End of the year or end of the world (as we know it)? By William Bowles

23 December 2008

think-aheadBefore all the Xmas BS gets in the way, an end-of-year essay of sorts is in order, especially so given the bumpy ride capitalism has bestowed on us this past twelve months. And the portents for 2009 look to be even worse as capitalism, desperate to shed over-valued assets, descends into the abyss.

Look at it this way: after the Crash of ‘29 and the launch of the New Deal, it took some six years to engineer the outbreak of WWII, the surefire way of literally burning up surplus capital in awesome quantities.

And if history has any lessons for us, some equivalent global conflagration is now in order. However, is this possible under these new circumstances and over what timescale can such a capitalist catastrophe be engineered?

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Economics 101 – Interesting times By William Bowles

24 October 2008

‘May you live in interesting times’, traditional Chinese curse

Being raised in a family of Reds has its pluses and its minuses, one of the minuses being a decidedly unworldly approach to economics. It was as if we already lived in a socialist world but of course nobody else did. The upshot of this was a total incomprehension as to the value of money, and not merely the value but its importance.

This must sound strange coming from someone who professes to know the ‘answers’ to what ails us but then life is complicated, people are contradictory and we don’t always do what’s in our own best interests, besieged as we are by the forces of capital. For alongside this there is always the question of fear and insecurity about the future, about who we are and what we should be.

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