A critique of Capital (3): Toward a moral economy

by Sanjay Perera
We return to the idea of general equilibrium and the transcendent nature of it espoused by economists and the problems ensuing from this. Another normative aspect to this for economists, in terms of what good a state of equilibrium can produce is highlighted by the so-called Pareto criterion. Continue reading A critique of Capital (3): Toward a moral economy

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A critique of Capital (1): The problem with economics

by Sanjay Perera
In the introductory lines of a textbook on economics are these words: “Are Marxists correct in arguing that only vast expenditure on arms saves the capitalist countries from a return of mass unemployment? Or have we now learned…how to avoid forever such devastating situations? Why, then, in the late 1970s, did unemployment in Britain, the United States and several other countries reach the highest levels ever attained since the Great Depression of the 1930s?” Continue reading A critique of Capital (1): The problem with economics

Taking notes 22: The need for a debt strike

by Richard H. Robbins The disclosure of critical flaws in a study used by economists to justify austerity budgets in Europe and the United States once again puts a focus on the role of debt in our economy. The study, Growth in the Time of Debt, by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, purported to show that when national debt approaches ninety percent of GDP, economic growth will slow. A new paper, by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin claims that the process that Reinhart and Rogoff used to select their growth data was skewed to support their conclusion and … Continue reading Taking notes 22: The need for a debt strike

Marxism: Dead or alive?

by Zoltan Zigedy  Twenty years ago Marxism was in retreat. Actually, it had been in retreat much earlier than the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern European socialism a decade before the end of the twentieth century. But certainly the dissolution of the USSR marked a dramatic and, for many, a surprising finale. Communism, the revolutionary expression of Marxism, was the official ideology of states that contained roughly 40% of the world’s population as late as the nineteen eighties. At the same time, in many other countries, Communists were formidable political forces possibly in reach of political power or, … Continue reading Marxism: Dead or alive?

Why socialism?

by Albert Einstein Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is. Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological … Continue reading Why socialism?

The capitalist life crisis

by Jeff Noonan The failure of the Durban Conference on Climate Change, (December, 2011) to agree to anything more substantial than that all nations would work together to develop binding targets for reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 is a metonym for the life-crisis besetting globalised capitalism.[1] Because global capitalism subordinates what John McMurtry calls “life-value”  to the expansion and accumulation of  money-value, it progressively undermines the conditions of planetary life-support, human life-requirement satisfaction, and meaningful human life-capacity development and enjoyment.[2]  Resources, relationships, practices, norms, institutions, and forms of life-activity have life-value when they:  a) satisfy objective requirements of human … Continue reading The capitalist life crisis

Life after capitalism

by Michael Albert “Most everybody I see knows the truth but they just don’t know that they know it.” — Woody Guthrie The British Victorian liberal thinker John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) tells us that we… are not charmed with the ideal of life held out by those who think that the normal state of human beings is that of struggling to get on; that the trampling, crushing, elbowing, and treading on each other’s heels which form the existing type of social life are the most desirable lot of human beings. The American social critic Noam Chomsky says he … would … Continue reading Life after capitalism