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

Taking notes 33: Budgets, values and visions

by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi The release of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget recently brings up once again the familiar maxim that a budget is, or should be, a moral document. I believe, however, that this statement, although true, does not convey adequately the most salient significance of a budget. I would contend that budgets not only shed light on our schemes of moral values, but also, at a still more fundamental level, bring to manifestation our guiding visions, our deepest views about the meaning of human life and the type of society we should strive to create. Moral values frame … Continue reading Taking notes 33: Budgets, values and visions

The security state and a theory of destituent power

by Giorgio Agamben A reflection on the destiny of democracy today here in Athens is in some way disturbing, because it obliges us to think the end of democracy in the very place where it was born. As a matter of fact, the hypothesis I would like to suggest is that the prevailing governmental paradigm in Europe today is not only non-democratic, but that it cannot be considered as political either. I will try therefore to show that European society today is no more a political society: it is something entirely new, for which we lack a proper terminology and … Continue reading The security state and a theory of destituent power

Takeover

by Steven Miller Capitalism in the 21st Century is no longer based largely on profits resulting from a real economy productive process, windfall financial gains are acquired through large scale speculative operations, without the occurrence of real economy activity, at the touch of a mouse button. — Michel Chussodovsky There are decisive moments in the history of capitalism when one form of wealth, one kind of property, becomes the most lucrative. The capitalists that control this property often become the dominant sector of the capitalist class and take control of the state, dictating policy to society. Marx writes, “The executive … Continue reading Takeover

To go beyond the capitalist state

by Steve Fraser “All that is solid melts into air” is even truer about the hyper-flux of everyday life today than it was when those words first appeared in the Communist Manifesto more than a century and half ago. Truer, that is, with one major exception.  In our political life we are fixated on the past, forever looking backward. Arguably, national politics over the last half century has polarized between efforts to defend and restore the New Deal Order and relentless attempts to repeal it and replace it with something even older.  The liberal left has fought to extend or … Continue reading To go beyond the capitalist state

After Occupy

by Jeff Noonan More than one year after the last encampments were dismantled, no material trace of Occupy remains in the cities where it established itself.  In the corporate media–once breathless with speculation as to the movement’s origins and intentions and loud in its declamations of criticism—there is now only silence.  A movement which was portrayed as having come from nothing has, seemingly, returned to nothing, having changed nothing.  The very social problems it denounced– widening inequality, the tyranny of finance capital, the totalitarian power of the surveillance-security state, the subordination of  democracy to money-value: remain or are getting worse.  … Continue reading After Occupy

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

Nightfall II: Endgame for the American Way of Life

by P. J. Laska After commenting on the mass delusion that characterizes AWOL (the American Way of Life) in the Post-Meltdown era (Nightfall: Dimming of the dream) this essay looks at the significance of the Occupy Movement and presents Istvan Meszaros’ analysis of the unresolvable structural crisis of capitalism as a way of understanding the system’s failure to act on our present science-based foresight capability by addressing the critical issue of our species’ metabolism with nature.  It then examines the demented logic of extreme technologies that consume fossil fuel in order to obtain the additional fossil fuel necessary to continue … Continue reading Nightfall II: Endgame for the American Way of Life

Money and the turning of the Age

by Charles Eisenstein As the economic meltdown proceeds to its next phase, we begin to see the unreality of much that we thought real. The verities of two generations become uncertain, and despite a lingering hope that a return to normalcy is just around the corner — in “the third quarter of 2009” or “by the middle of 2010” — the realization is dawning that normal is not coming back. When faced with an abrupt shift in personal reality, whether the death of a loved one, or the Gestapo coming into town, human beings usually react first with denial. My … Continue reading Money and the turning of the Age