Latin American Development in Historical Perspective

Nicolás Grinberg

Historical Materialism | April 05, 2023


The paper challenges mainstream theories of Latin American development, showing their theoretical weaknesses and pointing to their role in ideologically mediating the region’s ‘truncated’ capitalism. To that end, the paper presents an alternative view of Latin American development that starts by considering capitalist social reproduction as a worldwide process and regional/national politico-economic development as mediations in the structuring of global capital accumulation. Latin America’s specific variety of capitalism is understood to have emerged from its original transformation by expanding European capital into a place to produce raw materials under favourable natural conditions. On the one hand, this has reduced their price and that of the labour-power directly or indirectly consuming them; on the other, it has resulted in a flow of surplus-value towards the owners of those natural conditions of production. The historical development of Latin American societies has expressed the partial overcoming of that antagonistic relationship between rent-paying capital and rent-appropriating landed property.

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The Future Is the Termination Shock: On the Antinomies and Psychopathologies of Geoengineering. Part One

Historical Materialism | 28 December 2022

As capitalist society remains incapable of addressing climate breakdown, one measure is waiting in the wings: solar geoengineering. No other technology can cut global temperatures immediately. It would alleviate the symptoms of the crisis, not its causes. But might it be combined with radical emissions cuts? This essay, the first instalment of two, scrutinises the rationalist-optimist case for geoengineering: the idea that soot planes in the sky can shield the Earth from the worst heat while society rids itself of fossil fuels. A more likely outcome is that they encourage business-as-usual to continue, while negative side-effects from geoengineering itself pile up. The logic of the enterprise points in the direction of a catastrophic termination shock. A subsequent, second instalment will subject geoengineering to a materialist psychoanalysis and argue that it represents a fantasy of repression, setting itself up for a dreadful return of the repressed.

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Why 3 US banks collapsed in 1 week: Economist Michael Hudson explains

Geopolitical Economy Report | March 15, 2023

Economist Michael Hudson analyzes the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Silvergate, and Signature Bank, explaining the similarities to the 2008 financial crash. He also addresses the US government bailout (which it isn’t calling a bailout), the role of the Federal Reserve and Treasury, the factor of cryptocurrency, and the danger of derivatives.


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Tale of two workers or workers’ tale

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | March 10, 2023

What are workers? Are they human beings? Do they have only a bundle of muscles but, no brains? How do they feel and how do they think? Do they think at all? What do they face in their life – in factories, in foundries and other shops, in assembly lines, in unions?

Workers’ answers to the questions above differ from the response the workers’ masters present. The factor that draws the delineating line is, in short, class position, which is often blurred while discussing issues of life and work, be it related to workplace or economic program, politics or social initiatives, charity, cooperative, ideology or culture.

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What the Silicon Valley Bank collapse means for science start-ups

Bailouts mean customers’ deposits are safe, but the bank’s demise has sparked concern about future investment in small tech companies.

Katharine Sanderson

Nature | March 14, 2023

Customers queued to withdraw money from Silicon Valley Bank when the collapse was announced.Credit: Xinhua/Shutterstock

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) late on 10 March sent science and technology start-up companies into chaos, and has left many questioning where investment will come from in future.

Regulators closed the bank after several days of turmoil following an announcement that it needed to raise US$2 billion to cover debts due to rising interest rates. This led to a run on the bank as several large venture-capital firms advised their clients to withdraw funds.

SVB was known for funding technology start-ups. Its location in Silicon Valley, a region in the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California, meant that many of these were green-energy or biotech companies.

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COVID-19 And The Failure Of The Neoliberal Regulatory State

Lee Jones and Shahar Hameiri

Progress in Political Economy | February 09, 2023

We are delighted and very grateful to receive the 2022 AIPEN Richard Higgott Prize for our article “COVID-19 and the failure of the neoliberal regulatory state,” published in the journal, Review of International Political Economy. It is getting harder to remember just how extraordinary, and extraordinarily awful, the response to COVID-19 was in so many countries, and the sense of shock and disbelief that accompanied every step towards lockdowns and closed borders in the early months of 2020. This article documents our real-time effort, through the ‘fog of war’ of the pandemic’s first year and in the darkness of lockdown, to make sense of a reality that we were living through that seemed to make little sense: How come the world’s richest societies, governed by states rated by international technocrats and scientists as being among the best prepared for a pandemic, failed so abysmally to respond to a challenge they had notionally been anticipating for many years? In short, how did we end up in this mess?

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The New Irrationalism

John Bellamy Foster

Monthly Review | 2023Volume 74, Issue 09 (February)

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, forty-third etching in Francisco Goya’s satirical Los Caprichos (1799). Cover design dedicated to John J. Simon.

More than a century after the commencement of the Great Crisis of 1914–1945, represented by the First World War, the Great Depression, and Second World War, we are seeing a sudden resurgence of war and fascism across the globe. The capitalist world economy as a whole is now characterized by deepening stagnation, financialization, and soaring inequality. All of this is accompanied by the prospect of planetary omnicide in the dual forms of nuclear holocaust and climate destabilization. In this dangerous context, the very notion of human reason is frequently being called into question. It is therefore necessary to address once again the question of the relation of imperialism or monopoly capitalism to the destruction of reason and the ramifications of this for contemporary class and anti-imperialist struggles.

In 1953, Georg Lukács, whose 1923 History and Class Consciousness had inspired the Western Marxist philosophical tradition, published his magisterial work, The Destruction of Reason, on the close relation of philosophical irrationalism to capitalism, imperialism, and fascism.1 Lukács’s work set off a firestorm among Western left theorists seeking to accommodate themselves to the new American imperium. In 1963, George Lichtheim, a self-styled socialist operating within the general tradition of Western Marxism while virulently opposed to Soviet Marxism, wrote an article for Encounter Magazine, then covertly funded by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in which he vehemently attacked The Destruction of Reason and other works by Lukács. Lichtheim accused Lukács of generating an “intellectual disaster” with his analysis of the historical shift from reason to unreason within European philosophy and literature, and the relation of this to the rise of fascism and the new imperialism under U.S. global hegemony.2

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