Posts Tagged ‘Marx’

Quote note (#149)

Welcome clarity:

It is now clear beyond all reasonable doubt that Hitler and his associates believed they were socialists, and that others, including democratic socialists, thought so too. The title of National Socialism was not hypocritical. […] Hitler’s discovery was that socialism could be national as well as international. There could be a national socialism. That is how he reportedly talked to his fellow Nazi Otto Wagener in the early 1930s. The socialism of the future would lie in “the community of the volk”, not in internationalism, he claimed, and his task was to “convert the German volk to socialism without simply killing off the old individualists”, meaning the entrepreneurial and managerial classes left from the age of liberalism. They should be used, not destroyed. The state could control, after all, without owning, guided by a single party, the economy could be planned and directed without dispossessing the propertied classes.

(They’re not on the Right, and they’re not our friends.)

February 15, 2015admin 60 Comments »
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Right on the Money (#2)

The most direct way to carry this discussion forwards is digression. That’s what the history of capitalism suggests, and much else does, besides.

To begin with uncontroversial basics, in a sophisticated financialized economy, debt and savings are complementary concepts, creditors match debtors, assets match liabilities. At a more basic level of economic activity and analysis, however, this symmetry break down. At the most fundamental level, saving is simply deferred consumption, which — even primordially — divides into two distinct forms.

When production is not immediately consumed, it can be hoarded, which is to say, conserved for future consumption. Stored food is the most obvious example. In principle, an economy of almost open-ended financial sophistication could be built upon this pillar alone. A grain surplus might be lent out for immediate consumption by another party, creating a creditor-debtor relation, and the opportunity for financial instruments to arise. Excess production, at one node in the social network, could be translated into a monetary hoard, or some type of ‘paper’ financial asset (producing a circulating liability). The patent anachronism involved in this abstract economic model, which combines primitive production with ‘advanced’ social relations (of an implicitly liberal type) is reason enough to suspend it at this point.

Continue Reading

June 3, 2013admin 81 Comments »
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The Workers are Revolting

John Gray reviews Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, and discovers an unfamiliar ‘early Marx’ (who anticipates Augusto Pinochet):

Writing in the Rhineland News in 1842 in his very first piece after taking over as editor, Marx launched a sharp polemic against Germany’s leading newspaper, the Augsburg General News, for publishing articles advocating communism. He did not base his assault on any arguments about communism’s impracticality: it was the very idea that he attacked. Lamenting that “our once blossoming commercial cities are no longer flourishing,” he declared that the spread of Communist ideas would “defeat our intelligence, conquer our sentiments,” an insidious process with no obvious remedy. In contrast, any attempt to realize communism could easily be cut short by force of arms: “practical attempts [to introduce communism], even attempts en masse, can be answered with cannons.”

Perhaps even more disconcertingly, six months after writing the Communist Manifesto: “In a speech to the Cologne Democratic Society in August 1848, Marx rejected revolutionary dictatorship by a single class as ‘nonsense’ …”

And in a final spasm of sanity: “over twenty years later, at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Marx also dismissed any notion of a Paris Commune as ‘nonsense.’”

Just as soon as they find his journal entry dismissing the Labor Theory of Value as nonsense I’ll be returning to right-wing Marxism with a vengeance.

April 25, 2013admin 5 Comments »
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