A tightening world

Michael Roberts Blog | June 18, 2022

It’s been a big week for the major central banks. First, the European Central Bank (ECB) called an emergency meeting because government bond yields were rising sharply in the more indebted Eurozone economies like Italy and Spain.  That threatens to deliver a new sovereign debt crisis as happened after the Great Recession from 2010-2014, leading to the Greek nightmare.

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Biden Funnels MORE Money To His Donors By Hiking Medicare Prices To Record Level

Even The Young Turks—a Democrat-backed outlet— is denouncing this outrageous premium hike, falling on poorer people living on fixed incomes

The Young Turks | June 14, 2022

The Biden Administration stealthily hiked Medicare premiums to their highest prices ever while simultaneously pushing to funnel even more money into the private health insurance industry, further privatizing the government insurance program. It’s also important to note that Biden took around $47 million on legalized bribes from health care executives during his 2020 presidential campaign. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.

“Last week, the Biden administration quietly reaffirmed its decision to enact the highest Medicare premium hikes in history right before this year’s midterm elections. At the same time, President Joe Biden is endorsing a plan to funnel significantly more Medicare money to insurance companies and further privatize the government insurance program for older Americans and those with disabilities. In effect, the higher premium increases will subsidize the larger payments to — and profits for — private insurance corporations. This comes after Biden raked in roughly $47 million from health care industry executives during his 2020 campaign. The Biden administration announced on May 27 that due to “legal and operational hurdles,” Medicare recipients won’t see their premiums lowered this year, even though that rate was originally hiked last November in large part due to the projected costs of paying for a controversial Alzheimer’s drug that Medicare now says it generally will not cover. The administration’s announcement comes as Biden officials move forward with a jolting 8.5 percent hike in payments made to private insurers operating Medicare Advantage plans next year.”

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Capital Hates Everyone: Fascism or Revolution

Maurizio Lazzarato

Semiotext(e), South Pasadena, 2021. 247 pp., $15.95 pb
ISBN 9781635901382

Reviewed by Conor Bean

Marx & Philosophy Review of Books | June 11, 2022

For a decade now Maurizio Lazzarato’s analyses have been swiftly translated into English after a period of relative lag in uptake in the anglophone world, a case of missed connection in the flurry of importing French and Italian radical thought. His reception has picked up speed because he writes passionately in a polemical tenor that makes for quick and punchy reading, although much of the analysis relies on technical terminology from contemporary European philosophy that renders accessibility elusive at times. The rapidity of translation via the Semiotex(e) Intervention Series has resonated with the conjunctural nature of Lazzarato’s writing, as he has moved swiftly to make sense of a shifting political terrain in theory and providing assessments of radical political movements. Capital Hates Everyone: Fascism or Revolution offers a political intervention in the sense of taking stock of contemporary tendencies and putting forth a set of strategic concerns animating a politics for the moment of its writing. As such, Capital Hates Everyone might be best read as a historical appraisal of a particular conjuncture in which the threat of ascendent fascist tendencies in global politics meets the continuing dominance of neoliberalism, while protest movements like the Gilets jaunes in France struggle to find a footing. In the book’s introduction, the ‘yellow vests’ movement roiling France at the time of the book’s writing is instructive in multiple ways. First, far from being a model of future organization, the yellow vests movement demonstrates some of the weaknesses and temptations found in what Lazzarato describes as ‘68 thought’, the proliferation of leftist political theories and organizational models in Western Europe since the failed pre-revolutionary moment of 1968. More than this, however, the response of the French state to these protests has laid bare the depth of ‘class hatred’, the affective revulsion of capitalism’s managers for any insurgent activity, along with the strategic lengths they will go to erase political possibilities beyond the neoliberal consensus (9-10). Hence the title, Capital Hates Everyone. For Lazzarato, anti-capitalists must reckon with the intensity of reaction that capitalists can rouse among themselves and in new fascist movements that seek nothing less than the liquidation of dissent.

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Environment and war today

Farooque Chowdhury

Countercurrents | June 05, 2022

War environs environment.

War destructs and demolishes life, all forms of environment. It’s war’s powerful approach to contradictions within and with environment surrounding life. Wars including the current Ukraine War bear this signature of destruction of and on environment and ecology. The first victim is life; and, then comes surroundings of life that help sustain life. Activities to secure, nourish and sustain environment are hampered/suspended during war, and in war zones also.

Military activities, preparatory to war including training/drills/exercises, itself is threat to environment and ecology. Military/war expenditure is in direct and hostile contradiction with environment and ecology. The expenditure takes away a lot of resources, which can be allocated for life, steps to nourish and secure environment and ecology. The sphere of destruction of environment and ecology widens as the sphere of war widens. Today’s Ukraine is the witness. Iraq and Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Vietnam are witnesses. Hiroshima and Nagasaki stand as witnesses.

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Karl Marx: Historian of Social Times and Spaces

Red May TV | May 13, 2022

Drawing on current perspectives in philosophy of history and a rigorous reading of Karl Marx’s oeuvre, George Garcia-Quesada’s recent book, Karl Marx, Historian of Social Times and Spaces, demolishes the all-too-common portrayal of Marx as an evolutionary determinist. By unpacking Marx’s concepts of social space and social time, he highlights the ways it can explain dynamics of complex multilinear development of human societies and of capitalism in particular. Cordelia Belton and Edwad, hosts of the podcast REEL ABSTRACTION, lead an inquiry into the book and consult with Massimiliano Tomba, whose own book, Marx’s Temporalities shows that an adequate historiographical paradigm for capitalism must consider the plurality of temporal layers that come into conflict in modernity.

George Garcia Quesada, Massimiliano Tomba, Edwad, Cordelia Belton

SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rswhe2trn8A

[THIS ARTICLE IS POSTED HERE FOR NON-PROFIT, NON-COMMERCIAL, EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THAT OF ITS AUTHOR(S) AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEW OF THE JOP]

Marx’s Capital Lecture 1 Historical Introduction and Overview

Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice | February 09, 2022

363 views Feb 9, 2022 The Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) is pleased to host a series of public lectures on Volume 1 of Marx’s Capital, given by the political economist and activist Andy Higginbottom. This is the first lecture of the Marx’s Capital Lecture series, held on 7th February 2022.

To sign up for CSSGJ events, please go to our website http://www.cssgj.org

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Has globalisation ended?

Michael Roberts Blog | April 27, 2022

Apart from inflation and war, what grips current economic thought is the apparent failure of what mainstream economics likes to call ‘globalisation’.  What mainstream economics means by globalisation is the expansion of trade and capital flows freely across borders.  In 2000, the IMF identified four basic aspects of globalisation: trade and transactionscapital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge.  All these components apparently took off from the early 1980s as part of the ‘neoliberal’ reversal of previous national macro-management policies adopted by governments in the environment of the Bretton Woods world economic order (ie US hegemony).  Then the call was to break down tariff barriers, quotas and other trade restrictions and allow the multi-nationals to trade ‘freely’ and to switch their investments abroad to cheap labour areas to boost profitability.  This would lead to global expansion and harmonious development of the productive forces and resources of the world, it was claimed.

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Book Review

Work Without the Worker: Labour in the Age of Platform Capitalism

Phil Jones

Verso, London, 2021. 144 pp., £10.99 hb
ISBN 9781839760433

Reviewed by Katjo Buissink

Imagine a factory, employing hundreds or even thousands of workers, suddenly disappearing overnight. Its employees would find themselves without their next expected pay cheque and with zero right of appeal to a manager or HR representative. Even the most malfeasant industrialist would struggle to accomplish this. Yet for those working within the platform economy, completing many small digital tasks for often anonymised companies in exchange for subsistence level piece wages, the disappearance of an ‘employer’ along with promised wages is not as fantastic. It simply requires the corporation to delete their account on the platform within which a worker was hired.

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The Danger of Fossil Fascism

Understanding the growing combination of racism, climate science denial, and fossil fuel promotion

Andreas Malm and the Zetkin Collective
WHITE SKIN, BLACK FUEL
On the Danger of Fossil Fascism

Verso Books, 2021

reviewed by Martin Empson

Climate and Capitalism | March 26, 2022

As regular readers of my blog will be aware, I think that Andreas Malm, even where I disagree with key points of his argument, is one of the most stimulating Marxist authors on environmental politics. So it was with eager anticipation that I looked forward to this new publication “one the dangers of fossil fascism” that Malm has co-authored with the network the Zetkin Collective, a group of scholars and activists “working on the political ecology of the far right.”

The book does multiple things. It opens with a study of the far-right and fascist movements and looks at their “anti-climate politics” and asks “what would it mean to live in a world both hotter and further to the right” than it is today. It argues that the far-right’s fixation with anti-climate views is closely tied to its anti-immigration perspective and the way that developing capitalism associated technology (and particularly fossil fuel technologies) with white supremacy. The authors argue in the introduction:

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Yet Another Contradiction of Capitalism

Prabhat Patnaik

IN the United States there are still four million persons who remain unemployed compared to before the pandemic; and yet the Biden administration’s attempt to stimulate the economy has already run into a crisis with the re-emergence of inflation not just in that country but elsewhere in the capitalist world as well. The Federal Reserve Board (the equivalent of the US central bank) is planning soon to raise interest rates (that are currently close to zero), and even the fiscal expansion will be difficult to sustain in the face of inflation. All this will truncate the recovery that has been taking place. In other words, the ability of the State even in the leading capitalist country of the world, whose currency is “as good as gold” and which should therefore have no fears of any debilitating capital flight, to stimulate activity within its own borders, has become seriously constrained.

This is a new basic contradiction that has emerged in world capitalism and deserves serious attention. The prognostication of John Maynard Keynes, the most important bourgeois economist of the twentieth century, that even though capitalism in its spontaneity was a flawed system that kept large masses of workers unemployed, State intervention could fix this flaw, had already been negated by the globalisation of finance. Facing a nation-State, globalised finance had enfeebled that State sufficiently to prevent its intervention for overcoming the deficiency of aggregate demand. But the one State that still appeared to have the capacity to intervene was the US State because its currency was considered even by globalised finance to be “as good as gold” and hence intervention by it would not trigger any serious exodus of finance. But now, it seems, even that prospect has vanished. Let us see why.

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