It’s not often that I read the articles on the class=”StrictlyAutoTagAnchor” href=”http:///tag/new-york-times/” title=”View all articles about New here”>New York Times Op-Ed page. And I can’t remember ever recommending any such article to anyone for any reason. But today, May 13, 2013, I read and I recommend “How Austerity Kills” by David Stuckler and Sanjay Basau.
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15 April 2013 — The Wolf Report: Nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investor
Provided as part of our ongoing commitment to the public good…
January 3, 2013 Wall Street Journal: Potash prices down by 50% since 2009, after increasing fivefold 1999-2009. Since 2002 global capacity has increase 30% to 64 million tons/year. Demand in 2012 was approximately 9% below the 2007 level.
11 April 2013 — The Wolf Report – Nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investor
Michael Heinrich has written an article in the latest Monthly Review, and you can read it here. You should read it, because I’m not going to summarize it. Basically, Heinrich argues 1) that Marx never proved that the tendency for the rate of profit to decline is in fact a law, in that Marx’s mathematical rendering does not show that “C” must grow at a rate faster than the rate of surplus value and 2) the Marx himself, after the publication of Capital, had grave doubts about the “law.”
26 March 2013 – The Wolf Report: Nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investorSome brief considerations on turnover, circulation, circulation time and labor time:
Capitalists imagine their mode of production as production for exchange and imagines its origins in trade, in the circulation of the commodities between producers and …..producers, between producers and consumers, producers and “circulators,” merchants.
24 March 2013 – The Wolf Report: Nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investor
Sometimes, even I have trouble believing how stupid, venal, vicious, brutal, ignorant, miserable, petty, incompetent the bourgeoisie really are. Not often, but sometimes I have to shake my head and say “You cannot be serious.” or “You’re putting me on.” or “Are you out of your minds?” or “You must be kidding me.” or “You cannot make this stuff up.” or simply “Wow.”
10 February 2013 — The Wolf Report
Dann wird es, was es muss
1. When the bourgeoisie aren’t, and even when they are, flogging the virtues of responsibility, accountability, attention-to-detail, hands-on-management, they’re usually in court pleading out the latest bit of irregularities, high and petty crimes, misdemeanors, and assorted felonies, with claims of amnesia (“I have no recollection…”), or dementia (“I’ m not capable of recognizing my own handwriting”). Or, they’re busy blaming irresponsible, unaccountable, subordinate rogues for violating “corporate ethics” (sic); abusing the “trust;” going “too far” thereby turning the corporate good ship Lollipop into Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge.
24 January, 2013 — The Wolf Report
When it gets cold like this—(‘How cold is it?’ the disembodied voice of Ed McMahon asks in my very much embodied brain)—like well below thirty degrees (Fahrenheit), and twenty nine is well below thirty when we get down in this range, I know what to do. At least, I know what I do.
20 November, class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>2012 — The Wolf Reportclass=”post-body entry-content”>Value, Commodity, Value/Commodity Production, The Logic of Capital
1. Not for nothing does class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>Marx start out his critique with the exploration of the commodity as the embodiment of the facets of value.
17 November, 2012 — Wolf at the Doorclass=”main section”>class=”widget Blog”>class=”blog-posts hfeed”>class=”date-outer”>class=”date-posts”>class=”post-outer”>class=”post hentry”>class=”post-body entry-content”>1. The organization of landed property, of the landed estate, and of landed labor in class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>Egypt was driven and determined by that which could not truly be appropriated as property—water. Water and the lack thereof, regulated, so to speak, the oscillations between scarcity and abundance. Water and the lack thereof imposed an approximate egalitarianism; a communalism among those who settled along the banks of the Nile, just as water and the lack thereof compelled a rough equality among the Bedouins, the nomads of the desert. Continue reading this...
26 August, 2012 — The Wolf Report: Non-confidential analysis for the anti-investorMy Personal Very Own Introduction to Capital, Volume 1
Not that anyone asked me, and particularly not that anyone not asking me has ever stopped me from doing anything, but I thought I would provide my own introduction to Volume 1. The usual disclaimers apply– I’m right, or pretty close to right, or closer to right than anyone else, or almost anyone else. Those who really understand Marx will agree that I’m right, or pretty close to right, or closer to right than almost anyone else, except, of course themselves. And I agree with them. All of them.
23 February, 2012 — Wolf at the Door
“It’s really difficult for me to understand why American imperialism would risk a sharp spike in oil prices given the state of the the global economy”
So says Louis Proyect, owner and operator of the Marxmail listserv, film critic ordinaire, and self proclaimed inveterate Marxist [not to be confused with invertebrate Marxist]
Yep, it puzzles an inveterate Marxist. It perplexes our aging Fidelista. It beats the hell out of him…..
2 December, 2011 — The Wolf Reports
1. All that was lacking was the puff of white smoke….. and a hall of mirrors. All that was lacking to the labor and delivery of the latest infant heir to crumbling euro-throne; all that was lacking to the latest bailout, financial stabilization facility, firewall, vaccine, blood-brain barrier; all that was lacking to the birth of the latest in still-born messiahs riding into town in the back of a limousine and on the backs of seventeen asses was that smoke and that hall of mirrors reflecting into infinity the image of latest in the line of hairless, toothless, witless offspring of smoke and mirrors capitalism.
22 October 2011 — The Wolf Report: Nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investor
note: this analysis was originally intended to appear in Insurgent Notes 5. However it is unlikely that IN will appear before the end of December, 2011, and I do not believe that IN can be a significant weapon of analysis and agitation with this infrequency of appearance. I don’t think TWR can become that weapon either, but at least there’s less waiting. So I have ‘resigned my position,’ actually discontinued my presence on the editorial board of IN. I’m sure there will be further opportunities for collaboration and disagreement with the comrades of IN, and I certainly hope to remain personal friends with them. Continue reading this...
9 August 2011 — The Wolf Report
Back in the day, blast from the past, a golden oldie, with respect and appreciation to the youth of Britain back in that day and here in this day. Here’s what was said 30 years ago.
6 August 2011 — The Wolf at the Door
Can’t trust that day, sang some group whose name escapes me– the advantage of growing older I guess. Anyway, now that Standard and Poor’s has pointed out that the standard for credit-worthiness is making almost everybody poorer, Monday should be a very interesting day.
2 August 2011 — The Wolf at the Door
1. Marx’s contribution to the critique of capital, of capitalism, of industrial capitalism is its historicism, its material historicity. The critique begins, ends, and is at all points in between configured by the realization that the substance of human history is the social organization of labor. Capitalism begins, ends, and is at all points configured around the opposition of the material conditions of labor—those instruments of production—to labor itself; the opposition of the labor process to the specific capitalist expression of that process. Labor opposes its organization of wage-labor as it reproduces it. Wage-labor exists as the loss, the devaluation of labor through its exchange as, and for, the commodity.
Doctor Derivative looked good in the blue and silver spandex leotard he did, this son of New York, this brash, brawling, battling banker. He bowed a bit to the crowd, blew a kiss to a loved one, flexed first one bicep then the other. Jamie Dimon took the measure of his opponent.
I. In his preface to the first edition of Capital, Volume 1, Marx writes that this work is the continuation of his work in A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, published 1859. Marx states:
The substance of that earlier work is summarized in the first three chapters of this volume. This is done not merely for the sake of connection and completeness. The presentation of the subject matter is improved. As far as circumstances in any way permit, many points only hinted at in the earlier book are here worked out more fully, whilst, conversely, points worked out fully there are only touched upon in this volume.
5 February, 2010 — The Wolf Report: Nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investor
The Other Hand Clapping; The Other Shoe Dropping; The Other Lung Collapsing
Just a year ago, they were singing, not actually singing, this being the age of derivatives… they were lip-synching all of them, bankers, fund managers, credit default spouse swappers, private equity firms, quants, qualts, pros– real pros, cons– real cons, real pros at being real cons, all of them lip-synching in silent but off-key, atonal multi-part disharmony, in disunison, to Fontella Bass’ Rescue Me. Then somebody, dressed in sequins and heels, flipped the record to the B side and this chorus of the line changed its tuneless tune, dusted off an old choreography for another extraordinary rendition of an old routine, stepped off, quick-quick-slow, and into Ms. Bass’ Recovery.
Me? I love Fontella, but in these times, I go with Dinah Washington. What A Difference A Day Makes. And what a difference…
The Financial Times February 5 headline ‘Shares Fall as fears over Europe’s weak economies hit global markets. The Wall Street Journal of the same day ‘Global Markets Shudder: Doubts About US Economy and a Debt Crunch in Europe Jolt Hopes for a Recovery.’
So what happened? Was it Toyota’s gas pedals? China’s tainted milk? Haiti’s destruction? Bernanke’s confirmation? US deficits? Spain’s unemployment? Ireland’s austerity? Greece’s debt?
Of course it was. Of course it is all of those things, as all of those things are but of one thing, the accumulation of capital, the ‘self-expansion’ [hah!] of value, the demand of and for profit, the reproduction of capitalism as a whole, the whole being overproduction, the whole being the decomposition, the disaggregation of capital, the whole being the devaluation of capital by and for profit, the whole being the contraction of profits, the whole being the self-impairment of accumulation.
So here comes another flight to safety. Drop that euro, lift that dollar. Dump that emerging market, get those T-bills. Shed that risk, get that security. Go short. Go shorter. Go shorter than short. Forget yield, preserve principal. Drop, dump, shed, punt. Call your mother and see if she still has your room ready. Will she do your laundry?
Meanwhile…. meanwhile the US deals itself the strongest hand with cards off the bottom of the deck and up its sleeve– which is, as it has been, making the workers pay, and pay more, to preserve capital when accumulation is impaired.
In its manifestation of the ‘real domination’ of capital as opposed to the formal domination, the very advanced nature of capitalism mimics, reproduces, its most primitive features, and more and more the whole system reverts to compulsion, to ‘extra-economic’ means of accumulation. ‘Beggar thy neighbor’ is more than a business plan, it becomes the golden rule.
So… while capitalism as a whole ‘sinks,’ it doesn’t exactly drown itself, it drowns ‘others,’ the others being everyone else, being us. And the water will be combined with the fire this, as in past, time– that wonderful tool that combines accumulation and decomposition in one– arson. Arson in its social reproduction is called war. War of all against all is the first, and last, commandment of capital.
The EU’s problem is that it needs a new role model– Merkel’s Germany is simply inadequate. The WSJ on January 12 carried an article that began, ‘Bulgaria, the newest and poorest member of the EU is emerging as a fiscal model for a number of EU countries struggling to fend off debt crises.’ The regime there froze wages, cut projects, reduced spending by 15%, reducing its budget deficit to 0.8% of GDP.
The article continued, ‘Economists say Bulgaria economic and fiscal management has made it a role model for other countries in Europe.’
Isn’t that just too precious? I’ve seen the future and it’s called Bulgaria. Boutique, enclave, concession, niched capitalism grows into the capitalist balkanization of daily life.
Opposition, resistance, to capitalism’s ‘plan’ for austerity, its need for destruction, decomposition, cannot be focused on the wage, or wage level, of the individual worker, or sector of workers. Nor can it be based on demands for ‘full employment.’ Better might be a demand for full unemployment, with all needs met through the seizure of property. That is better, but not good enough. The response of a movement to build class struggle must grasp the social costs of the reproduction of capital as a whole and that it is those social costs of the totality of reproduction, not just the costs of machinery, of labor power, of transportation, but the total cost of the social organization built up and essential to capitalist accumulation, that now constitute the impairment to accumulation.
On February 3, an article appeared in the WSJ entitled ‘Radical Shifts Take Hold in US Manufacturing’ examining the deep structural changes in US industrial production– in essence the penultimate result of ‘moving up the value chain,’ and concentrating on ‘value-added’ production.
US industrial capacity declined 1 percent in 2009, the largest single year decline on record. This is distinct and apart from the rate of utilization of existing capacity. This is a dismantling, decomposition of capacity. Capacity is increasing in semiconductor, communications equipment, computers, electricity, and oil and gas production [the last not exactly being value added, but offsets its 'commodity' production through price increases that 'drain value' from other sectors]. Capacity continues to decline in motor vehicles and parts, printing, textiles, plastics, rubber products, furniture.
Chemicals, a nice little profit center 20 years ago, reduced its US capacity 1.7 percent. Peter Huntsman, CEO of Huntsman Chemicals stated: ‘The chemical industry is leaving the US and it won’t be back. When demand picks up, they’ll build new plants overseas– in the Mideast, Singapore, China.’
This doesn’t mean the US bourgeoisie is getting any weaker, and we shouldn’t be deceived that declining production and capacity in the US means the decline of US capitalism.
At the same time, in the United States, Intel is, as almost always, increasing its capital investments and capacity. Of particular interest in the article is the almost off-hand comment about advanced technology production in the US. Avant Technology, a memory module producer, is increasing its output capacity by 60 percent:
‘Manufacturing in the U.S., he said, allows Avant to turn around orders in 24 hours, an advantage in an industry where demand is volatile and clients try to keep inventories low. In addition, the reduced freight costs, compared with shipping goods from China, can offset the added cost of US labor, since labor accounts for less than a hundredth of his average sales price.’
That bears repeating, since it manifests, encapsulates the critical contradiction of advanced capitalism’s development: ‘…since labor accounts for less than a hundredth of his average sale price.’ And as capacity increases, and output increases, what will occur? The prices of production must, and will, inevitability decline to the level of the cost of production, and the rate of profitability of production will stagger and fall. Labor, despite its minimal portion of the cost/price of production, will be attacked in the attempt to restore profitability since wage rates do have an impact on profitability; as labor, requiring subsistence, must be driven below subsistence, below the total costs of its social reproduction, for a time– and, of course, one of the best ways of driving labor below the costs of its reproduction is killing it off through wars. You can’t get anymore below subsistence than actually dying.
The advance of the workers’ movement begins with the workers own social protection, and demands for the protection, of the most vulnerable, most exploited, most marginalized under capitalism. It begins with demands for full equality of immigrant laborers regardless of ‘legal’ status. It begins with demands for free, universal healthcare, operated by medical professionals for the social benefit of all those neglected under capitalism.
5 February, 2010