Paul Romer

Paul Romer

by Michael Roberts

Paul Romer is a top mainstream economist. Last month he was appointed chief economist at the World Bank.  World Bank President Jim Yong Kim described Romer’s appointment with acclaim: “We’re thrilled to have an economist as accomplished as Paul Romer join us,” said Kim.“We’re most excited about his deep commitment to tackling poverty and inequality and finding innovative solutions that we can take to scale.” For a critical review of Romer’s’ ideas and his likely influence at the World Bank, see this piece from the graduate blog, the New School Economic Review.

So it is big news among professional mainstream economics that Romer should publish just this month a working paper in which he trashes the whole basis of macroeconomics (i.e. looking at an economy as a whole), both neoclassical and Keynesian versions, in what appears to be a parting farewell to his colleagues in economic academia (leo16_romer).  This is what he says in his intro to the paper, The trouble with macroeconomics, “For more than three decades, macroeconomics has gone backwards. …Macroeconomic theorists dismiss mere facts by feigning an obtuse ignorance… Their models attribute fluctuations in aggregate variables to imaginary causal forces that are not influenced by the action that any person takes… a general failure mode of science that is triggered when respect for highly regarded leaders evolves into a deference to authority that displaces objective fact from its position as the ultimate determinant of scientific truth.”

Romer’s critique mirrors the criticisms that have been expressed by heterodox and Marxist economists for decades.  For example, see Read the rest of this entry »

Helen Kelly

Posted: October 14, 2016 by Admin in Uncategorized
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by Don Franks


Helen Kelly

Yesterday I was hired by a university professor to sing for his class. These students were business management graduates. Their well meaning tutor wanted them to hear some union songs “to balance things up a bit”.

I told my audience the most enduring English language union songs I knew came from the IWW – Industrial Workers of the World. Founded in the USA in 1905, radical anticapitalists. The only union then and for some time to recruit women, immigrants, unskilled and all races into its ranks.

I told how the IWW had influenced early 20th century New Zealand unionism. I mentioned that several American IWW organisers had lynched by capitalist agents in the course of the struggle.

I also noted that three people in this country had been killed in the pursuit of union activity; Fredrick Evans, Ernie Abbot and Christine Clarke. To round off, I sang my song about Ernie’s murder in Wellington Trades hall.

The young business graduates suffered my presentation quietly, most fiddling with electronic devices, some kept up whispered conversation. At the end I received polite applause and left them to get on with 2016 matters of meaning to them.

Across town that day, Helen Kelly lay dying from a disease as cruel as capitalism. She had chaired AUS meetings in the lecture theatre I was singing in, and her father was leader of the union movement at the time Ernie Abbot was killed. Read the rest of this entry »

Marx explains why the ruling class does not want a President Trump

by Brian Becker

The most powerful capitalist CEOs in the United States oppose the campaign of billionaire Donald Trump. They don’t want him as their president. Most of the corporate-owned media is skewering him. They are launching daily new investigations and revelations to discredit him.

Once in office, the President becomes the CEO of the most powerful capitalist institution in the world. The capitalist state towers over any single corporate entity in terms of influence, authority and raw power.

“No chief executive at the nation’s 100 largest companies had donated to Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign through August, a sharp reversal from 2012, when nearly a third of the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies supported GOP nominee Mitt Romney,” wrote the Wall Street Journal on September 23.

There has not been any other example of such unity among the capitalists against a presidential candidate of the Republican Party.

“Some executives who backed Republicans earlier in the election have since shifted allegiances. Roger Crandall, CEO of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, donated $10,000 to the super PAC backing Mr. Bush last year. Mr. Crandall, who donated $5,000 to Mr. Romney in 2012, gave the maximum $5,400 to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in July.” (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 23)

Many of the Fortune 100 CEOs supported other Read the rest of this entry »

keep-calm-and-smash-imperialism-3Our first meeting, and discussions both before and after it, dealt essentially with the economic aspects of Lenin’s analysis of imperialism.  We looked at the question of super-exploitation and super-profits and a bit at the rise of monopolies.  We subsequently moved on to examine the political aspects of Lenin’s analysis, with a meeting that largely revolved around the division of the world into oppressed and oppressor countries and what impact super-profits had in terms of the working class in the imperialist centres.

Marx and Engels, for instance, had identified a labour aristocracy in Britain, comprised of skilled upper layers of the working class.  Lenin also wrote about the labour aristocracy but an issue which had arisen since is whether modern technology has made jobs in the imperialist centres much more vulnerable and sections of what Marx, Engels and Lenin had identified as labour aristocrats really existed any more.  Are we primarily talking about a much more narrow group – eg the labour bureaucracy – rather than a more significant labour aristocracy?

On the other hand, proletarianisation in the Third World and the existence of what is sometimes called ‘the China price’ has cushioned life for the working class in the imperialist centres.  Thus, one participant argued that the working class as a whole in the imperialist centres occupies a Read the rest of this entry »


Comrade Khalida Jarrar, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has said that the attendance of a Palestinian leadership delegation, headed by PA president Mahmoud Abbas, at the funeral of war criminal Shimon Peres embodies the humiliating relationship of this defeated “leadership” with the occupation, saying that such a leadership cannot represent the aspirations and hopes of our people.

In an interview with Sawt al-Shaab radio, Jarrar said “How can the leadership of an occupied people participate in the funeral of the perpetrator of massacres against its people, including the attack on Qana in 1996, knowing that this war criminal is also a founder of the settlements, developer of nuclear weapons, and responsible for the killing of our people in occupied Palestine ’48 on Land Day 1976?”

Jarrar said that this action by the PA leadership was a direct Read the rest of this entry »


by Ben White

Shimon Peres, who passed away Wednesday aged 93 after suffering a stroke on 13 September, epitomised the disparity between Israel’s image in the West and the reality of its bloody, colonial policies in Palestine and the wider region.

Peres was born in modern day Belarus in 1923, and his family moved to Palestine in the 1930s. As a young man, Peres joined the Haganah, the militia primarily responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages in 1947-49, during the Nakba.

Despite the violent displacement of the Palestinians being a matter of historical record, Peres has always insisted that Zionist forces “upheld the purity of arms” during the establishment of the State of Israel. Indeed, he even claimed that before Israel existed, “there was nothing here”.

Over seven decades, Peres served as Read the rest of this entry »


For the IRA. Against British Imperialism. John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Irish solidarity march in London in early 1970s.

Following the Russian Revolution, socialist parties around the world split between those who sided with the Bolsheviks and those who had supported imperialist war and simply wanted to help manage capitalism.  The result was the establishment of the Third International, officially the Communist International.  In order to keep out opportunists, reformists, national chauvinists, the spineless and such-like – the types who had got more and more influential in the Second (or Socialist) International – the new International adopted 21 conditions for membership.  Condition 8 dealt with parties in the imperialist countries and anti-imperialism.  It stated:

“A particularly marked and clear attitude on the question of the colonies and oppressed nations is necessary on the part of the communist parties of those countries whose bourgeoisies are in possession of colonies and oppress other nations. Every party that wishes to belong to the Communist International has the obligation of exposing the dodges of its ‘own’ imperialists in the colonies, of supporting every liberation movement in the colonies not only in words but in deeds, of Read the rest of this entry »