Subjects Archives: Stagnation

  • Brexit and the EU Implosion: National Sovereignty — For What Purpose?

    The defense of national sovereignty, like its critique, leads to serious misunderstandings once one detaches it from the social class content of the strategy in which it is embedded.  The leading social bloc in capitalist societies always conceives sovereignty as a necessary instrument for the promotion of its own interests based on both capitalist exploitation […]

  • Joan Acker, Socialist Feminist

    Joan Acker, who died on June 22, 2016, was one of the foremost socialist feminists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  Her work about gender and class drew much of its creativity from a continual though uneasy engagement between feminism and Marxism.  She was one of the initial subscribers to Monthly Review, beginning […]

  • The only force that can combat imperialism today is a worldwide struggle of workers

    Marxism as a philosophy of praxis is inescapable, since it sums up the revolutionary potential for human emancipation and sustainable human development.

  • Are Sanders and Fair Trade a Threat to the Global Poor?

    On April 24, 2013, some 1,134 people died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza complex outside Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.  The building housed factories where low-wage workers, largely women, stitched garments for the U.S. and European markets. For several years before the disaster a number of U.S. opinion makers — notably New York […]

  • The Challenge Before the Latin American Left

      The Left upsurge in Latin America appears to be abating.  In October 2015 Jimmy Morales, the conservative candidate in Guatemala, defeated the Left-leaning Sandra Torres in the presidential elections.  On November 22, Mauricio Macri, the conservative presidential candidate in Argentina, defeated Daniel Scioli, his Peronist rival, by a narrow margin, to bring to an […]

  • Ellen Meiksins Wood: Some Personal Recollections

    In my graduate class on Political Economy at the University of Oregon this term we are reading two books by Ellen Meiksins Wood: The Retreat from Class and Democracy Against Capitalism.  Tomorrow, when the class meets, I will have to inform the students of Ellen’s death on January 14.  I have been thinking about what […]

  • The Liberals and Inequality, Then and Now

    Articles on income equality sometimes note that the U.S. economy hasn’t faced the current level of disparity since 1928, on the eve of the Great Depression.  There has been much less discussion of the responses to the issue back then, even though income inequality was a major concern for policymakers as the Depression deepened and […]

  • Glory to the Lucid Courage of the Greek People, Facing the European Crisis

    The Greek People are an example to Europe and the world. With courage and lucidity the Greek people have rejected the ignoble diktat of European and international finance.  They have won a first victory by affirming that democracy cannot exist unless it knows how to put itself at the service of social progress.  They have […]

  • Unending Hard Times: Whose Is the Toil and Whose Is the Wealth?

    John Bellamy Foster and Robert W McChesney.  The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China.  New York: Monthly Review Press, 2012; Kharagpur, India: Cornerstone Publications, 2013.  pp x + 227.  Rs 150. The secular decline of decadal average annual real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates of the […]

  • Marxism, Ecological Civilization, and China

    China’s leadership has called in recent years for the creation of a new “ecological civilization.”  Some have viewed this as a departure from Marxism and a concession to Western-style “ecological modernization.”  However, embedded in classical Marxism, as represented by the work of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, was a powerful ecological critique.  Marx explicitly defined […]

  • Dissecting the Failure of Soviet “Socialism”

    Michael A. Lebowitz.  The Contradictions of “Real Socialism”: The Conductor and the Conducted.  New York: Monthly Review Press, 2012.  222 p. In current discussions of twenty-first century socialism, the work of Michael Lebowitz has a unique merit: it is rooted in the experience of Cuba and Venezuela, where efforts in recent decades to move toward […]

  • A Dictionary of American Free Enterprise

    Arms Sales A government jobs program (the lone acceptable government jobs program) working to deliver all the latest in U.S. defense industry hardware to all the international “good guys.” Associate A low-wage worker. Bubble (Financial) The artificial inflation of asset prices, which, although appearing to many of the “smartest people in the room” as if […]

  • The Mad Activist Comes in from the Cold

    You want to know why I’m nuts, Doctor?  I’m part of the lunatic left, that’s why. My delusions of intellectual grandeur are great enough to make me believe that I can actually comprehend the bombings, the embargoes, the torture — all wrought by the good old US of A — while everybody else goes shopping.  […]

  • The Spectre of Social Counter-Revolution

    5th Dr. BR Ambedkar Memorial Lecture, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi, September 27, 2014 I I would like to use this occasion to dwell upon a point to which Dr Ambedkar had drawn attention in his closing speech to the Constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949.  In that speech he had underscored a […]

  • Capitalism, Inequality and Globalization: Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century

    I. The Piketty Argument Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-first Century embodies an immense amount of empirical research into the distribution of wealth and income across the population for a number of advanced capitalist countries going back for over two centuries.  In particular Piketty has made extensive use of tax data for the first […]

  • Socialism and Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises

    ​Global capitalism has huge problems coping with the second worst collapse in its history. Its extreme and deepening inequalities have provoked millions to question and challenge capitalism. Yet socialists of all sorts now find it more difficult than ever to make effective criticisms and offer alternatives that inspire. Part of the problem lies with classic […]

  • The Accidental Controversialist: Deeper Reflections on Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”

    Thomas Piketty‘s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a six hundred and eighty-five page tome that definitively characterizes the empirical pattern of income and wealth inequality in capitalist economies over the past two hundred and fifty years, and especially over the last one hundred.  It also documents the grotesque rise of inequality over the past […]

  • Explaining Stagnation: Why It Matters

    Larry Summers and Paul Krugman have recently identified the phenomenon of stagnation.  Given that they are giants in today’s economic policy conversation, their views have naturally received enormous attention.  That attention is very welcome because the issue is so important.  However, there is also a danger that their dominance risks crowding out other explanations of […]

  • “The Death of Social Democracy in the Age of Global Monopoly-Finance Capital”: An Interview with John Bellamy Foster

    Tassos Tsakiroglou: How urgent do you consider the necessity to develop an understanding of the interconnections between the deepening impasse of the capitalist economy and the rapidly accelerating ecological threat? John Bellamy Foster: The urgency of understanding the interconnections between the economic impassse and the ecological emergency derives from the combined threats they pose to […]

  • The Epochal Crisis, Unequal Ecological Exchange, and Exit Strategies

    John Bellamy Foster: My talk is called “The Epochal Crisis.”  The term “epochal crisis” was introduced by Jason Moore to deal with periods in which economic and ecological crises intersect or merge.  We are certainly in the greatest epochal crisis in the history of the world. . . .  Now, we can also talk about […]