Marx’s Textbook Ep.1: An Introduction to the Critique of Capitalism & of Economics

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This is the first episode of a new Living The Dream series entitled Marx’s Textbook. In each episode Dave(@withsobersenses) takes a chapter of a basic macroeconomics textbooks – in this case Littleboy (2013) – summarises the content and then presents how Marx can help us think about these issues and challenge the dominant assumptions. What we find is that Marx doesn’t just provide different answers rather he compels us to ask different questions. Each episode will only be approx. 30 minutes long and is aimed at helping people to understand and critique both capitalism and economics as an ideology. No prior knowledge of Marx or macroeconomics is required.

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Further reading: “Capital”after MEGA: Discontinuities, Interruptions, and New Beginnings

by Michael Heinrich

 

Littleboy, Bruce, et al.,. 2013. Macroeconomics : Principles and Practice. Asia Pacific: Cengage Learning Australia ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uq.edu.au/lib/uql/detail.action?docID=1990996.

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Living The Dream with Free Money #UBI

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In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) talk with all-round good egg Troy Henderson (@TroyCHenderson) about the idea of a Universal Basic Income.  Troy provides us with an intellectual history and we discuss if it is a techbro attempt to sure up capitalism, a radical social democratic attempt to fix capitalism or if it contains radical elements that point in an anti-capitalist direction? We also talk about why a Jobs Guarantee is horrid and shit.

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Some stuff we may have mentioned or should have:

Helen Razer UBI is just a bedtime story Elon Musk tells himself to help the super-wealthy sleep

Bill Mitchell A basic income guarantee is a neo-liberal strategy for serfdom without the work

Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams  Inventing the Future Postcapitalism and a World Without Work

Antonio Negri  Benoît Hamon and Universal Income

Immaterial Workers of the World (Paolo Virno) What Did I Tell You?

Andrew Leigh Why a universal basic income is a terrible idea

Chapo Trap House  Episode 123 – UBIsoft feat. Clio Chang (7/10/17) 

Music includes Soft Pink Things and The Business both covering CRASS

Debt and the Limited Imagination of the Left

Debt. Debt is constantly looming at us. It is now a key element of the political-ideological constellation of our time. Debt expresses both the current crisis of capitalism in its economic guise and also the ‘representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence’(Althusser, 2008, p. 36). Debt is pervasive, all encompassing and seemingly inescapable.  The debt of Australian households is steady at 150% of income(Reserve Bank of Australia, 2013). If Australians only spent at the levels of their income it is more than probably that great sections of capital – especially retail – would no longer be viable. The majority of debt is tied up in mortgages: the major asset of most households is not only purchased by going into serious debt but only can maintain its value because the society as a whole is steeped in debt.

percentage-of-annual-disposable-income.ashx  Graph: (Bird, 2013)

It was the US Sub-Prime Mortgage crisis that triggered this current, seemingly permanent, economic malaise – and it is now sovereign debt, that is the debt of states, that is the part of its current manifestation. (Neither are the source of the crisis itself – for that you need to look deeper into the structure and history of capitalism.) The sharpest expression of this is the looming possibility that the US will not raise its debt ceiling and thus be compelled to either drastically cut state expenditure or default on its debt. Since US debt, in the form of Treasury Bills, make up a core component of the global economy, such a default would, in the words of IMF Christine Lagarde ‘…cause serious damage to the US economy, but also to the global economy as a result of the spillover effects.’

Continue reading “Debt and the Limited Imagination of the Left”