A couple of meetings and capitalist crisis, again?

Well, now that capitalism is now no longer imploding (well, according to some headlines in the papers), on to more serious business of selling magazines. The next issue of Black Flag should be ready for the London Anarchist Bookfair (18th of October). Which means that we have become bi-annual, as planned! Which is good.

To celebrate, I will be speaking at Housmans bookshop on the history of the Black Flag as an anarchist symbol and a wee bit on the history of the magazine at 7pm, Friday the 17th of October. I will be covering the appendix on this issue in An Anarchist FAQ, in case you cannot make it.

At the bookfair itself, I will be giving at talk on Kropotkin's Mutual Aid (in the 2-3pm slot). I was originally going to be speaking on the FAQ, but delays mean that it will not be physically there and so it was considered best to do something else. And Mutual Aid really is an interesting subject, particularly given that 2009 sees the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the 'Origin of Species'.

Hopefully, the FAQ will be launched in Glasgow in December. Almost certainly, in fact. Then a meeting in Edinburgh, then one at Housmans in London later in December. Excellent timing for the Xmas gift for the anarchist in your life :)

Of course, there is a slight possibility that this latest rebound by the financial markets will go the same way as the other interventions and the market will panic (again) over another crisis. Did I say slight? :)

Anyway, got this from a news report: 'Responding to the collapse of several major investment banks this week, John McCain reassured us, "I think still -- the fundamentals of our economy are strong." That move comes from an old playbook: On Oct. 25, 1929, Herbert Hoover declared, "The fundamental business of the country, that is the production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis."'

Opps! As someone at Daily Kos put it: "Guess how many fingers my invisible hand is holding up, Republicans?"

As part of my work on AFAQ, I have been in the lucky position to be able to cut and paste from it on a regular basis (and I'm not the only one, as I've seen bits of it crop up regularly on Wikipedia and other places!). Its a great labour saving device, if nothing else! So, section C has come in very handy of late!

I had spent the last ten-odd years researching economics and addressing these issues in theory and now the crisis is (yet again!) upon us, and my reading of post-Keynesian economics has paid off! Minsky? Yet, his ideas are discussed. Cutting wages? Discussed.

Anyway, here are a few recent articles cobbled together from section C of AFAQ, you know, on the off-chance that this wave of global relief on the markets for socialism for the rich proves to be as short-lived as the others have been over the last year...

Would cutting wages reduce unemployment? -- which is a summary of why the standard (neo-classical) account of unemployment being caused by high-wages is both logically and factually flawed.

Credit Crunch: The return of depression? -- which explains how the credit crunch happens, how finance capital works and how it can impact in the real economy. Explains that crisis can happen if capital is too strong (as now) as well as too weak (as in the 1970s).

And an older one, about the NAIRU, And the Nobel prize for economics goes to... Karl Marx!. I thought of this when I read a summary of a paper by a mainstream economist who concluded that unemployment resulted in workers being paid less than their marginal productivity. No shit, I thought! Where had I read THAT sort of analysis before? Oh, right, in Marx... Not that Marx would have had much time for marginal productivity theory, given its deep flaws

I have noticed a trend with economists to suggest theories which mirror the old socialist positions. I'm not that surprised, as the limits of neo-classical economics were obvious from the start. Their utility in the class struggle was key to their success and now that the class struggle seems to have died (or, more correctly,
the other side won, for now!) some economists are actually approaching the subject like Smith and Ricardo, as scientists. Still, we still have our fair share of ideologues defending capitalism (usually with Austrian accents...).

And if the crisis gets worse, well, will scientific investigation really be on the cards? Can the post-Keynesians manage to get their realistic analysis of capitalism mainstream? I hope so, as their work is by far the best I've seen around today.

Anyway, I thought I would share, given that capitalism is imploding around us.... perhaps. But it will survive, until such time as its abolished. Sorry, no inevitable collapse leading inevitably to socialism. Without an actual anarchist revolution, at best it will see a return to some sort of social democratic regulation. At worse, well, socialism for the rich and finance will remain unregulated (i.e., neo-liberalism continues but with, perhaps, better PR).

Still, it is funny to see McCain twist and turn trying to present himself as a regulating populist! Change? By voting for the same party and policies which produced the mess in the first place? That he is trying that shows how much Americans want change -- and how stupid Republicans think they are! But this is a good time for the anarchist message of direct action and solidarity to be raised -- well, it is always a good time to raise that message, perhaps now people will be more inclined to accept it and act on it!

Addition

Thought it may be wise to post some relevant, if old, articles on this subject.

First, there is an article I knocked together when the credit crunch first appeared (Stop panic in the City -- abolish capitalism!). Since then, the crisis has waddled on and state intervention has occurred again and again. Many mainstream economists have come to conclude that recession is inevitable, but then they were usually surprised when the housing bubble brust (unsurprising, as they denied it existed in the first place, just as they had denied the dot.com bubble existed as well). Still, the article discusses the state of the theory and this suggests why so many economists are continually surprised by crisis.

Second, there is an article from 2007 on the Bank of England proclaiming that workers will have to accept increased prices (inflation) and not demand higher wages. Explains why inflation, at its root, is caused by higher profits rather than higher wages. Probably good to cover this, as calls for us to tighten our belts to pay for the activities of finance capitalists will become stronger and stronger as the crisis grumbles on.

Third, a review of Steve Keen's excellent book Debunking Economics. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and combat neo-classical economics and its panglossian views as well as insane and crazy assumptions!

Lastly, a short critique of a SWP attack on Bakunin. Nothing to do with the current crisis, but thought people may be interested in it. Bakunin, for all his flaws, deserves better than ignorant attacks by ignorant Leninists!

  


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