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Trekonomics

The New Statesman in December 2016 had Yo Yushi visit a Star Trek convention in Birmingham where he recalls amongst other things," In a 1988 episode of The Next Generation, the captain of the USS Enterprise, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), lectures a 20th-century executive who has been defrosted from cryogenic preservation about the Federation’s economic beliefs.

“A lot has changed in the past 300 years,” he says. “People are no longer obsessed with the ­accumulation of things. We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions.”


  The businessman protests that without money his life would have no purpose. Picard responds that “the challenge” of life is merely to “improve yourself”, and to “enjoy it”. If that sounds striking today, it was doubtless more so when the episode first aired in the United States, just a year after Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” speech in Wall Street gave the free-market Washington consensus its most abiding slogan.

 Socialists of …

Money cranks

Economic crises always have a falling-out-among-thieves with  different capital sectors seeking advantage for themselves by fixing capitalism’s problem on others. Many of todays radical economists pin-point the central cause of the problems of capitalism is to be found in the sphere of the circulation of commodities - a financial banking and consumer spending crisis, rather than at the point of production, where the Marxist locates it. They seek  to solve the social problem of capitalist production without changing the existing relations of production. Currency reformers of the Ellen Brown and Positive Money type wish to save capitalism by making changes in the monetary system alone and  reform capitalism by an alteration in the monetary mechanism. They ignore the industrialist capitalist and concentrate their attacks upon the bankers. They  propose to socialize credit and leave the capitalists in control of industry. It is a dream of reform shrinking away  from any genuine revolutio…

Marx and Economix

Marx saw the aim of the working-class party as the preparation for and organisation of revolution – the overthrow of the ruling class of capitalist – and the organisation of a new system of production, socialism. A working-class party explains why, so long as capitalist production, continues, the struggle between classes must also go on, while economic crises and wars inflict terrible sufferings on the workers; but that the conflict and sufferings can be ended by changing the system of production, which involves the overthrow of the capitalist class.

Capitalism evolved out of feudal times. The typical feudal form of production was production for local consumption: food, clothing and other articles were produced by the serfs for themselves and for their feudal lords. Any surplus was sold in exchange for articles brought in from other countries or from other parts of the country. But the main part of production was still for consumption by the producers and the lord who had feudal righ…

Marxist Economic Theory

What is Capitalism

Much of the left today have abandoned Marx. Many people who are against certain aspects of capitalism snatch pieces of Marx to give themselves a progressive legitimacy but being anti-capitalist does not really say much. It only begs the questions: how do we describe capitalism and from what angle are we criticizing it?  Much of the Left chooses to divide capitalism between good and bad ones. They replaced Marx's criticism of capitalism with a host of reformist and even reactionary demands peddled under this name. Academics have tried to convert it into a scientific sociology or an alternative economic science for the left wing of the bourgeoisie. Pseudo-socialist presented workers with repulsive examples of despotic societies in the name of socialism, like the Soviet Union, China and Albania. The result is to alienate workers from communism and cut the connection between worker and communism.

 Terminology is important to discussion and bandying words around with…

A crisis of capitalism

The problem of the crisis is gaining the attention of people worldwide. This is because the present crisis is of unprecedented scale, and unparalleled seriousness and tenacity, have struck throughout the world. Representatives of the two classes in society are seriously engaged in the study of this problem with a rare level of seriousness; economists for the sake of somehow forging a path to stable capitalist production, and Marxists to provide a scientific basis for their tactics in this momentous period. As long as bourgeois economists maintain their capitalist perspective, they are incapable of understanding the problem of crisis. We socialists pointed out that it was not the bankers and financiers but the capitalist, system which was at fault.
To-day, the recession is still as intense than ever, at least, in regards for the working class. Workers in countries all over the world are faced with a world crisis of capitalism. Now genuine questions of survival, issues of actual life …

The Swindled Scots Again

A previous post concerned the Darien Scheme. Not many Scots however know of Gregor Macgregor, Prince of Poyais, Poyais being not far up the Central American coast from Darien. Gregor MacGregor was born in Glengyle in Stirlingshire and claimed direct descent from Rob Roy. He was a soldier and mercenary who fought in the South American wars of independence. 

Upon his return in 1820 to Britain, he claimed to be cacique ["prince"] of Poyais, a Central American country that MacGregor promoted to investors and colonists. Poyais, was an independent nation on the Bay of Honduras. He claimed that a native chief King George Frederic Augustus the First had given him the territory of Poyais, 12,500 sq. mile of fertile land with untapped resources. Gregor presented himself as His Serene Highness Gregor I, Prince of Poyais and his beautiful wife as the Princess of Poyais. No-one questioned their bona fides; instead they were welcomed into the ranks of the elite and were the toast of socie…

The Crunch of the Matter

From one of our comrade fellow bloggers

Quoth Alistair Darling:
"The Financial Services Authority has announced a further increase from tomorrow to the compensation limit for retail bank deposits to £50,000 per depositor, which means £100,000 for joint accounts. That measure will ensure that 98 per cent. of accounts are fully covered."

Now, quoth Iain Duncan Smith:
"At the Dispatch Box, the Chancellor mentioned, quite rightly, that our protection covers about 98 per cent. of all depositors, but he will also recognise that we have significantly more money on deposit than Germany does. The reality is that that 2 per cent. represents a very significant amount of money. What concerns me right now is that, given the febrile nature of the markets—watching little things and then panicking—if they see any flight of capital, even that 2 per cent., towards Germany, it could cause another stampede and another crisis. I recognise the Chancellor's problem about indicating what he m…

Lest we forget - Hung out to Dry

The richest 10 per cent of the UK population increased their share of the nation's marketable wealth (excluding housing) from 57 per cent in 1976 to 71 per cent in 2003.

Over the same period, the speculative capital that could be deployed or invested by the bottom 50 per cent of the British population fell from 12 per cent to just 1 per cent.

The wealthiest 1 per cent of the population, on current government figures, now control more than a third of all the marketable wealth – and this ignores the vast sums held in offshore tax havens.

The New Economics Foundation has shown that global growth has not aided the poor. In the 1980s, for every $100 of world growth, the poorest 20 per cent received $2.20; by 2001, they received only 60 cents. Clearly , growth disproportionately benefits the rich and further impoverishes the poor.

Real wage increases in the top 13 countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have been below the rate of inflation since about 1970…

The days grow longer

The unpaid working time we give to our bosses .

Socialist economics is based upon the Labour Theory of Value which is the Marxian explanation of our exploitation . Unpaid labour is the source of all surplus value. Normally , this takes place in the work-shop or office from 8 to 5 but more and more the time of the working day is growing in ways that we are not immediately aware of giving to the employers . When capitalists buy a worker’s labour they buy the worker’s capacity to work for a full day . Nowadays , with factories seldom at your doorstep , workers are forced to travel to and fro their workplaces . This travelling time we also give free to the bosses .

The amount of time that workers spend commuting between home and their workplace has rocketed in the past 10 years, with millions of workers now taking at least an hour to get to the office, new research shows. TUC research found the number of people who travel for more than an hour to get to work has risen by as much as 40% an…