Economics

Boats and Economics

In the middle of the night, a day or so ago, I had to get up to let the dog out into the garden. When I got back into bed, I couldn't sleep straight away, and thinking about different discussions I'd been having with people I thought about this analogy. It may or may not be useful when talking to people who don't know much about economics or socialism.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Huge Demonstration in Cité Soleil

Demonstrators demand return of Aristide, the exit of MINUSTAH, rehabilitation of all civil employees illegally dismissed, and freedom for all political prisoners.

Article and Photos by Wadner Pierre for Freehaiti.net

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Imperialism, Globalisation and the Value of Labour-Power

The Value of Labour-Power, The Theory

According to Marx, the Value of Labour Power is determined, as for any other commodity, by the amount of average, socially necessary labour required for its production. In terms of Marx’s Economic Theory, this aspect has always been probably the most contentious. For one thing, this distinction, between “labour-power” as a commodity, and “labour” as the source and “labour-time” as the measure of exchange value, is at the heart of Marx’s explanation of surplus value, an explanation which had evaded all the other Classical Economists such as Smith and Ricardo. But there is another aspect of the theory, which has always made it open to criticism from bourgeois economists. Marx says that included in the value of labour-power is an historical and moral component. In other words, as time goes on, and society generally raises its productive capacity, and along with it living standards, the minimum, that workers consider a minimum amount for them to survive and reproduce future generations of workers, necessarily rises. In addition, because different countries have different cultures, different rates of economic development, this level will vary from country to country. Bourgeois economists point to this as being necessarily vague, compared to the orthodox derivation of wage levels based on the demand and supply of labour, and further point to the fact that, because of the centrality of Marx’s definition of the value of labour-power, this weakness extends to the whole of his theory, and explanation of surplus value.

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Pa Ka Tann Operation calls for reinstatement of Persecuted Haitian Civil Servants

Hilaire Prophete, Spokesman for Pa Ka Tann Operation (OPK), reiterates the demands for the reinstatement of former public administration employees, thousands of who were laid off for political reasons by the Interim government of Gerald Latortue (2004-2006).

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Marxism at Work: Can We Manage Without Managers?

We all know that there is a lot of deadwood in the management grades on the railway. When we strike, we can shut - or at least disrupt - the train service. If managers went on strike, no-one would notice for months!

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After the new economy

Doug Henwood's book After the New Economy in review (New York, The New Press, 2003)

Doug Henwood, is an independent leftwing economic commentator and critic of capitalism. He edits of the Left Business Observer web site which he founded in 1986. According to Znet he was "briefly a conservative and a member of the Party of the Right, which manoeuvred his election as Secretary of the Political Union, but he quickly came to his senses."

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A fight that must challenge capital

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Robin Blackburn

Robin Blackburn, author of Banking on Death, or, Investing in Life: The history and future of pensions, spoke at the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty London forum on 17 February 2005.

The pension issue is the one which has proved time and again that it can get really large numbers of working people fighting for their rights and for a better world.

Robin Blackburn, author of "Banking on Death, or, Investing in Life: The history and future of pensions", speaking at the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty London forum on 17 February 2005

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Shorter Working Week: Making Workers Pay

Marxism at Work

All rail workers should be on a (maximum) 35-hour week. In the longer term, we should aim for even fewer hours than this – the next step should be a four-day, 32-hour week.

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Ideas to Make a Difference: No. 4: Capital

By R. F. Price

Marx devoted his life and health to the study of Capital. Building critically on the work of the classical economists, he aimed to set out a scientific understanding which would help the proletariat to conquer political power and radically transform society.

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Stock market chaos

In the capitalist bear-pit
by Martin Thomas

As I write, US share prices have been rising for a short while but are on average not much over half of what they were in March 2000, when the gaudy stock market boom of the 1990s first crashed. Trillions of dollars of nominal wealth have vaporised.

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A one-sided view of capitalist progress

I don’t disagree with what Chris Reynolds says about progress (‘New forces and passions’ WL63) but I think it is one-sided, in two respects.

Firstly there are, I think, two distinct notions in Lenin about the progressive or reactionary character of “imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”. One is the notion of “moribund” capitalism — that is, the idea that capitalism has exhausted its capacity to develop the forces of production (forced to adopt collectivist forms like monopoly, etc.). Chris rightly argues that if this were so the 20th century would be inexplicable. Capitalism continues to this day to do “progressive” work: developing production, innovation, and so on. Moreover, I would add that it would be impossible to function in the world without some notion of progress in human affairs.

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Forum: Capitalism: neither decline, nor progress

Some time in the late 80s various fragments of the Healy/Lambert tradition of catastrophist Trotskyism met in all seriousness in Paris for a conference on the theme “Have the productive forces grown since the War?” Chris Reynolds is correct to reject this kind of dogmatism, which flies in the face of reality and by which capitalism has been in an epoch of continuous decline since 1914. He is also correct to reject attempts to maintain the notion of decline by redefining the term and to insist on an analysis that starts from capitalism as it is rather than from our hopes of its collapse or the recitation of past classic texts.

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