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Tag: fascist state economic policy

SYRIZA, the Left and the long, slow, painful death of the nation state

I have been reading this post-mortem on the collapse of the first SYRIZA government, Greece and the “SYRIZA Experience”: Lessons and Adaptations. My purpose was to see if I could gain some fresh insight into SYRIZA’s failure and some fresh idea of how to recover from that failure.

The writer begins on a good enough footing:

“SYRIZA failed to stop austerity and neoliberal transformation in Greece.”

Okay, how did it fail? According to the writer, SYRIZA failed because it chose to remain in power, thereby becoming the new, Left, face of austerity and accepting limitations of national power in the European Union and euro common currency.

TitanicIn perhaps less diplomatic terms, SYRIZA accepted the domination of the ECB and EC over the Greece nation state and the corresponding lack of any effective Keynesian economic policy in the middle of what can only be called a full blown depression. By accepting these real limits on its room to maneuver, rather than resigning office, SYRIZA threw away the opportunity to retreat gracefully once it realized it was completely outmatched by the EC and ECB. Thus, a defeat was turned into a rout and utter disaster for the Left in Europe.

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Deflation is good for you and here’s why

I had a short exchange with someone last night about this tweet on deflation:

@davidkorowicz: Deflation [here] we come, and though not polite to say in civilized conversation, the limits to growth are shadowing our present moment

The conversation the tweet sparked reproduced some of the most often made arguments for why deflation is an unwelcome development in a capitalist economy. Among the most important arguments was the assertion deflation will cut wages and increase debts.

The alleged mechanism of the negative effects of deflation on the working class are these:

  • Your company gets less income so they lay you off or cut your wages.
  • With lower wages or no job, your outstanding debts become harder to repay — which is a big thing if, for instance, you have a mortgage on a house or a car loan.

On the other hand, with inflation you get many of the opposite problems.

  • Inflation constantly increases your real cost of living.
  • With prices rising, you either have to get more frequent raises or work longer hours just to remain at your present standard of living.
  • With rising prices, you tend to become increasingly dependent on debt to make up the shortfall between your wages and prices at the checkout counter.

So which is worse? Losing your job and  facing wage cuts? Or working more hours just to keep your head above water?

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The Myth of Secular Stagnation, Part Two

In part one of my blog post, The Myth of Secular Stagnation, I explained the background to the debate among bourgeois simpleton economists. The stagnation debate among bourgeois economists begins with the Great Depression and Keynes’ characterization of the problem of the Great Depression as “technological unemployment”. The source of the technological unemployment was the improvement in the productivity of labor, the industrial revolution wrought by capital. For Keynes in 1930, this was not necessarily a malady in and of itself, it promised a future where labor itself would be abolished. The transition to a society of less work might be very painful, but the distress was only temporary.

By 1933, however, Keynes’ argument had changed: although he continued to insist that, technically, the “economic problem” had been solved he now focused on the problem of restoring capitalist profit. The Great Depression was no longer caused by the lack of investment opportunities, instead there was a lack of sufficient state deficit spending. The Great Depression, now having lasted 3 years, required state intervention; “a blend of economic theory with the art of statesmanship”.

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Mule-headed Marxists and Hours of Labor

Donkey CarrotCertain mule-headed Marxists in the Socialist Equality Party have made an argument against reducing hours of labor that they know or should know is complete bullshit.

That argument is that any reduction of hours of labor must lead to a fall in the material subsistence of the working class. They know or should know that this argument violates every assumption in labor theory of value,  but they insist on spreading it among the working class. Why they insist on spreading this complete fabrication is beyond me, but I am now going to educate them. At the end of my refutation, these “Marxists” will either concede they are completely wrong, or turn tail and run.

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Marx, labor and the problem with Kathi Weeks

Here are some more notes on Kathi Weeks’ book, “The Problem with Work”. I cannot say it is a review of the book, because, frankly, I could not stomach reading it past chapter 2. In my opinion, the book is a waste of time. This, I believe, is a shame, because I really think she attempted to make an argument for a movement to reduce hours of labor. However, her attempt is so flawed, it would have been better if she had not tried.


protestant-work-ethic-To be honest, I have no idea why Weeks began her book with a lengthy discussion of the so-called “Protestant work ethic”. When was this “ethic” anything more than a myth story through which the bourgeois class satisfied itself that its non-labor was “earned”? What possible purpose did she think was served by this chapter?

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How the state began systematically privatizing profits and socializing losses

In my previous post I showed that unemployment in the capitalist mode of production has its genesis in employment. Unemployment is not the result of a lack of means to employ the unemployed, but results from the fact that the steady bankers-dont-go-to-jailimprovement of the productive power of labor displaces an ever larger portion of the working class from all possibility of being employed productively.

In the mode of production, to be employed productively means the worker is employed directly for production of value and surplus value. It has to be understood that capitalism is not the production of useful objects in general, but useful objects only insofar as these objects also contain surplus value, i.e., profit.

With development of the productive forces — of machinery, technology, science and the division of labor — an ever larger mass of useful commodities can be produced in the same period of time. On the other hand, a given mass of commodities can be produced with a diminishing expenditure of human labor.

The capitalist is not concerned with the ever growing mass of useful objects that can be produced, but with the diminishing expenditure of human labor necessary for production. This human labor alone is the source of the profits that is the sole aim of capitalist production.

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Capitalism’s Dirty Little Secret: Employment creates unemployment

bushquoteIn my previous post, I argued the aim of fascist state “full employment” policy is maximization of profits, not maximization of employment. The term “full employment” is a deliberately misleading label chosen by the fascists to present the policies of the fascist state as necessary to promote employment in the interest of both classes. In fact, “full employment policies” do not in any way address the need of workers and are only designed to maximize the profits of capital.

This is a significant finding at odds with how the issue is often presented on the Left. To put it simply, “full employment” is only necessary for the working class insofar as the worker is treated as a draught animal to be kept constantly at work.

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‘Full Employment’ and Profits: An introduction

CTW-SpeakoutForGoodJobs-2coThis new paper, by Hornstein, Kudlyak and Lange, shows how simpletons are trying to minimize unemployment by constructing a new measure of what they call “resource utilization in the labor market”. The message of the paper seems to be clear: If you have no hope of ever recovering employment to pre-2008 crisis levels, explain it away with statistics.

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Employment or Profit: The Left must decide

employment-population-ratioEarlier this week, I had an exchange with @marissaluck7 about an article in the New York Times, In Tepid Wage Growth, a Potent Sign of a Still-Fragile Economy. The NYT piece is part of the debate over fascist state interest rate policy and, in particular, which is a better gauge for when interest rates should be raised: the official unemployment rate or the nominal wage level. Federal Reserve bank policy right now is said to be tied to the unemployment rate — which sits around 6.3% — while two economists, David G. Blanchflower and Adam S. Posen, make the argument Fed policy should be focused on changes in the nominal wage level.

For the Left, this is a phony debate: Workers cannot survive without jobs and the only rate of unemployment we should accept is zero. Hours of labor must be reduced until every worker who wants a job has one — no matter how much this hurts profits.

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Three critical comments on Zoltan Zigedy’s critical reading of Piketty’s ‘Capital in the Twenty-first Century’

bush-obama-imperialismA number of writers have attempted to critique Thomas Piketty’s Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century. However, I have found it a better use of my time to read and critique the Marxist critiques of Piketty’s 600 pages of worthless bourgeois simpleton trash. One theme that has emerged on both sides of the divide between Marxist and bourgeois criticisms of Piketty is his vague, semi-Marxian criticism of capital and inequality. This is probably something we need to clear up here and now. Piketty has nothing in common with Marx’s critique of political-economy. While Piketty spends an ungodly amount of electrons showing how capitalism creates inequality, Marx demonstrated something much more important:

Capitalism creates the material basis for communism.

Lack of clarity on this point must lead to some pretty bizarre results.

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