Archive for the ‘World economy’ Category

October 24, 2007: Merrill Lynch goes down

by Michael Roberts

It is exactly 10 years since the global financial crash began with the news that the French bank, BNP, had suspended its sub-prime mortgage funds because of “an evaporation of liquidity”.1

Within six months, credit tightened and inter-bank interest rates rocketed. Banks across the globe began to experience huge losses on the derivative funds set up to profit from the housing boom that had taken off in the US, but had started to falter. And the US and the world entered what was later called the great recession – the worst slump in world production and trade since the 1930s.

Ten years later, it is worth reminding ourselves of some of the lessons and implications of that economic earthquake.2 First, the official institutions and mainstream economists never saw (more…)

Location: Student Central (formerly ULU), London WC1E 7HY, Malet Street,

Conference attendance fee £10.

Date/time: Tuesday 19 September (11am-8pm) – Wednesday 20 September 2017 (10am – 4pm)

Contact: capital150conference@gmail.com

Registration URL: http://bit.ly/2uhukxO

King’s College website details here.

Tuesday 19 September

 

Crises (11am–1:30pm)

  • Guglielmo Carchedi – The old is dying and the new cannot be born: the exhaustion of the present phase of capitalist development
  • Rolf Hecker – Marx’s critique of capitalism during the 1857 crisis
  • Paul Mattick jr – Crisis: abstraction and reality
  • Ben Fine, discussant

 

Imperialism (2:30pm–5pm)

  • Marcelo Dias Carcanholo, Dependency, super-exploitation of labour and crisis – an interpretation from Marx
  • Tony Norfield, Das Kapital, finance, and imperialism
  • Raquel Varela (& Marcelo Badaró Mattos), Primitive accumulation in Das Kapital

 

Mapping the terrain of anti-capitalist struggles (6pm–8pm)

  • David Harvey, Perspectives from the Circulation of Capital
  • Michael Roberts, Perspectives from the Accumulation of Capital
Wednesday 20 September

 

The future of capital (10am–12:30noon)

(more…)

Below is the text of a talk delivered by Dani in Dunedin on Friday, July 21.

by Dani Sanmugathasan

Good evening! My name is Dani Sanmugathasan, and I am a member of the British Marxist and Leninist organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Group. The following talk will be on the topic of ‘Corbynmania’ – the opportunist phenomenon that’s swept through the labour movements in core economies over the last two years – and a good place to start is at the events in London earlier this month.

INTRODUCTION

“Oh, Je-re-my Cor-byn!” rang out the chants of many on the streets of London on the 1st of July at the People’s Assembly’s ‘Tories Out’ march. The People’s Assembly, Momentum, Radical Housing Network, the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War Coalition, the Socialist Party, and the large trade unions (PCS, RMT, CWU, Unison, Len McCluskey’s Unite the Union…) were all rallying round the Labour Party leader, the holy Son of Attlee, the man who would save Britain from the iron grip of Tory austerity.

But beside these organisations, a distinct second current of marchers – composed of such organisations as Class War, the Focus E15 Mothers, Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants, Architects for Social Housing, Movement For Justice, the Revolutionary Communist Group, and trade unions like the IWGB – led a different chant: “Labour, Tory, same old story!” These groups made (more…)

by Michael Roberts

The zombies arrived at the G20 meeting in Hamburg last weekend – I do not mean the G20 leaders, but a group called Gestalten, who dressed as zombies and walked through the streets. The group said they wanted the G20 to stand for a more open, egalitarian society, rather than power in the hands of the few; and wanted to send a symbol of solidarity and political participation out to the world.

But there was little sign of solidarity among the leaders of the capitalist world in Hamburg. US president Donald Trump, after flying in to see the rightwing president of Poland (as a snub to Putin?), made it clear, in his own peculiar way, that the US would not return to the Paris accord on climate change and would resist any G20 statement that committed the US to open and free trade. Indeed, Trump is considering imposing tariffs on European Union steel products.

Globalisation, as the leaders of capitalism and big business have come to expect and enjoy, is now under threat from (more…)

The paperback version of The City: London and the Global Power of Finance, is released today. This edition contains a sixteen-page Afterword on the following topics:

  • Brexit and imperial power
  • The City, Brexit and world developments
  • Immigration and nationalism
  • Trump and the US hegemon
  • Shifting tectonic plates

These develop and update points raised before.

With a cover price of £10.99 and US$16.95 in the global book market, the paperback version of The City is currently available at the following prices:

Verso, £7.69

Amazon.co.uk, £9.98

Amazon.com, $11.52

An eBook is also available.

Do your own arbitrage!

Imperialism had a debilitating and corrupting impact on the workers’ movement in the developed capitalist world. The leaderships of many workers’ parties lined up behind their own exploiters and helped send millions of workers to horrible deaths and mutilation.

Before World War I broke out, the parties of the Second International were pledged to oppose such a war.  Yet as soon as the shooting started, the bulk of these parties lined up behind their own ruling classes and encouraged the working class in each of these countries to go and kill the workers of other countries.

Those who opposed the imperialist war were faced with, among other things, the task of explaining how this had happened.  Where did the rot in the Second International come from?

In fact, there had been a number of political battles already which showed that reformism and imperialist nationalism were becoming more and more powerful within the Second International.  These battles had included what stance to take on immigration and immigration controls and what stance to take towards the possession of colonies.

When the Third International was established, its founders made thorough-going anti-imperialism one of the conditions for membership.

In the work below, Lenin examines the impact of imperialism on the workers’ movement and the parties of the Second International.  It was written in October 1916 and published in a revolutionary newspaper in Russia in December of that year.  Several people translated it and it was marked up by several comrades for the Marxist Internet Archive.  The MIA is an invaluable source for the writings of a wide range of revolutionaries – as well as figures from the non-revolutionary left; please support the work of the MIA.

by V.I. Lenin

Is there any connection between imperialism and the monstrous and disgusting victory opportunism (in the form of social-chauvinism) has gained over the labour movement in Europe?

This is the fundamental question of modern socialism. And (more…)

A six-part series by Laurence Peterson documenting an example of downward mobility in Post-Meltdown America

Part 6: The Uses of Uselessness

Trying to make any sense of it all 

Is there any wider significance to this sorry little tale? Well, it just so happens that Daymon was recently purchased by Bain Capital, the private equity  firm of Mitt Romney fame. Private equity firms often purchase failing and lacklustre companies, load them up with debt, pay big dividends to investors in the private equity firm, charge high fees to the acquired firm for the favour, and then dump the zombified carcass of firms drastically bled of labour and sunk capital back onto the market, sometimes generating a big, second profit on top of the fees, with the ultimate profitability or even viability of the affected firm remaining a big question mark behind the inflated dividends and lean production numbers. Being privately-held (and not required to produce public financial figures), I can’t say for sure whether or not Daymon fits this pattern exactly, but, from my vantage point, limited in the extreme though it was, the purchase of Daymon by Bain was not a surprise: the kind of unproductive, underappreciated and even unwanted work we did at CDS seemed to me to have zombie company written all over it.

(more…)