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I started with a simple beat and it turned into something bigger...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/09/2021 - 3:49am in

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A story about how a simple beat I was working on turned into an artistic venture

It all started with a beat

I was out at the studio and I was just messing around with a simple little beat using this drum machine program that I have called Hydrogen.

Then wrote a piano line to go along with the beat and added this Calf Studio plug-in that's supposed to make it sound like old vinyl.

Then I messed around with a few more instruments to add to the song. One of them I added was a bassoon.

It reminds me of something?

As was listening to what I did so far a funny thing happened. It reminded me of something. 

I started thinking of the movie "Big time" the live concert movie by Tom Waits that he did for his album "Frank's wild years".

In particular, it made me think of the song "Shore leave" and that's a song I've wanted to cover for a while.

So I was like, what if I take what I have so far and do Shore leave? Do the version that's in that movie, not the version that's on his album.

I changed some of the parts that I had recorded to match the song, then added the vocals.

Then I got another idea

As I was doing this I started getting another idea. I've been looking for something to animate, I've been looking for a cartoon to make and I'm like, what if I just animated this song? What if I animated my version of what it would be?

I pulled out the tablet that I have and I drew this picture of the character that I would use for the story.

illustration of a man holding a hat

Now as I was working on the song I started storyboarding what the animation would be in my head. 

I was thinking not only of writing the song but what I wanted the video to do!

Set up the first animated scene using Blender Grease Pencil

I've been wanting to mess with the animation software Blender. Mainly with their grease pencil set up for 2D animation. I wanted to see what it's like? So I decided that this was going to be the project I would use to learn it.

I set up the first scene based on the drawing I did in the Blender software but it took me just as long to do this first scene as it took me to come up with the song! 

I didn't want to wait so long to do all of this.

(Watch the first 2 scenes here - FIRST 2 SCENES ANIMATED FOR SHORE LEAVE VIDEO)

I'll animate it as 6-second video segments

The animated segment I did of the song so far was only a few seconds long so I thought, what if i just animated it six seconds at a time? 

I thought of it kind of like an Instagram story or one of those YouTube shorts. 

What if I just created and released segments from the song piece by piece as I go along? Releasing these as I'm animating it! 

That's where I'm at right now. I'm gonna be releasing this song animation in short segments.

So that's the story about how I started working on a beat that became a much bigger thing!

-Tom 

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Moishe Postone, the Mode of Production of Capital and Cuban Agriculture

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/09/2021 - 7:00am in

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Blog, Cuba

In my new paper entitled ‘Moishe Postone, the Mode of Production of Capital and Cuban Agriculture’ published in Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, I dive into the thought of Moishe Postone as conveyed in his remarkable work Time, Labor and Social Domination to question his ambivalent proposal for overcoming the system of capital. For this purpose, I develop a sort of reading from the periphery, taking the experience of the Cuban Revolution in the agrarian sector as a standing point for the critique.

My article recognises the significance of Postone’s contribution for the understanding of the logic of capital and the renewal of Marxist debates on the theory of value. The focus on the sphere of production instead of circulation, the implementation of a rigorous systematic and dialectical analysis of the categories of value, labour, commodity, and capital, the emphasis on the social form of labour under the capitalist system, the difference between historical and trans-historical categories, the analysis of the ongoing reconstitution of socially necessary labour time in line with the treadmill dynamic and the distinction between value and wealth are certainly among the richest aspects of his critical social theory. The work of Postone provides absolutely clear and indisputable elements for a radical critique of the mode of production of capital which embraces the need to overthrow value as measure of wealth, surplus-value as the goal of production, and labour as a central form of social mediation. This is undoubtedly crucial if one wishes to address the devastating social and environmental consequences of a form of economic growth rooted on value as a form of wealth. Yet, Postone’s proposal for overcoming the capitalist system presents a series of ambivalences.

Postone contests those Marxist approaches arguing that the inherent contradiction between relations and forces of production refers to the capitalist relations of production becoming, at a certain stage of development, a barrier or a fetter for the further development of the productive forces. Consequently, the abolition of private property and market regulation would allow for the further development of productive forces. Postone rejects this idea of the mode of production of capital as a mere technical process that could serve as the basis for a new society. Rather, he argues that this form of temporal domination rooted on value entails the technological transformation of the means of production into a form adequate to the system of capital. A process that is completed with the emergence of large-scale industrial production as result of capital’s relentless necessity to reduce necessary labour time in order to increase surplus value. Through this material transformation of the productive forces, capital achieves its veritable control over the mode production. The real subsumption of labour under capital.

Yet, although in the first instance Postone criticises socialist experiences of the twentieth century for focusing on the relations of production without questioning the mode of production itself, he surprisingly reaches the contradictory conclusion that the overcoming of capital would be possible through the mere appropriation by the people of this technological development, resulting from the historical objectification of living labour into dead labour as the productive power of capital. The very same industrial production initially analysed as historically specific to capital becomes independent from the social relations that gave birth to it. Yet, for Postone the acclaimed emancipatory role of technology is not simply related to a better distribution of wealth, but to the constitution of a new social formation where the creation of wealth would rely on the system of machinery instead of the direct expenditure of human labour time.


Ramón González, 1973 | Comisión de Orientación Revolucionaria | col. Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba “José Martí”

So, what would be the impacts of freeing workers from labour via this socially general productive power? My article thus questions Postone’s proposal for the abolition of value. I interrogate to what extent the appropriation of this technology shaped by the logic of value is suitable for the constitution of a new social formation. Or, on the contrary, to the degree that a different social formation and mode of production should correspond to a different technological model. For this purpose, I call upon the Cuban experience in the agrarian sector after the Revolution in 1959. Indeed, the vast effort of the revolutionary government to improve the living conditions of the rural population and to humanise agricultural work through massive mechanisation, the industrialisation of agriculture and the implementation of the “Green Revolution” technological package did not come without contradictions. Hence, I use modern agriculture and Cuban development strategy in the agrarian sector to illustrate the limitations of the forces of production inherited from the system of capital and the negative impacts their uncritical appropriation can have in terms of nature destruction, workers alienation and people’s needs satisfaction.

In this way I bring into discussion Postone’s ideas concerning the movement beyond capital while reflecting upon the non-neutrality of technology. I look at the way the uncritical appropriation of this techno-organisational model shapes the kind of wealth to be created, the labour organisation, the content of work and the relation to nature. In addition, I examine the sort of unidirectional vision of progress for countries of the periphery with a low level of development of the productive forces and whether they should follow the path of advanced capitalist countries, increase their level of productivity, and develop their productive forces into an automated machinery system before envisioning any socialist alternative able to free people from work. This is without mentioning the devastating impact such strategies might have for the environment and the current climate crisis. Finally, drawing inspiration again from Cuban experience, I propose some modest reflections on the potentiality of the historically accumulated yet marginalised productive knowledge of small farmers and grassroots counter-hegemonic practices for the constitution of a mode of production corresponding to a socialist alternative.

The post Moishe Postone, the Mode of Production of Capital and Cuban Agriculture appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Special Workshop on ‘Negative Ontology’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/09/2021 - 8:00am in

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During the Past & Present Reading Group’s progress through Kohei Saito’s volume Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (Monthly Review Press, 2017), we noticed a lurking, recurring reference to ‘negative ontology’. This workshop is an exploratory session into this concept as it appears within contemporary debates around critical theories of the state, social domination, and abstraction. These larger theoretical debates form the conceptual backdrop for a deep-dive into ‘negative ontology’ through the work of Chris O’Kane (Assistant Professor, UTRGV).

Chris O’Kane has kindly accepted our invitation to engage in a dialogue with this workshop through the forum of the Progress in Political Economy blog. It is our intention to prepare, from the workshop, a set of queries and provocations for him to respond to, in much of a similar manner as Daniel López’s recent “10 Questions on Georg Lukács.”

All are welcome to attend the workshop via Zoom, and we hope to have a scintillating discussion.

ZOOM LINK: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/86459620456

On 7 October, 4:00-6:00pm AEST on Zoom we will meet to discuss the papers listed below and our reflections on ‘negative ontology’. These readings are available by clinking on the links below:

The post Special Workshop on ‘Negative Ontology’ appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

The Politics of Permaculture

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/09/2021 - 7:07am in

Permaculture, it might be said, is notorious on the left for its anti-political standpoint. Mollison’s Global Gardener 1991 documentary TV series shows him strolling across a misty paddock, reflecting on his realisation that political protests achieved little. Instead, he suggests, planting a sustainable food garden is effective grassroots action. So, why write a book on the politics of permaculture, a topic seemingly without a referent?

This book works from the premise that politics is not always channelled through a state, a discovery of the second wave feminist movement. Nevertheless, there is much to be said about the politics of permaculture as an attempt to challenge the capitalist system. During the last few years of dreadful lockdowns, I have been working on this topic as a sociologist. The Politics of Permaculture is now published and available from Pluto Press.

Through innovative agriculture and settlement design, the permaculture movement is defined through the grassroots activism that Mollison suggests. Originating in 1970s Australia permaculture has flourished into a worldwide movement working towards ‘system change’ through these strategies. This book is probably the first to unpack the political theory and practice of this social movement.

The Political Canon

Drawing on writings from the canonical texts of permaculture, the book explores the way permaculture is defined and understood by the founders of the movement. Through extensive interviews in the global south as well as in the metropole, I examine the way members of the movement constitute their thinking and activism in reference to these texts. These approaches are supplemented with analysis of web texts and the information gained through decades of participation in the movement.

Those outside the movement often struggle to understand the term ‘permaculture’. Most grassroots activists define it as a design science for environmental sustainability. There is a mismatch between formal definitions of permaculture, which equate it to the whole of the environmentalist movement, and practices that locate permaculture as centrally concerned with agriculture. Yet the truth behind this mismatch lies in permaculture’s distinctive view of the environmental crisis and its distinctive view of the solutions. Permaculture anticipates degrowth as the inevitable effect of ‘energy descent’. The canonical texts of permaculture favour decentralized grassroots activism over attempts to take control of the state.

Permaculture can be aptly seen as a social movement. How does permaculture operate? How does the network of permaculture people hang together? In many ways, permaculture is a classic of the ‘new social movements’ as they are understood by sociology. Networked, polycephalous and open. In all of this, very different from a cult. Yet at the same time, the foundational texts constitute a canon defining permaculture for activists.

Anti-politics

Permaculture is often condemned by the left for its anti-political strategy. Some in the movement endorse that strategic vision but more are moving towards an overtly political engagement. The anti-politics of permaculture amounts to a strategy of working within the affordances of the capitalist economy to inaugurate a movement towards a new social system. Economically, it relies upon the discretionary wealth of a middle class constituted in post war period and still present today.

Permaculture as a movement for system change hosts a range of visions of a post-capitalist society. Town and market bioregionalism is closest to what the canonical texts of permaculture propose. Popular in the movement today is hope for a cultural change driving changes in market behaviour – backed up by strong state regulation. The vision of a steady state economy. A minority of activists in permaculture identify as socialist or anarchist.

Permaculture favours grassroots interventions to prefigure a permaculture economy. These strategies have much in common with ideas promoted by left social theorists such as Olin Wright and Gibson-Graham. But my book takes a distinctive approach, considering these interventions as hybrids of the gift economy and capitalism. The achievements and difficulties of this strategy can be seen in a close analysis of case studies and interviews.


Golay Matsekete in Zimbabwe – a participant in the very effective Chikukwa Permaculture project, which is one of the case studies discussed in the book

In care for the earth, care for people and fair shares, permaculturists aim to practice sustainability through looking after all living species and all people. Yet, permaculture has been criticized for a failure to deal with the politics of gender and colonialism adequately. To what extent is permaculture responding to these critiques? How can permaculture grow by strengthening strategies that take permaculture beyond the middle class?

In addressing these kinds of questions, drawing on research in the field, I show how the strategies of permaculture in the global south help ground debates about permaculture. Its practitioners directly address how we might live sustainably in manifestly material ways. There is not only a politics, but also a political economy, of permaculture.

Image: Bill Mollison in Tasmania. Photo credit: David Holmgren

The post The Politics of Permaculture appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Is capitalism structurally indifferent to gender?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 31/08/2021 - 7:00am in

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Blog, Feminism

A sweep through key arguments about the abstracting logic of capital will yield a common emphasis, which is a stress on the “indifference” of capital to those it exploits.

For sure, this is evident in some of Marx’s own writings. Witness points in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts on how capital stands in an indifferent relationship to labour, with the latter existing as ‘liberated capital’. Or, equally, Marx’s more sophisticated remarks in Grundrisse that ‘since capital as such is indifferent to every particularity of its substance’ then ‘the labour which confronts it likewise subjectively has the same totality and abstraction in itself’.

More widely, though, this emphasis crops up in the writings of others, such as Moishe Postone, William Clare Roberts, or Martha Giménez. At first blush, it may seem reasonable to contend at an abstract level that capitalism is “indifferent” to the social identities of the people it exploits. But does adhering to this form of abstraction result in a flawed theory of labour and social mediation under capitalism? As Doreen Massey reminds us, is there an abstracting logic here that fails to recognise that the world is not simply the product of the requirements of capital?

We pursue these questions (and more) in our latest article in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space through an engagement with debates in Marxist Feminist social reproduction theory.

Specifically, we take issue with the arguments of Ellen Meiksins Wood who delivers decidedly contentious standpoints on human emancipation and the role of gender, race, and class struggle within and against capitalism. Take this point of hers in a volume on The Socialist Feminist Project:

The first point about capitalism is that it is uniquely indifferent to the social identities of the people it exploits.

Hence Wood holds that there is a structural indifference of capitalism to extra-economic identities, meaning for her that a world of gender equality and racial equality could be logically envisaged without portending the end of capitalism. To cite Wood again, from her magnum opus Democracy Against Capitalism, ‘capitalism could survive the eradication of all oppressions specific to women as women—while it would not, by definition, survive the eradication of class exploitation’.

In our article, we demand more Marxist Feminist curiosity about the so-called ‘indifference’ of capital to extra-economic identities and specifically gender relations.

Let’s briefly return to Marx and the case of Mary Anne Walkley in the chapter on the working-day from Capital, Volume 1. The suffering and death of Mary Anne Walkley, argues William Clare Roberts, did not result from her own individuality but rather from the circumstances that attended her labours, ensuing from capitalist exploitation and her role qua labourer. Hence the reassertion by Roberts that ‘the aim of capital—the realisation of surplus value—is indifferent to the particular aim of the labour on which it depends’.

However, we argue that the death of Mary Anne Walkley in 1863 from ‘simple over-work’ should be revisited. For doing so, would reveal a much more complex intertwining of expropriative practices of living labour. Not all labourers are alike, for Mary Anne Walkley is presented as a white slave, officially deceased due to apoplexy, but whose conditions of labouring constantly for more than 26 hours was due as much to garment making for the guests at a ball given by the Princess of Wales; or the gendered working conditions of consumption, undernourishment and malnutrition; or the forced supply of alcohol to her and other women to sustain their failing labour-power; or the demand for needlewomen (over men) to ‘conjure up magnificent dresses for the noble ladies’, rather than simply over-work and overcrowding within the capitalist specificities of the millinery industry.

Equally, when Marx conjectures in Wage Labour and Capital that ‘What is a Negro slave? A man of the black race. The one explanation is as good as the other. A Negro is a Negro. He only becomes a slave in certain relations’, he misses the explicit racialisation process. As Cedric Robinson argues in Black Marxism, the “Negro” is itself a construct that became an exploitable source of slave-labour power and colonisation prior to becoming centrally constitutive to racial capitalism. In sum, for us, racial domination and gender oppression are constituent underpinnings in the making of capitalism and a Marxist Feminist curiosity would immediately and easily reveal the specification of such relations of racial and gendered power as class relations.

Our article explores these issues by identifying two different routes within Marxism Feminism that reflect on the social reproduction of labour power. Our argument is that both these routes deliver a value-theory of reproductive labour but in distinct ways. These are:

  1. A strand of social reproduction theory that identifies a division between labour-power as productive of surplus-value and unpaid domestic (or unproductive) labour as not producing surplus-value (e.g. inter alia Tithi Bhattacharya, Susan Ferguson, Lise Vogel, David McNally); and
  2. A different set of Marxist Feminists that assert the inner character and substance of social reproductive labour as value-creating within the capitalist-patriarchy nexus as constitutive of commodities (e.g. inter alia Leopoldina Fortunati, Silvia Federici, Maria Mies, Alessandra Mezzadri).

Under the rubric that we categorise as a value-theory of reproductive labour we highlight the existing tensions within Marxist Feminism and the forms of struggle for living labour that flow from the value question between these two routes.

For both routes to a value-theory of reproductive labour that we identify, there remain different consequences for everyday spaces of living, producing, contesting capitalism. Our conclusion, though, is that capital is not unassumingly indifferent to the identity of those that it exploits as it works through the differentiation of, and discrimination within, the labour force.

The argument that capitalism is structurally indifferent to gender, or race, as extra-economic identities, is therefore a misnomer.

The key future task is to do more work to put the different routes of a value-theory of reproductive labour to work.

The post Is capitalism structurally indifferent to gender? appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Studying Political Economy at the University of Sydney

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/08/2021 - 9:23am in

What is political economy? How is political economy different from conventional economics? Why choose to study political economy? What’s it like to be a political economy student? Where can political economy take you in your life and career?

For Open Day 2021, current and former students, together with Chair of Department, Associate Professor Lynne Chester, answer your questions about the Political Economy program at the University of Sydney.

More information about the Department of Political Economy

More information about Open Day – 28 August 2021

The post Studying Political Economy at the University of Sydney appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Social Sciences Week 2021 events

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/08/2021 - 8:07am in

The School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney is once again proud to partner with Social Sciences Week Australia for an exciting week of public talks showcasing the diversity and relevance of social science research in our community and society.

Our political economists are involved in two panels on basic income and energy transition, and there are other events on the politics and inequalities of the pandemic. All events free, online and open to all.

From Bailouts to Basic Income?

Friday 10 September, 2pm – More here

 

COVID, Green Energy, Social and Natural Environments

Friday 10 September, 11am – More here

 

Emotion Inequality in Pandemic Australia

Wednesday 8 September, 11am – More here

 

Politics of bad behaviour – anti-vaxxers and the anti-science backlash

Monday 6 September, 1pm – More here

 

 

 

 

The post Social Sciences Week 2021 events appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Recycling crisis: Economy in the refuse of production

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/08/2021 - 7:00am in

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Blog, Environment

Rebecca: Here, everyone recycles. Now recycling is on the same level as spanking.

Orla: The environment and environmental causes were big from a young age in school. The whole Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It is now painful to me to not recycle something.

Rob: I do not like packaging waste and things of that nature.

Eric: Plastic is probably the thing that gets under my skin more than anything else . . . I hate how everything goes into a container and that’s the default in our culture and our stores. Container within container within container. It’s so unnecessary.

Gloria: Throwing stuff away really affects me. I don’t like throwing stuff away. It makes me feel ungracious and greedy and truly guilty. Spoiled! Because I know where it’s going. It’s never actually going away.

While I was conducting interviews for my research on household sustainability practices in Portland, Oregon, in 2017, I was surprised by the intensity of my informants’ emotions when we talked about household solid waste.  Recycling was a near-universal practice that—while frustrating, conflict-provoking, and time-consuming—made my informants feel happy and like they were “doing their part” for the environment.  Rubbish in the form of “packaging”, on the other hand, angered even my most laid back informants.  This surprising emotional intensity left me puzzled and with many questions, which I answer in two of my recent articles—one theoretical (published in Capital & Class) and one empirical (published in Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space).

In their 1976 Monthly Review article “The Other Side of the Paycheck,” Batya Weinbaum and Amy Bridges argue that shopping for household necessities is a contradictory form of consumption work, “structured by capital and the state,” (96).  What if household waste sorting represents the other side of the other side of the pay cheque—the final step in the unwaged household production process? I argue that the practice of sorting household waste into “trash” and “recycling” is an instance of what Nona Glazer (1984, 1993) calls “work transfer”—a reorganization of labour and day-to-day life by the state and industry in which production is shifted from industry into households without compensation.  Households provide recyclable materials as “free gifts” to industry when they do the unwaged work of sorting this recycling from undesirable waste.

Weinbaum and Bridges (1976) write that “capitalist accumulation creates its own necessities,” resulting in contradictions between social needs and the imperatives of accumulation.  Capitalist firms must endlessly produce commodities for the sake of realizing surplus-value rather than producing things as use-values to meet the needs of people. While commodities must also have use-values, they are not produced to “satisfy directly the needs of the producer, and [are] worth nothing to the producer as a use-value,” (Clarke 1991, 86). What differentiates a commodity from waste is not inherent to the physical properties or use-value of the object. From the perspective of the capitalist firm, an object is a commodity if it can be exchanged for money to realize surplus-value. This is not a permanent condition, as some items and materials may have value in one period or context, but may not be exchangeable for money to realize surplus-value in others. An extreme example of this is the devaluation of commodities that occurs “in the event of a crisis of overproduction, in which the commodity becomes worthless… and may be discarded or destroyed,” (Clarke 1991, 86).

We can see evidence of this in the global political economy of recycling, as campaigns promoting recycling and laws mandating household waste-sorting, over the past four decades, have been too successful. The current concern for municipal waste systems and waste management firms is an excess of materials in the recycling stream, as plastic and contaminated paper from the U.S. and U.K. have become an international “hot potato” (McCormick et al. 2019).  This overproduction of recycling threatens the profits of waste management companies due to an oversupply of materials that industry does not want and contamination of valuable materials with other household wastes in single-stream or improperly sorted recycling.

Contemporary recycling sorting transforms household members into unpaid post-industrial rag and bone men, sifting through domestic refuse to remit valuable materials as a “free gift” to industry and enabling the sale of the products, in which this waste is embodied in the first place.  In seeking to increase the quantity of these recycled materials, the recycling industry created the conditions that generated its own crisis of overproduction.  Their new task is to convince and compel households to take on a more intensive process of household recycling sorting that requires additional time and knowledge so that the recycling industry can forestall crisis and maintain its profits.  However, the looming crises of accumulation and waste are impossible to postpone forever.  The imperative of endless accumulation which realizes itself in the overaccumulation of capital and the overaccumulation of waste can’t be counteracted by siphoning off some of that waste into new inputs for production for profit.

While my informants take many steps to “undo” environmental damage and mitigate the environmental impact of their day-to-day lives, they are compelled to purchase commodities from the market—produced in one place and transported to another for sale surrounded by packaging—in order to survive. Recycling is ultimately a state-directed process of work transfer in the form of household waste sorting which contributes to the revenues of waste management companies and forestalls crisis, but the crisis-ridden imperative of accumulation remains.  The strong negative responses to packaging shared by my informants are perhaps evidence of the frustration and futility of their extensive pro-environmental practices—there is no real possibility of sustainability in capitalism, and their day-to-day survival requires collusion with the “polluters” and big corporations they despise.  The crisis of recycling can only be resolved if the overproduction of production can be resolved.  As I argue in my two recent articles on this topic, if the family-household was formed by capitalism and at the same time makes possible its continued existence, the path forward out of these crises must include transformations not only of the economy and society, but also of our notions of the household and family.

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Keynes and Marx

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 17/08/2021 - 7:00am in

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Blog, Marx

My new book Keynes and Marx attempts a constructive Marxist engagement with Keynes and Keynesianism. I’ll explain what I mean by this and how the book tries to achieve it.

Three attitudes dominate Marx-Keynes relations. I argue for a fourth.

The first attitude is one of mutual hostility. Seldom a genuine battle of ideas, this is more often involves a cursory dismissal, preferably ornamented with a few choice insults. For Keynes, Marxism is simply ‘illogical and dull’. Marxists reply in kind. Keynes was at best one of capitalism’s more subtle apologists. Expect contamination if you venture too close.

The second attitude is one of mutual appreciation. Both Marx and Keynes were fighting the good fight against a dastardly mainstream, using different language to say much the same thing. For John Bellamy Foster and Robert McChesney, ‘Marx figures centrally in Keynes’s analysis’. Now of course, there can be common cause, whether against austerity policies or for pluralism in the teaching of economics. But it is simply not true that Keynes ever took Marx seriously. There are some sharp differences in their philosophies, politics and economics which militate against a comfortable cohabitation.

Recognising this, a third attitude, says that Keynesians can appropriate Marxist insights. Perhaps best exemplified in the work of Joan Robinson, once we jettison that metaphysical value-theory nonsense, we can graft Marxist ideas about class inequality and economic dynamism onto Keynesian foundations to provide a richer account of imperfect competition.

I’m saying there is mileage in doing something comparable from the other direction. There are important Keynesian insights, which a Marxist critique can radicalise and then appropriate to provide a richer account of capitalism. I’m not claiming to be the only person ever to think like this, but there is at least a relative lack of serious Marxist engagement with Keynes.

There is an immediate practical problem. Keynes often wrote beautifully but his major economic works, the Treatise on Money and particularly the General Theory, are difficult books. They are not like Marx’s Capital, or for that matter Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, which may be daunting in their size, but which almost anybody could read, given the time. Keynes was writing for professional economists. And although the mainstream then was less ridiculously mathematical than it is now, Keynes engages with his marginalist peers on their own terms using their own language.

The first part of my book therefore tries to explain where I think – and these things are always controversial – Keynes was coming from. I risk a summary of the General Theory but explain this in the context of Keynes’s social situation as a proud member of Britain’s ruling elite; his politics, ‘small-l’ liberal but also Liberal Party; his philosophy, which I describe as an ‘inconsistent idealism’; and his attitude to his economic forebears, particularly William Stanley Jevons and Alfred Marshall.

I then turn to areas where I think Marxists have most to gain through a critical encounter. The first is on unemployment, which Keynes condemns as an inefficient waste of resources. For Marxists, unemployment is essential to capitalism to keep workers in their place. But simply invoking the industrial reserve army is insufficient. It says nothing about how varied unemployment can be. Keynes’s ideas of ‘unemployment equilibrium’ can help explain the inertia in the system, and why imperatives to accumulate are experienced unevenly between industries and across time and space.

Marxists can also learn from Keynes’s insights on money and interest. Keynes exaggerates the independence of finance from the productive economy and exaggerates the benign powers of the state to set things right. But finance has a distinct moment of its own and Marxists have tended to underestimate and to leave under-investigated the dynamic interaction of finance and the broader economy. States do make history, albeit not in conditions of their own choosing, and states’ influence on monetary relations are vital.

The final chapters turn to Keynesianism after Keynes, to why it went into decline and to the prospect of a return. A recurring theme is that there are an awful lot of Keynesianisms. Economic practices often bore only the faintest resemblance to Keynes’s own ideas. People calling themselves Keynesians can assert diametrically opposite things. Marxists will be familiar with the phenomenon. But this means that some Keynesians are outright intellectual and class enemies. Others should be close allies.

In an important sense, Keynesianism never went away. States’ responses to the global financial crisis of the 2000s and to COVID-19 show a capacity and readiness to intervene, quite alien to the pre-Keynes world of Britain or the US in the 1920s. There are real gains worth defending as well as Keynesian-type reforms worth fighting for. But what we came to know as Keynesian practices were typically the unintended outcome of profound social struggles. They were a hitting the moon by aiming at the stars kind of outcome. We should still aim higher, without expecting to retrace that path to the moon.

The post Keynes and Marx appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Modern Factories: How to Create a Favorable Working Environment

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/08/2021 - 10:10am in

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Working in the manufacturing industry is a way to take advantage of your knowledge and earn good money, especially if you are living in a well-developed country. However, some job-seekers ignore the opportunities to work in factories due to certain stereotypes and prejudices as to the prestigiousness of this job and the working environment there.…

The post Modern Factories: How to Create a Favorable Working Environment appeared first on Peak Oil.

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