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Thread: Capitalism, Marxism and Related Matters

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel emits View Post
    Because you know there is no real risk in lending someone money if you know for instance that you are going to be guaranteed in the future stuff that you actually need like food and clothes, as well as your money back, rather than more money.
    This is the most interesting remark! If we were sure that our future needs would be guaranteed, one of the key factors that brought about the current monetary system would be gone. One might call this key factor the pacifying function of money: if you pay for the scarce resources you are consuming, you are in some sense not taking away from others, you are just exchanging one form of scarcity (say oil) for another (for example your labour). Hence, through this exchange, you are not (in some sense) endandering my future access to resources. This is why I don't feel like killing you, or making sure, I got the resource first. Hence monetary exchange has a pacifying function.

    It is rarely appreciated just how important this is and bringing about this pacifying function was a great advance in the evolution of humanity. If we find an alternative mechanism that guarantees just future access to scarce resoures, this pacifying function of money becomes irrelevant (there are other functions mentioned in the original thread, risk multiplexing, communication ...). Marx idea was that a communist state makes these guarantees (the idea is much older, Leibniz for example proposes thinking of the state as a kind of universal insurance against all manner of misfortune, that's the oldest source I am aware of, not sure if it originates with Leibniz).

    One problem with contemporary Marxism is that all attempts at a communist state failed on a spectacular level. Yet, all they seem willing to offer is another revolution.
    Last edited by 3 Body No Problem; 06-08-2008 at 06:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    I'm thinking of the bit where he describes WWII (?) fighter pilots getting machine guns synced into their rotors -- rather than representing man's mastery over nature, the pilot is a mere switch in a circuit.
    Firing through a propeller was one of the 'advances' of WW I, not WW II.

    As I said upthread, one can play similar games with any circular causality: London Underground is just a tool in the perpetuation of rats, Tesco's real function is to ensure there's always more white/blue/red plastic bags, the human body's function is to move air ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    If you want to hoard money, just put it under your bed.
    Nobody does this with serious, socially relevant amounts of money.

    If serious amounts of cash were truely withdrawn from circulation, the money in circulation would appreciate in value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Body No Problem View Post
    Nobody does this with serious, socially relevant amounts of money.

    If serious amounts of cash were truely withdrawn from circulation, the money in circulation would appreciate in value.
    This would seem to back up vimothy's argument that money is a, after all, a resource.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    This would seem to back up vimothy's argument that money is a, after all, a resource.
    Of course money has resource-like qualities in the technical sense of limited availability. Unlike natural resources, money's scarcity is artificial. If money wasn't scarce, it would not work. But that's not the full story as elaborated in the original thread. Money is a form of communication between humans, and the scarcity of money is a key factor that makes it work, for better or worse, the way it does.
    Last edited by 3 Body No Problem; 06-08-2008 at 06:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josef k. View Post
    Is the labor theory of value of bullshit?
    Well I think the first chapter of Capital shows how the music industry's attempt to keep the value of music at its previous levels is doomed. Basically Marx has a concept of socially necessary labour, the average amount of labour needed to produce a commodity. Once the amount of socially necessary labour declines, so does value - so because the amount of labour in distributing music digitally is much less than the amount of labour needed to distribute vinyl and CDS (e.g. no lorry drivers shifting product), prices must fall - even of CDs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Body No Problem View Post
    In the context of capitalism, the original claim seeks to convince the reader that we are living in a world where human needs are not the key focus of economic and political decisions, but instead server only to reproduce the current economic system.
    That was a good post and I thank you for it.

    I was thinking also that Mark's statement was getting at something else that is particular about Capitalism. That at some very fundamental level in our understanding of economies, of the world even, an error has crept in, a fallacy, a false assumption. It is very difficult to see because it is so pervasive, and replicates virally as one of our most basic assumptions.
    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Body No Problem View Post
    There is a much more fundamental problem with it: it's impossible -- in some sense -- to hoard money! The cash you put in your bankaccount is in fact reinvested immediately.
    Are you saying that even though disproportionately large amounts of money that continue to grow are owned by individual entities, it remains in circulation?

    That can't be quite right, surely?

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    "That at some very fundamental level in our understanding of economies, of the world even, an error has crept in, a fallacy, a false assumption. It is very difficult to see because it is so pervasive, and replicates virally as one of our most basic assumptions."

    Clearly, this line could quite be extended into the realms of the madness, Philip K. Dick-style. And Dick was working from a more-or-less gnostic conception of reality, which seems to me reason enough to at least put this notion in question. What I mean is, if 2000 years ago the Gnostics were also saying something like: "Everything we know is wrong!" then it becomes clear that this sort of radical ontological doubt, at least, is not particular to capitalism itself. And so the question is raised as to whether there is any grounds to suppose that the global delusion hypothesized by the Gnostics should be considered in our own capitalist era any realer then it was in their pre-capitalist one. In other words, what I am saying is perhaps this idea does not strictly apply to capitalism; indeed, perhaps it does not apply to it all.

    Yes, it is true, and updating the Marxist description of capitalist economics is the most important theoretical problem of Marxism today. However for political purposes (i.e. constructing a sufficiently powerful revolutionary party that carries out the revolution) the existing theory is good enough, because whatever the details of a better Marxist theory of capitalist economics, surely the need to overthrow capitalism in a revolution will still be valid. Hence we can leave updating the theory of capitalist economics for after the revolution.

    This would be a form of madness, since the whole hinge of Marxism rests on its efficacy as an economic theory. As Lenin put it: "Marxism is powerful because it is true." What would even be the need to overthrow capitalism - as opposed to this or that particular regime - if it wasn't the case that labor under its reign was inherently exploitative?

    [INDENT]Which explanation of money doesn't say anything about why it should be acceptable to make money out of money as far as I can see, and so doesn't actually discuss capitalism as such.[INDENT]

    The problem with this is its very difficult to see how one could prevent people from making money out of money. In the middle ages there were prohibitions on usury - in other words, ethical stipulations against lending sums of money at interest - and some of these prohibitions actually still hold in the Islamic world today - which is incidentally why the recent growth of Islamic banking is in some ways so interesting. In any event, though, this particular issue applies only to finance capital, not to capitalism as such, so it doesn't really apply to the whole of the question.


    Finally, since no-one seems able to offer a convincing defence of the LTOV, or Marxist theory in general, is it worth asking at this point why, in the absence of logical grounds to support it, it should still enjoy such prestige today, at least within certain circles (especially academics, intellectuals, students, etc) ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by josef k. View Post
    Clearly, this line could quite be extended into the realms of the madness, Philip K. Dick-style. And Dick was working from a more-or-less gnostic conception of reality, which seems to me reason enough to at least put this notion in question. What I mean is, if 2000 years ago the Gnostics were also saying something like: "Everything we know is wrong!" then it becomes clear that this sort of radical ontological doubt, at least, is not particular to capitalism itself.
    In a way I agree with you - the primary focus on capitalism as crux is something I've questioned previously. I guess that approach is inevitably what comes from those parties doing the questioning being mostly immersed in Marxist theory, Situationism, critical theory and so on - i.e. responses to capitalism. Still, it is pretty relevant as that is our situation after all.
    Quote Originally Posted by josef k. View Post
    In other words, what I am saying is perhaps this idea does not strictly apply to capitalism; indeed, perhaps it does not apply to it all.
    I think the idea though is along the lines that cultures use people to replicate virally, as in memetics. So while that class of phenomenon might not have to do with capitalism uniquely, there are aspects that are particular to the instance that is capitalism, and it is those that the critiques concern themselves with.

    I'm just remembering this from past discussions though, it's not my contention as such - like I say I've argued against the singling out of capitalism as the primary issue before.

    Philip K. Dick was brilliant though. Why not consider that he was on to something instead?

    That point about it being impossible to imagine anything outside the present order is born out here so regularly these days it's depressing.
    Last edited by noel emits; 07-08-2008 at 04:20 AM.

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    "Firing through a propeller was one of the 'advances' of WW I, not WW II."
    Yeah Vimothy, didn't you read Biggles?

    "I was thinking also that Mark's statement was getting at something else that is particular about Capitalism. That at some very fundamental level in our understanding of economies, of the world even, an error has crept in, a fallacy, a false assumption. It is very difficult to see because it is so pervasive, and replicates virally as one of our most basic assumptions."
    I think if you look at the world and its economy today it is clear that there are huge problems. The question is obviously "why?" and another more specific question is "have those problems been created or mitigated by capitalism?". The argument goes round in circles as it has become apparent that no other system of organising resources has worked even nearly as well and the only Marxist response to this situation is to say that the wrong question is being asked (in other words that a false assumption has crept in at a basic level). This could well be the case I guess but I think that the onus is on the people insisting on this to demonstrate it - not just say it could be happening but show that it is, otherwise is's nothing but paranoia or wishful thinking on the part of those who don't want to face the fact that the basis for their philosophy is flawed.

    "This would be a form of madness, since the whole hinge of Marxism rests on its efficacy as an economic theory. As Lenin put it: "Marxism is powerful because it is true." What would even be the need to overthrow capitalism - as opposed to this or that particular regime - if it wasn't the case that labor under its reign was inherently exploitative?"
    I think to get an answer to this it would be helpful to consult the fashionable dictionary again:

    Marxism
    Probably not true, but it should be.
    http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/dictionary.php#m

  11. #41
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    Before we consign Marx & LTOV to the dustbin of history, consider Karatani's Transcritique which claims that Marx critiques the flawed, but not simply wrong, LTOV, and arrives at a more useful theory than even contemporary economics.

    Apologies for the long quotes from Shaviro discussing this here, but here's a spoiler from the last paragraph which might encourage you to read through it: "It is not Marxist political economy, but neoclassical economics, that reduces everything to production and to utility, and thereby ignores the structural and material importance of the delirious, ungrounded flows of finance capital that constitute the largest part of economic activity today."

    I'm no economist, but the following seems like a powerful argument for Marx's relevance (I've left out the comparison of Marx with Kant, where terms like Antimony and transcendental come from, transcendental being Kant's term for something that acts as a structural condition for knowledge, not a transcendant condition outside reality):

    Karatani argues that Marx’s “critique of political economy” operates precisely in the Antinomy, or parallax, between the labor theory of value, on the one hand, and Bailey’s (and the neoclassical economists’) positivistic dismissal of value theory altogether on the other.
    [...]
    according to Karatani, Marx rejects Ricardian essentialism (the labor theory of value in its classical form), but also insists, against Bailey’s (and later, neoclassical) nominalism, that a “transcendental reflection on value” (6) is necessary in order to make sense of capitalism as a system.
    [...]
    How does one get from the abstraction of “value” to the actual prices of individual commodities, and from the abstraction of “surplus value” to actual profits? It’s well known that Marx’s mathematical model for making this “transformation” is flawed; and that indeed the problem is mathematically intractable — the equations can only be solved under very special, limited, and unrealistic conditions — which is why Marx, like Ricardo before him, was unable to solve them.
    [...]
    The basic point is not to correct Marx’s mathematics — which cannot be done, given the presuppositions of the problem — but to question those presuppositions themselves. The whole problem of transforming values into prices itself seems to depend on the idea of capitalism as a closed, synchronic system in a state of equilibrium — which is what most economists, classical and neoclassical alike, in fact presuppose — but elsewhere in Capital Marx argues that such a view is entirely inadequate, since capitalism is a process that necessarily unfolds in time, and that it is never in a state of equilibrium. Crises, Marx argues, are endemic to capitalism. They are not (as neoclassical economists assume even today) mere aberrations or temporary departures from the norm of equilibrium. Rather, crises are intrinsic to the movement of capital, they are even what pushes it forward. Crises are unavoidable because of the temporal factor. If anything, crises and business cycles are the norm; equilibrium is a fictive idealization, an abstraction: and not even a very useful one.
    [...]
    Marx’s Volume 3 involves an Antinomy between 1)the grounding of price in value, and of profit in surplus value (Thesis: Ricardo); and 2)the independence of price from value and of profit from surplus value (Antithesis: Bailey). In this Antithesis, price is determined relationally, and independently of any notion of value, by supply and demand; while profit, from the point of view of the individual consciousness, is simply “price of production minus cost price” (241), and labor-power (sometimes today renamed, in neoclassical theory, “human capital”: quite a wonderful catachresis, since — by a mere shift of terminology — it simply spirits away the entire difference between capitalist investment, and workers selling their labor-power as a commodity) is just another input into production costs. Anybody who has read Capital knows how much time Marx spends criticizing the latter set of assumptions. But the criticism is necessary, precisely because these “ideological” assumptions do necessarily exist as “objective illusions”: for they constitute the actual manner in which individuals confront the market as buyers and sellers, consumers and owners. As for the other side of the Antinomy, the Thesis: the Ricardian labor theory of value is also an objective illusion, insofar as it is understood as an empirical actuality (something we encounter within experience) rather than as a transcendental condition of experience. We only encounter “surplus value” in and for itself in the way that we encounter time, space, and causality in and for themselves. They are conditions of experience, rather than things that we encounter within experience.This is why, Karatani says, “Marx’s labor theory of value and Ricardo’s are fundamentally different”; for Marx, “it is not that input labor time determines the value, but conversely that the value form (system) determines the social[ly necessary] labor time” (244). And, “while for the classical economists, labor value is just a replacement of the equilibrium price that is established within a unitary system, Marx began his whole analysis from manifold systems, and hence came to need the concepts of social and abstract labor value” (227-228).

    These considerations lead Karatani to emphasize the importance of circulation, and of money, within Marx’s analysis of capitalism. There’s long been controversy as to why Marx begins Capital Volume 1 with a discussion of the commodity form and of money (and of commodity fetishism), before he gets to the theory of surplus value. Louis Althusser even advises readers to skip these chapters when reading Capital; Althusser sees them as a Hegelian throwback, and as a distraction from Marx’s main argument. Karatani, to the contrary, argues for the centrality of these chapters to Marx’s entire project. Indeed, for Karatani these chapters are the site of a rupture (what Althusser calls an epistemological break) with Marx’s earlier, more tentative theories: because they are the place where Marx develops the crucial notion of the value-form: “all the enigmas of capital’s drive are inscribed in the theory of value form… Value form is a kind of form that people are not aware of when they are placed within the monetary economy; this is the form that is discovered only transcendentally” (9).

    The theory of value-form turns on the dual nature of commodities: that they are at once both use-value and exchange-value. This sundering is only possible because of the role of money. Money is a universal equivalent, a special commodity that stands in for all other commodities. As a result, there is a radical “asymmetricity… inherent in the form of value” (200) between money and all other commodities.
    [...]
    The core problem in Marx’s Antinomy of value is that both sides ignore the actuality of money as universal equivalent. For Ricardo and the classical political economists on one side, and for Bailey and the neoclassical school, down to the present day, on the other, money itself is considered to be of no importance. For Ricardo, money simply measures the labor inscribed in commodities as their value; for Bailey, value is relational, but he pays no attention to money as the medium in which these relations are expressed and worked out. “Bailey overlooked a simple fact — that commodities cannot be exchanged directly” (194). Both Ricardo and Bailey see money as transparent, in the same way that traditional metaphysics sees language as transparent. Even today, as Doug Henwood puts it in his fine book Wall Street, “in (neo)classical economics, money is held to be neutral – a mere lubricant to trade, but not a force in itself”; economics builds “paradigms that often ignore money and finance completely, or treat it as an afterthought.” Marx, to the contrary, insists on the opacity of money and finance. As a universal equivalent or transcendental form, money does not merely put external terms (objects sold as commodities) into relation; it molds and alters those terms by the very fact of equating them (money as universal equivalent is what transforms things into commodities in the first place). Similarly, financial speculation — such as is overwhelmingly present in global markets today — is not just an illusion distracting us from the “real” economic activity that takes place in production. Or better, financial speculation is an illusion, but a transcendental one: its illusoriness is itself an objective force, one that drives the entire process of production and circulation. It is not Marxist political economy, but neoclassical economics, that reduces everything to production and to utility, and thereby ignores the structural and material importance of the delirious, ungrounded flows of finance capital that constitute the largest part of economic activity today.

  12. #42

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    Even today, as Doug Henwood puts it in his fine book Wall Street, “in (neo)classical economics, money is held to be neutral – a mere lubricant to trade, but not a force in itself”; economics builds “paradigms that often ignore money and finance completely, or treat it as an afterthought.”
    I'd be careful before paying to much heed to Doug Henwood. He has his moments (as does LBO) but he's pretty from being an actual economist. Macroeconomics is, ahem, pretty concerned with finance and money. Even regarding economists themselves, the above is simply not true, in my experience. Go to the most popular economic blogs on the net -- Mark Thoma's blog, Yves Smith's blog, Brad DeLong's, Dani Rodrik's, Angry Bear's, CR, Krugman's -- they all discuss money and finance probably more than any other topic. Hard not to in today's clilmate, I suppose.

    Also, it's been a while since I read any Marx. Does he regard "this sundering" as unique to capitalism, or is it present in all cultures -- the human condition, if you will?

    And I'm intrigued as to what, if you regard (or agree with) the transformation problem as fundamentally unsolveable, you are going to do instead?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vimothy View Post
    I'd be careful before paying to much heed to Doug Henwood. He has his moments (as does LBO) but he's pretty from being an actual economist. Macroeconomics is, ahem, pretty concerned with finance and money. Even regarding economists themselves, the above is simply not true, in my experience. Go to the most popular economic blogs on the net -- Mark Thoma's blog, Yves Smith's blog, Brad DeLong's, Dani Rodrik's, Angry Bear's, CR, Krugman's -- they all discuss money and finance probably more than any other topic. Hard not to in today's clilmate, I suppose.

    Also, it's been a while since I read any Marx. Does he regard "this sundering" as unique to capitalism, or is it present in all cultures -- the human condition, if you will?

    And I'm intrigued as to what, if you regard (or agree with) the transformation problem as fundamentally unsolveable, you are going to do instead?
    Well, obv money is, ahem, pretty important to economics - Marx-via-Karatani's point is that money is not a transparent medium, but something that changes the nature of exchange.

    The sundering in question is of the commodity form within the money-capitalism system - not sure how that could be the human condition? (unless you're thinking of something like Deleuze & Guattari's insight that capitalism is the nightmare of all previous society forms, because of its seemingly infinite capacity to proliferate, something that was somehow warded off even when conditions were favourable for it to develop? but you're probably not!)

    What to do instead is, presumably, use the insights to better analyse how capitalism works.

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    I was thinking also that Mark's statement was getting at something else that is particular about Capitalism. That at some very fundamental level in our understanding of economies, of the world even, an error has crept in, a fallacy, a false assumption.
    There is truth to this, but I don't think Mark's posts (or indeed Marxism) goes to the root of the problem. It is easy to see that many of the problems Marxists attribute to capitalism, are also prevalent in pre-capitalist societies.

    The two real issues seem to be the scarcity of certain resources, and the lack of trust between humans which originates in humanity's emergency out of the dog-eat-dog world of the animal kingdom. This lack of trust is still visible everywhere in contemporary human behaviour, and wars over resource access, like the ongoing Iraq war is but one example.

    Due to technological development we can now feed humans easily and with little labour input for the first time in history. This abundance of food from the mechanisation of agriculture), together with social innovations (all not coming out of the Marxist tradition) like health insurance, pensions, unemployment benefits ... has pacified humanity to a considerable degree. Choice quote: "If the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been two billion deaths, not 100 million." (See this text.)

    Are you saying that even though disproportionately large amounts of money that continue to grow are owned by individual entities, it remains in circulation?
    Yes.

    Take Bill Gates as an example. He does not sit on a heap of gold coins a la Scrooge McDuck. His wealth, or so I assume, is in Microsoft shares. His wealth is thus tied up in the production of software that fuels much of the contemporary world. It is (re)invested. It is productive. The figures of his wealth that are quoted in support of his fabulous wealth are thus largely fictional. The combined price of his shares is but an expectation of how much he would earn if he sold all his shares based on today's price of a single Microsoft share. But at Gates' level, Microsoft shares are not liquid. If he sold all his shares in one go, the share price would collapse.

    This would be a form of madness, since the whole hinge of Marxism rests on its efficacy as an economic theory. As Lenin put it: "Marx ism is powerful because it is true.
    I disagree, one can disentangle various features of Marx analysis: a theory of monetary value, a theory of history, an account of the dependency of economic on scientific progress, a theory of politics, ideology, revolution, preproduction of inequality, epistemology ... and find them convincing to varying degrees. The main attraction of Marxism in general seems to be in its ethical impulse, in the realisation that there's something wrong in how this world is organised, and that the problem is fixable. But good intentions are not much and I don't think that revolutionary politics are the way to go.

    Finally, since no-one seems able to offer a convincing defence of the LTOV, or Marxist theory in general,
    Nobody seems to be able to offer a convincing defence of key features of quantum mechanics either, and yet it's the dominant theory of sub-molecular behaviour, because there is nothing on the horizon that could rival its successes.The question of what economic value is, and how it relates to prices is far from being solved. Marginalist approaches also often ignore the question of risk, or the communicative function of monetary exchange. Clearly, in many economic situations, the amount of labour that goes into a product has a strong influence on prices. Clearly, there are also important prices, like that of an oil future maturing in 5 years hence, where this is different.

    There is an underlying epistemological problem: what does it mean to explain (economic) values? Usually scientific explanation is tied up with prediction (and the mechanism allowing prediction needs to be simpler than the system to be predicted to be of any use). But the complexity and the reflexive nature of markets (which are about expectations of human behaviour) makes it unlikely that good and simple predictions about prices are obtainable. But then how can we have a solid theory of prices/values?

    is it worth asking at this point why, in the absence of logical grounds to support it, it should still enjoy such prestige today
    • Because there is poverty and injustice in the world.
    • Because the poor and those who deem themselves to be victims of injustice (i.e. everybody), assume that if the world would be organised slightly differently, they would not be poor/victims of injustice.
    • Marxism is a convenient framework (socially and theoretically) to discuss poverty and injustice.
    • Alternative approaches to economics/social theory do not always address the issues of poverty and injustice adequately.

    That point about it being impossible to imagine anything outside the present order is born out here so regularly these days it's depressing.
    This is confused on two counts.
    • How could you make this statement, except if you had (or imagined) the ability to imagine something outside the present order? (Somewhat of a cliche argument, I know.)
    • Marxism is not -- contrary to its often repeated self-description -- "outside the present order. It is very much part of it. Communist parties have been around for more than 100 years. They were ruling substantial parts of the world population for a long time. Communist discourse is everywhere and totally stable, in the sense of not changing, or changing only marginally. Hence Marxism is very much part of the structure of society and the most interesting question is: what function does Marxism have in the reproduction of society.


    it has become apparent that no other system of organising resources has worked even nearly as well and the only Marxist response to this situation is to say that the wrong question is being asked [...]. This could well be the case I guess but I think that the onus is on the people insisting on this to demonstrate it - not just say it could be happening but show that it is, otherwise is's nothing but paranoia or wishful thinking on the part of those who don't want to face the fact that the basis for their philosophy is flawed.
    That's exactly right, and my position also. It would be so easy for lefties to demonstrate the superiority of their ideas for social organisation. Just form communities that practise what you preach. Mennonite communities like the Amish, pariah countries like North Korea -- for better or worse, or historical slave communities like Palmares, demonstrate that it is perfectly feasible to achieve a near perfect isolation from surrounding market economies. There are enough Marxists around to do a similar thing with Marxist economical organisation. I concede that the isolation would not be perfect, but the superiority of Marxist economics should be robust under various environments, otherwise it is unlikely to be correct.

    NB: I have included Palmares as an example, as a warning to myself,knowing very well that the Brazilian landowners ran several extremely violent campaigns against it which eventually lead to its downfall, because they did not want to see free ex-slaves to succeed, thus endangering
    their slave economies.

    "It is not Marxist political economy, but neoclassical economics, that reduces everything to production and to utility, and thereby ignores the structural and material importance of the delirious, ungrounded flows of finance capital that constitute the largest part of economic activity today."
    But that is nonsense. In no way does the flows of finance capital constitute the largest part of economic activity today. The largest part of economic activity today is in building cars, ships, houses, producing food, computers, organising health-care ... An interesting question is: how does the general perception that "the flows of finance capital constitute the largest part of economic activity today" come about? I can envision the following reasons.
    • Financial transactions are easy to observe because the are explicitly quantified.
    • Some financial transactions are spectacular, worth millions or even billions, which brings attention.
    • It is easy for critics to go on about the absurdity of modern economic organisation by pointing to financial transactions, since the audience does not understand what these transactions are for and what their economic value might be, while at the same time harbouring resentment against those who pocket the substantial transaction costs (bankers).

    And I'm intrigued as to what, if you regard (or agree with) the transformation problem as fundamentally unsolvable, you are going to do instead?
    Every time you buy or sell something, you solve that problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dHarry View Post
    Marx-via-Karatani's point is that money is not a transparent medium, but something that changes the nature of exchange.
    Of course money changes the nature of exchange. It generalises, simplifies and extends the reach of exchange. That's the whole point, and was one of the poitns of the original thread.

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