass gridded together by strips of steel. The rugged clan of antinomians assembled in the vast stone exterior of the building, a kind of public anteroom between the rabid streets and the polished marble foyer of the building. They lined posters against the plinths of abstract corporate art rising into the air above the courtyard. The poster board was scrawled with urgent slogans, all of them referencing the ninth anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. In the decade since, an island already devastated by conventional colonialism was victimized by a new incarnation of exploitation, this one clad in humanitarian guise.Read More »

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A sound ecological policy cannot be achieved within a capitalist framework

Christian Stache interviews Victor Wallis about resistance in the German Hambach Forest, class politics, technology, progress and an ecological-economic conversion.

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MR Online | November 01, 2018

Pressenza - Hambacher Forst- Jetzt erst recht! – Aufruf zum deutschlandweiten Aktionstag am 03. Februar pressenza.com

This interview by Christian Stache of Victor Wallis was translated with permission from the October 6, 2018 issue of the Berlin-based daily newspaper junge Welt [young World].junge Welt bears no responsibility for this English-language version.

Recently, a huge socio-ecological conflict escalated in the Hambach Forest in Germany. Have you heard about it in the U.S.?

It was not widely covered in the corporate media, but there was very good coverage on the independent Democracy Now! program, whose host, Amy Goodman, spent a week in and around Bonn during the recent international conference, and visited some of the occupiers in their tree-houses. Singer/songwriter David Rovics has just now posted a tribute, in narrative and song, to the forest-protectors and to the journalist Steffen Meyn who died tragically while attempting to cover their story.Read More »

The Question of Slave Labour: Political Economy of Human Trafficking

by Smarajit Jana

Frontier | Autumn Number 2018 | Vol. 51, No.14 – 17, Oct 7 – Nov 3, 2018

This is perhaps the era of Anti-trafficking ‘Jihad’. There are Ministry of home affairs, scores of NGOs, both National and International, the ministry of women and child welfare in majority of countries, Women activists, civil society organisations and who are not in this campaign? Certainly no one supports trafficking of human beings and everyone will be interested to lend their voices in support of the trafficked men with special focus to women and children. But why this level of hype created globally centering trafficking? All sorts of media including social media now-a-days appeared to be super active in campaigning against trafficking. One may come across several sensational stories focusing victims of trafficking and or dear devil rescue operations which are published in reputed journals. Even the left leaning publication houses are no exception. They also have joined the band wagon without questioning or going deeper into the issues. There are serious questions which are many and multiple in nature. Why some individuals are trafficked and in which occupations? Why trafficking business continues its rein even in the modern era and what factors fuel trafficking and what sort of social and political system promote trafficking and why? These are remained unanswered in those signed articles and in many such publications. All different stories published in these media are designed to draw the readers’ sympathy towards the victims and to raise their anger against some ‘invisible’ individuals or groups who are termed as traffickers. As if it is a plain and simple battle between good and bad people. There are no other factors, no social or structural barriers it is the greed of some demonic characters who should be put to the jail or be hanged.Read More »

Banker hegemony: Pax Lemmus

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Lemmings commit harikari too with boom-bust cycles (Image by Eric Allie)

So are the banksters all right after all?

Nope. All there is to show after 400 years is a kind of Pax Hamstera, or better, Pax Lemmus. The horrors of the 19th-20th centuries, now going off the horror chart in the 21st century. We run faster and faster, inventing and marketing ever new gadgets, and the standard of living, we now realize, is plummeting, not so much in dollar terms (that, yes) but in terms of all the ‘external economies’ that come along with those gadgets, and the lifestyle of homo hamsterus.Read More »

Samir Amin on centre, periphery and the world economy: an appreciation of his original insights

by Peter Lawrence

Pambazuka News | August 23, 2018

Credits: estoril

Samir Amin, already a major figure in the political economy of development, was the author of the first article in the first ever issue of ROAPE, in 1974. As the editorial noted, the article was “a summary of his basic model of the workings of the international system as a whole, presented at length in his two recent books” (the two- volume Accumulation on a World Scale, Monthly Review Press, 1974).

 

The editorial continued: “It provides us with an ideal starting point: a general view of international capitalism, identifying the crucial differences in the dynamic of accumulation at the centre and at the periphery: differences which promote development in the metropoles and inhibit it in Africa. It is our hope that his work, which represents the most significant African contribution to the debate on underdevelopment, will be studied widely and discussed critically.”

Read More »

Capitalism’s Discourse on “Development”

by Prabhat Patnaik

People’s Democracy | July 29, 2018

CAPITALISM’S discourse on “development” which has become quite influential all over the third world in the neo-liberal period proceeds as follows: (i) “development” must consist in shifting the work-force from the traditional (petty production) sector which is overcrowded with low labour productivity, and hence constitutes a repository of poverty,  to the modern (capitalist) sector which has much higher labour productivity. (ii) For this shift to occur, the modern (capitalist sector) must be allowed to grow as rapidly as possible, for which all impediments to capital accumulation must be removed. (iii) Even if, in the process of the modern (capitalist) sector’s growth, some petty producers are displaced, such as for instance owing to the acquisition of land from peasant agriculture for building factories, then that can only be a transitional problem and should not be a matter of much concern, since the entire work-force from the petty production sector will eventually get absorbed into the capitalist sector anyway. Hence preventing the growth of the capitalist sector in the name of protecting the petty production sector constitutes a retrograde step; it may be necessitated for “political” or “populist” considerations but it lacks any economic rationale.Read More »

Marx ratio

by David Ruccio

Occasional Links and Commentary | May 29, 2018

Marx ratio

First there was the Great Gatsby curve. Then there was the Proust index. Now, thanks to Neil Irwin, we have the Marx ratio.

Each, in their different way, attempts to capture the ravages of contemporary capitalism. But the Marx ratio is a bit different. It was published in the New York Times. Its aim is to capture one of the underlying determinants of the obscene levels of inequality in the United States today—not class mobility or the number of years of national income growth lost to the global financial crash. And, of course, it takes its name from that ruthless nineteenth-century critic of mainstream economics and capitalism itself.Read More »