Economics

Marxist economists analyse the crisis

Financial crisis

Author: 

Costas Lapavitsas/Leo Panitch/Fred Moseley/Michel Husson/Andrew Kliman/David Laibman/Simon Mohun/Trevor Evans/Robert Brenner

Antecedents and sequels of the crisis: discussion notes by Martin Thomas on the first two "rounds", November 2010.
December 2008 onwards: second comments, and some new contributors
1. Michel Husson: The Crisis of Neo-Liberal Capitalism
Andrew Kliman and David Laibman are new contributors, and Michel Husson, Fred Moseley, Leo Panitch, and Costas Lapavitsas present second thoughts, in a symposium also including Simon Mohun, Trevor Evans, Robert Brenner, and Dick Bryan.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Fair trade, free trade, and socialism

Author: 

Paul Hampton

Trade is a vital part of the neoliberal economic, political and ideological regime that now dominates the world economy and most national states.

In this pamphlet we try to grasp the essential features of the world economy, especially relating to trade issues.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

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“Red warning” on economy

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Prime Minister David Cameron has used the occasion of the G20 summit of big-power governments in Brisbane to declare that "red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy", as in 2008.

"The eurozone is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession... Emerging markets [like Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa...] are now slowing down... [There is] instability and uncertainty".

The most likely focus for a new financial crash is China, where over-investment and bad debt have ballooned. There is no special reason visible why it should happen soon, but no guarantee that it won’t. More likely than a crash, in fact almost certain, is continuing dull depression.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

The Russian dolls of inequality

Author: 

Matt Cooper

In Capital in the Twenty First Century, Thomas Piketty argued that the very richest in society are accumulating greater and greater wealth. As more wealth is handed down from rich parents to their heirs, as governments do less to tax this wealth, an increasing proportion of society’s resources become concentrated in the hands of the few, the 0.1% of the very richest.

Mainstream economists have criticised this idea, but now a study of wealth in the USA has suggested that, if anything, Piketty has underestimated the degree to which the wealth of the US’s ruling class is growing.

How inequality is increasing in the US.

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Around the world: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Prospects and the “decisive element”

Extracts from a document to be discussed at the AWL’s annual conference on 25-26 October.

On average workers' real wages fell 8.2% between 2008 and 2013. The median (middling) worker lost £2000 a year. But for many workers it has been much worse.

For the 18-25 age range, the average drop was 14%; for 25- 29, it was 12%. Public sector wages have fallen by 15%.

Marxist Theory and History: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

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Basic income and the 21st century working class

Author: 

John Cunningham

Until reading Guy Standing’s book A Precariat Charter I had not come across the term “precariat” although I understand that it has been in circulation for some time, as early as the 1950s. So what is it?

According to Standing, the precariat is “an emerging class characterised by chronic insecurity, detached from old norms of labour and the working class”. The precariat has few of the democratic rights associated with citizens and are, in fact, denizens — another word that had me reaching for the dictionary.

A review of A Precariat Charter by Guy Standing (Bloomsbury, 2014).

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Culture and Reviews: 

Marxist Theory and History: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

The real price of gold

Author: 

Kieran Miles

The pursuit of gold has led to great exploitation throughout history.

From the demands of the Pharaohs to be buried with enormous wealth; the use of slaves in mining operations in the Roman Empire; the genocide of indigenous peoples, first by the Conquistadors, then Columbus and the colonisers of the Americas, continued in the Californian Gold Rush, the “Scramble for Africa” by the major imperialist powers, and the Klondike; the Boer Wars, fought over the Witwatersrand mines; the use of forced labour in the gold mines of the Kolyma gulag; the list continues.

Although most currencies are now depegged from the gold standard, gold is still used in some parts of the world to trade with.

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