Where does the new interest in the “history of capitalism” come from?
I’d suggest the following rudiments of an answer. The financial crisis of 2008-09 has clearly placed certain issues of historicization on the agenda. If the accelerated and seemingly unstoppable drive for the “flattening” of the world through a process of neoliberal globalization since the early 1990s has not actually brought us to a permanently unfolding and self-reproducing neoliberal present, but has rather encountered severe structural problems, then how do we historicize this current time? That is, how do we understand the contemporary crisis of capitalism, in all its political and social ramifications, in relation to longer-run processes of capitalist restructuring and their logics of development and difficulty; and how do we locate the history of the present inside a larger-scale framework of periods and conjunctures? [more inside]
With roots in the laws of seventeenth and eighteenth-century England, intellectual property protections go back to the beginnings of capitalism itself.
The online magazine Jacobin
recently featured a three-part series tracing the history of property law and its contemporary manifestations. [more inside]
Ayn Rand has a fantasy in Atlas Shrugged of striking ‘creative’ capitalists, a fantasy that finds its perverted realisation in today’s strikes, most of which are held by a ‘salaried bourgeoisie’ driven by fear of losing their surplus wage. These are not proletarian protests, but protests against the threat of being reduced to proletarians.
The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie
in the London Review of Books.
A close reading of the text of Volume One of Marx's Capital in 13 two-hour video lectures by David Harvey.
(Two online so far) David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York. He has been teaching Karl Marx's Capital, Volume I
for nearly 40 years. Marx biographer Francis Wheen speaks on NPR
as to why the book remains required reading.
Never wanna work/Always wanna play/Pleasure, pleasure every day.
What happens when the jobs go away and don't return?
Should we take the surpluses generated and pay people not to work?
What happens to the assumption of scarcity when nanotechology
allows us to generate potentially anything we want from grass clippings?
Maybe Marx had it wrong all along. Maybe, instead of fetishizing work and the authoritarian mindset that it generates, we should have been reading Paul Lafargue instead.
Just as a thought experiment, what would you do if your job category disappeared? How would you spend your time? Would you invest more time and energy in friendships and other relationships? Hobbies? If you were your employer, what technologies would you use to get rid of your position and save money?
Whatever Capitalism's Fate, Somebody's Already Working on an Alternative.
"We may not know the region from which the next Marx will hail or his particular approach. But we can be sure that someone, somewhere will offer an alternative vision." You'll never guess what radical reformer the author has in mind. This is a very interesting piece.