Marxism

Why read Wage-Labour and Capital?

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Wage-Labour and Capital is online at http://bit.ly/187qEer

Karl Marx's pamphlet Wage Labour and Capital first appeared as a series of articles in Neue Rheinische Zeitung, the newspaper that Marx edited during the 1848-9 revolution that swept Germany and Europe.

The articles were based lectures that Marx had given to German workers in Brussels in 1847.

Marx's aim in the pamphlet is to set out and explain "the economic conditions which form the material basis of the present struggles between classes."

What's wrong with the Keynesian answer to austerity?

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As austerity measures bite while the economy continues to flatline, arguments for a Keynesian response to the recession are gaining traction. Marxist economist Michael Roberts casts a critical eye over the Keynesian case, arguing that it misunderstands the causes of capitalist crisis

A new radical think-tank kicked off last year in the UK. It's got a great name: Class: the Centre for Labour and Social Studies. Sounds socialist, even Marxist, doesn't it? Unfortunately, at its first meeting the speakers, especially the economists, were all Keynesians. All the arguments against austerity were Keynesian. Apparently, a Marxist analysis has no contribution to make in explaining the Great Recession and the ensuing long depression - or what to do about it.

Marx and morals

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What does Marxism say about ethics? Mark L Thomas argues that Marx had a coherent theory of ethics that can overcome the contradictions of bourgeois morality, which is the subject of a new book by Paul Blackledge

When David Cameron or Iain Duncan Smith offers moral lectures to the poor about the merits of hard work and independence, socialists understandably turn away in disgust at their hypocrisy. It is wrong, they tell us, to "live off the state", yet the bankers who made millions speculating in financial markets but turned to government to bail them out when their bets went bad, are barely chided.

Why read...The Communist Manifesto

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Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were commissioned in late 1847 to draw up a manifesto by the Communist League, the first international working class organisation. The resulting pamphlet that calls on working class of all countries to unite has become an inspiration for socialists in every decade since.

It has been translated into more than a hundred languages. It is a historical materialist approach to history, a critique of capitalism and a guide to the international class struggle.

More than one and half centuries later the words of the preface to the 1872 German edition of the Manifesto remain applicable today: "However much the state of things may have altered during the last 25 years, the general principles laid down in the Manifesto are, on the whole, as correct today as ever."

Can socialist planning work?

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  • There is intense planning under capitalism, but it is done to maximise profit
  • Planning under socialism would be driven from the bottom up based on mass participation and democracy

    For many people the words socialist and planning in the same sentence will conjure up images of Stalinist horror: brutal five year plans, inefficiency and waste.

    Yet at a time of deep, protracted economic crisis many are questioning whether capitalism is the best way of organising society. Alternatives are being discussed.

  • Economy Class: The myths of globalisation

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    Companies still rely on states to protect their profits


    Complex supply chains give groups of workers a lot of power to halt production


    Globalisation emerged as a fashionable concept in the years after the ending of the Cold War. Neoliberalism had established itself as the new economic orthodoxy in the West during the 1980s, preaching the need for privatisation and attacks on the welfare state.

    With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, champions of neoliberalism declared "the end of history", expecting an end to any systemic opposition to capitalism. Globalisation was to sweep the free market, unfettered and unregulated, into former "communist" countries and beyond.

    The permanent arms economy and the long boom

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    Economy Class

    The long boom that lasted from the 1940s to the 1970s was the "golden age" of capitalism. Today it is something only glimpsed in episodes of Mad Men and old movies. Yet this golden age did exist with full employment and rising living standards and the creation of the welfare state. It was an age of consumption and there was a widespread feeling that things really could only get better.

    Can Keynes solve the crisis?

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    • Keynes argued against cutting workers' wages in a recession and leaving the market to its own devices

    • He argued that governments should cut interest rates and directly invest to lift the economy

    • But he tailored his solutions to what bosses would accept

    The ideas of John Maynard Keynes are back with a vengeance. This has been a consistent theme in the past few years, from the corridors of power to the pages of the Financial Times. After 30 years of deriding Keynes's ideas many are now reconsidering the economic remedies he prescribed.

    What is the role of credit under capitalism?

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    Economy Class

    When the credit crunch hit in 2008 and governments bailed out banks with trillions of pounds so they didn't collapse many people recognised that this was because of the huge amounts of debt in the system. Banks had loaned money to people and companies with no idea if they'd be able to pay it back, and these debts had then been sold on and bets taken on their future value.

    So if the crash was caused by credit and debt, is it the fault of the banks for lending money, or people for borrowing? And couldn't we just regulate the system to get rid of this toxic aspect?

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