About now Trump is probably happy for the first time that he…er, ‘lost’ the election…

Mark Milley

Let’s say you’re the President of these United States and you order your generals to leave Afghanistan.

But your generals tell you that if they leave Afghanistan all hell will break loose and the shit will hit the fan, yadda, yadda, yadda…

Nevertheless, being president, and being in charge, you look your generals in the eyes and tell them in no uncertain terms that by a date certain their asses should be out of Afghanistan and you don’t want to hear no more fucking discussion on this stupid subject out of them.

“Fine,” say your generals and salute smartly.

And they begin to hatch a plot to make you look like the biggest loser asshole president in the history of loser asshole presidents — I mean a real Kennedy-style Bay of Pigs fiasco to turn the entire country over to the Taliban as they walk out the door.

In the interim, however, this other guy — let’s call him “Jim-Crow Joe” Biden — steals the election and you’re forced to… um, retire to Florida.

Now “Jim-Crow” also wants to leave Afghanistan and the generals can’t convince him otherwise either. But thank god they are still in charge of all the planning and execution of the withdrawal.

And who is better to organize a disaster than the guys in charge of planning the entire operation in the first place — who were against it from the very beginning?

So, its all good.

The Fed is dead…

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For the past two years or so, Washington has pumped almost 6 trillion dollars of deficit spending into the so-called US economy.

Yet after this staggering bout of mind-boggling unprecedented stimulus, the Federal Reserve still can’t decide when it should begin tapering its bond buying program — much less try to move away from the notorious zero lower bound on interest rates.

Can someone tell me what monetarist textbook this insane policy is based on?

Can someone tell me why, despite the fact that Washington is running both fiscal and monetary policy at full-bore open throttle, inflation is barely registering on the dial and wage employment continues to falter?

Bonus points, if you can explain the implications.

Labor power, the Law of Value and social production as an emergent property

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Marx was emphatic that labor power is not labor; it is a commodity. But he was equally emphatic that it is not an ordinary commodity.

According to Marx, labor power is a peculiar commodity, what we today would call a superposition — a mashup — of the two categories: a commodity,“whose use-value possesses the peculiar property of being a source of value, whose actual consumption, therefore, is itself an embodiment of labour, and, consequently, a creation of value.”

Labor power is a social, scalable commodity; essentially, forming one homogenous mass composed of billions of individual units, each of which are assumed, in Marx’s theory, to possess the properties applying to the whole.

Also, unlike labor, but like commodities in general, labor power has exchange value, which, according to Marx,“resolves itself into the value of a definite quantity of the means of subsistence [that] varies with the value of these means or with the quantity of labour requisite for their production.”

In other words, the exchange value of labor power is equal to the value of the means of subsistence required to maintain it.

The consumption of labor power, the act of labor itself, creates both use-values and values, in the form of commodities. Unlike the consumption of any other commodity in the act of production, however, this consumption of labor power — its expenditure in the act of labor — does not simply pass into the value of the new use-values, but creates new value.

So, sharing characteristics of both the commodity (in that it possesses a definite value) and labor (in that it creates new value), labor power possesses a two-fold character.

And, like all commodities, it is the use-value of labor power, not its exchange value, that is relevant to its purchaser, the capitalist. Relevant for good reason in this case:

The use-value of labor power is the very premise of the capitalist mode of production: the production of surplus value, production of profit.


Continue reading “Labor power, the Law of Value and social production as an emergent property”

Biden could have issued an order to stop climate change in the time it took to mandate vax


Biden’s Covid-19 mandate was a surprising u-turn. In a single set of measures, he:

  • ordered millions of federal government employees to get vaccinated or find another job
  • ordered all federal contractors to follow suit
  • issued the same ultimate to over 17 million healthcare workers at hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid
  • forced companies with 100 or more employees to vaccinate their workers or conduct expensive testing weekly, a requirement expected to impact more than 80 million people.
  • required nearly 300,000 educators under the federal government’s Head Start Program also be vaccinated,
  • expanded free testing, including $2 billion to distribute rapid tests in community health centers, food banks, and schools.
  • doubled the fines against those who refuse to wear a mask when traveling

Had he so desired, Biden could as easily have dramatically reduce climate change with the similar set of measures. Simply by reducing the workweek to four days:

  • for all federal employees;
  • all federal contractors;
  • all employees of any private institution, or state or local government that receives any federal funds;
  • all companies with more than 100 employees; and,
  • imposing steep fines per infraction on any of the above that failed to comply

And, perhaps, one additional measure:

  • impose 200% tariff on imports from any country with a workweek longer than 32 hours.

This likely would reduce the U.S. carbon footprint well below its current impact.

The difference, of course, is that the Covid-19 vaccination is all about restarting surplus accumulation, while ending climate change threatens accumulation.

Does one simple rule doom capitalism?

GRAPH: Rules Depending on More Than One Relation
SOURCE: Wolfram Physics Project

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Now, I will admit that it is not very often that the term superposition is applied to a capitalistically-produced commodity by Marxists. In fact, I think I may be the only student of Marx who has ever used the two terms together in the same sentence, although I am prepared to be wrong about this.

The term is usually applied to physical systems that exhibit certain unique properties and some might even question that the term applies to the case of the capitalist mode of production for good reasons.


Well, according to the Wikipedia:

The superposition principle, also known as superposition property, states that, for all linear systems, the net response caused by two or more stimuli is the sum of the responses that would have been caused by each stimulus individually. So that if input A produces response X and input B produces response Y then input (A + B) produces response (X + Y).

Note the term in the definition given by the Wikipedia: “linear systems.”

The sorts of systems characterized by superposition relations are typically highly mechanistic, linear systems. System of this type, according to the Wikipedia, exhibits certain other unique characteristic properties:

A system is linear if and only if it satisfies the superposition principle, or equivalently both the additivity and homogeneity properties, without restrictions (that is, for all inputs, all scaling constants and all time.) (my emphasis)

The additivity property states that if the same amount is added to both sides of an equation, then the equality is still true. And, according to Wikipedia, “In physics, a homogeneous material or system has the same properties at every point; it is uniform without irregularities.”

Obviously, the capitalist mode of production is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a linear, mechanistic system; otherwise how could there be crises — periodic breathtaking cascades of disequilibrium that shake the entire system to its core? And since the mode of production evidently is not a linear system, it must be the other kind: a non-linear, apparently chaotic, system.

It would appear, then, that at first blush the term, ‘superposition’, probably could not be applied to the capitalistically-produced commodity, although the object appears to exhibit both the characteristics of a commodity and the characteristics of a capital — a commodity form of capital, with a price that appears to be determined by two — not one — laws of motion.

All is not lost, of course.

Continue reading “Does one simple rule doom capitalism?”

Just reducing the workweek to 4 days would cut UK’s carbon footprint as much as if all cars were eliminated


How much is wage slavery killing not only you, but the planet too?

Scientists have an idea, according to a recent article from the Guardian:

The introduction of a four-day working week with no loss of pay would dramatically reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and help the country meet its binding climate targets, according to a report.

The study found that moving to a four-day week by 2025 would shrink the UK’s emissions by 127m tonnes, a reduction of more than 20% and equivalent to taking the country’s entire private car fleet off the road.

That’s right. As world wide lockdowns to contain the pandemic suggested last year, reducing the work-week world-wide by just one day could basically end global warming immediately.

Wage slavery is killing you and the planet.