Taking notes 34: The enlightened capitalist

by Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan Preamble Over the past few years, we have written a series of articles about the global crisis.[1] These papers try to break the conventional constrains of liberalism and Marxism, examining the crisis from the new theoretical viewpoint of capital as power. Capitalists and corporations, we argue, are driven not to maximize profit, but to ‘beat the average’ and increase their differential power. In this approach, the redistribution of income and assets is not a ‘societal’ side effect of the economy, but the central conflict that propels modern capitalism. And the main weapon in this … Continue reading Taking notes 34: The enlightened capitalist

Reading Thomas Piketty: A Critical Essay

by Zoltan Zigedy I should perhaps add that I experienced the American dream at the age of twenty-two, when I was hired by a university near Boston just after finishing my doctorate… Here was a country that knew how to attract immigrants when it wanted to! Yet I also realized quite soon that I wanted to return to France and Europe… One important reason for my choice has a direct bearing on this book: I did not find the work of US economists entirely convincing… To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish … Continue reading Reading Thomas Piketty: A Critical Essay

Taking notes 32: Beyond neoliberal miseducation

by Henry A. Giroux As universities turn toward corporate management models, they increasingly use and exploit cheap faculty labor while expanding the ranks of their managerial class. Modeled after a savage neoliberal value system in which wealth and power are redistributed upward, a market-oriented class of managers largely has taken over the governing structures of most institutions of higher education in the United States. As Debra Leigh Scott points out, “administrators now outnumber faculty on every campus across the country.”[1] There is more at stake here than metrics. Benjamin Ginsberg views this shift in governance as the rise of what he … Continue reading Taking notes 32: Beyond neoliberal miseducation

Taking notes 30: Privatizing the brain

by Steven Miller President Obama announced the next step in research of the human brain. This is the BRAIN Initiative – Brain Research through Advanced Neurotechnologies. The US government will finance research into the next generation of technology to map the human brain with $100 million in seed money. The next step is to develop new electrical, optical, computer-assisted technology to investigate how the brain works at the level of neurons to determine how they work and how they link up in neural networks. The current level of brain research is already pretty amazing. Without invading the skull, scientists can … Continue reading Taking notes 30: Privatizing the brain

End of Enlightenment? Not if we fight for it

by Angelo J. Letizia In a recent article, Dr. Henry Giroux argued that we may be witnessing the dismantling of democracy (Giroux, 2013). He pointed to the neoliberal assault on public education and the transformation of public education into workforce training for the global economy at the hands of state and federal law makers (Giroux, 2013). Giroux’s remarks are sobering. They may actually be more telling than even he realized. Perhaps the neoliberal assault on education is not the destruction of democracy, but rather something much more profound; it may be the end of the Enlightenment. While it is impossible … Continue reading End of Enlightenment? Not if we fight for it

Human Rights: A Marxian perspective

by Zoltan Zigedy For nearly three hundred and fifty years, human rights have been important, if not dominant, instruments in the endeavor for social justice. For much of this history, contestants have cited universal rights as marking their position on the field of struggle. It is equally important to notice that before the seventeenth century, social justice was more often than not contested in a language other than rights-talk. If Froissart’s Chronicles are to be believed, the Jacquerie of the French countryside and the English peasantry of the 1381 uprising knew no full-blown notion of universal human rights. Instead, they … Continue reading Human Rights: A Marxian perspective

Creating history through unfreezing it from neoliberal totalitarianism

by Angelo J. Letizia What is history?  History is only learned at the end, it is an artificial, man-made construct. It also may be our best hope, our salvation from barbarism. History does not descend from heaven, nor are we duped cogs in some grand scheme outside our consciousness. History is simply a story told by human beings about their origins. It is a record of what we as a species-turned-civilization have learned. History is a story told at the end, but in order for there to be a beginning, there must be education. History did not begin until we … Continue reading Creating history through unfreezing it from neoliberal totalitarianism

The spiritual crisis of capitalist civilization

by Jeff Noonan Human beings are integrally natural and social creatures, dependent upon natural life-support systems for their physical existence and socio-cultural life-development systems for the nurturing and realization of their emotional, cognitive, and practical-creative capacities.  Societies whose developmental dynamics become alienated from their natural conditions of existence face inevitable doom.  Oblivious to the ways in which their reproductive dynamics undermining the physical foundations of social life, they collapse the very basis upon which their institutions and value systems depend.  Let us say that any society which unsustainably converts scarce natural resources into tokens of social power (as, for example, … Continue reading The spiritual crisis of capitalist civilization