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#46 miki.bg

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 10:39:44

Yanis Varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist


 

 

What has Marx done for us?

 

Almost all schools of thought, including those of some progressive economists, like to pretend that, though Marx was a powerful figure, very little of his contribution remains relevant today. I beg to differ. Besides having captured the basic drama of capitalist dynamics, Marx has given me the tools with which to become immune to the toxic propaganda of neoliberalism. For example, the idea that wealth is privately produced and then appropriated by a quasi-illegitimate state, through taxation, is easy to succumb to if one has not been exposed first to Marx’s poignant argument that precisely the opposite applies: wealth is collectively produced and then privately appropriated through social relations of production and property rights that rely, for their reproduction, almost exclusively on false consciousness.
 

In his recent book Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, the historian of economic thought, Philip Mirowski, has highlighted the neoliberals’ success in convincing a large array of people that markets are not just a useful means to an end but also an end in themselves. According to this view, while collective action and public institutions are never able to “get it right”, the unfettered operations of decentralised private interest are guaranteed to produce not only the right outcomes but also the right desires, character, ethos even. The best example of this form of neoliberal crassness is, of course, the debate on how to deal with climate change. Neoliberals have rushed in to argue that, if anything is to be done, it must take the form of creating a quasi-market for “bads” (eg an emissions trading scheme), since only markets “know” how to price goods and bads appropriately. To understand why such a quasi-market solution is bound to fail and, more importantly, where the motivation comes from for such “solutions”, one can do much worse than to become acquainted with the logic of capital accumulation that Marx outlined and the Polish economist Michal Kaleckiadapted to a world ruled by networked oligopolies.
 

In the 20th century, the two political movements that sought their roots in Marx’s thought were the communist and social democratic parties. Both of them, in addition to their other errors (and, indeed, crimes) failed, to their detriment, to follow Marx’s lead in a crucial regard: instead of embracing liberty and rationality as their rallying cries and organising concepts, they opted for equality and justice, bequeathing the concept of freedom to the neoliberals. Marx was adamant: The problem with capitalism is not that it is unfair but that it is irrational, as it habitually condemns whole generations to deprivation and unemployment and even turns capitalists into angst-ridden automata, living in permanent fear that unless they commodify their fellow humans fully so as to serve capital accumulation more efficiently, they will cease to be capitalists. So, if capitalism appears unjust this is because it enslaves everyone; it wastes human and natural resources; the same production line that pumps out remarkable gizmos and untold wealth, also produces deep unhappiness and crises.
 

Having failed to couch a critique of capitalism in terms of freedom and rationality, as Marx thought essential, social democracy and the left in general allowed the neoliberals to usurp the mantle of freedom and to win a spectacular triumph in the contest of ideologies.

 



#47 miki.bg

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 12:16:08

10 companies control the food industry

 

Only 10 companies control almost every large food and beverage brand in the world.

These companies — Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg's, Mars, Associated British Foods, and Mondelez — each employ thousands and make billions of dollars in revenue every year.

In an effort to push these companies to make positive changes — and for customers to realize who controls the brands they're buying — Oxfam created a mind-boggling infographic that shows how interconnected consumer brands really are

 

behind-the-brands-illusion-of-choice.png


Edited by miki.bg, 11 April 2017 - 12:18:21.


#48 miki.bg

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 13:26:01

Evo neka bude i ovde.

 

 

Your Phone Was Made By Slaves: A Primer on the Secret Economy

 

On the new triangle trade, and the surprising connection between modern slavery and ecological disaster.



#49 miki.bg

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:29:49

Old economics is based on false ‘laws of physics’ – new economics can save us

Kate Raworth

 

It is time to ditch the belief that economies obey rigid mechanical rules, which has widened inequality and polluted our planet

 

Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut

Instead of growth at all costs, a new economic model allows us to thrive while saving the planet

 

 

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#50 desboj

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 04:19:17

Evo neka bude i ovde.


Your Phone Was Made By Slaves: A Primer on the Secret Economy

On the new triangle trade, and the surprising connection between modern slavery and ecological disaster.


Fantazija od teksta, između ostalog vrlo lepo opisani istorija i današnjica Konga.

#51 slow

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 08:05:48



#52 slow

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 05:58:24

THE POVERTY TRAP 
 
In economics, various examples of positive feedback leading to alternative stable states have been identified. Perhaps most important to  human society is the positive feedback in wealth that may cause a rich and a poor state to be alternative attractors." 
The traditional economic view is that wealth is determined basically by effort.
If you work hard enough, you become rich. Indeed, numerous success stories illustrate how famous people who started out poor achieved great  wealth through hard work. Unfortunately, those belong to the same category as the stories of chain smokers reaching old age in good health. They are the exception to the rule. For instance, in the United States, famous for its trust in equal opportunities, a son born to parents in the poorest 10% of the population is 24 times more likely to stay in that poorest group as an adult than to end up as one of the 10% highest income earners." A bimodal pattern of wealth is apparent not only for individuals, but also on various other scales. There are rich and poor countries, and this pattern has remained remarkably persistent over time. Similarly, within countries, there are often contrasting rich and poor groups, and within cities, there can be a distinction between persistently rich and poor neighborhoods. Traditional economic theory has difficulties explaining such patterns. Free trade should tend to equalize the wage rates of trading partners, and general regression to the mean should smooth unequal income distributions. 
But apparently this does not happen. More recently, new theories have emerged that may explain persistent poverty. They have addressed the puzzling existence of apparent poverty traps on various scales showing how poor economies may fail to develop altogether, why subgroups in rich economies may fail to share prosperity, and why a poor person may be unable to accumulate capital in a given society.'' The overall image is that a number of different mechanisms may be involved. For instance, on the level of countries, corruption and organized crime may keep entire societies in an impoverished state, and for various other reasons, poor economies may simply be unable to produce the level of human and physical capital to achieve a certain kind of economic organization needed to escape the poor state. Within societies, positive feedback may maintain inequality in power and wealth. At 
the individual or family level, income may all be needed for food and shelter, allowing no investment in education or setting up a small business. Although the issue is complex, many of the models in this field lead to the prediction of a threshold of poverty that separates the poverty trap from an alternative richer condition.
 
scheffer2-14.jpg
 
PRINCETON STUDIES IN COMPLEXITY
Critical Transitions in Nature and Society,
by Marten Scheffer

 

 

para na paru...


Edited by slow, 20 May 2017 - 06:14:44.