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John Bellamy Foster: `Capitalism has reached its limits'

Postscript to "The Financialization of Capital and the Crisis"

By John Bellamy Foster

October 26, 2008 -- Six months ago the United States was already deep in a financial crisis -- the roots of which were explained in `The Financialization of Capital and the Crisis' (Monthly Review, April 2008). Yet, the conditions now are several orders of magnitude worse and are affecting the entire world.

We are clearly in the midst of one of the great crises in the history of capitalism. More than a mere financial panic, what is taking place is a major devaluation of capital of still undetermined dimensions. Marx explained that capital was invariably over-extended in a boom and that in the crisis that followed a part of that capital was devalued, enabling the rest to return to profitability and to the process of accumulation and expansion.

South African Communist Party on capitalist economic crisis, right-wing split in the ANC

NUMSA members

Speech to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) 8th national congress by Blade Nzimande, South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary

October 14, 2008 -- The SACP wishes to express its appreciation for the invitation to come and address this august body, the 8th national congress of this giant affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Your congress is taking place at very crucial domestic and international conjunctures which though may seem distinct but are deeply interrelated developments: the global crisis of finance capital and the splinter group from the African National Congress (ANC). I say these are related because we are part of a global capitalist system, whose impact on our shores go beyond just the economic realm, but has had disproportionate influence on our politics as well.

CONFÉRENCE INTERNATIONALE D'ÉCONOMIE POLITIQUE: RÉPONSES DU SUD À LA CRISE ÉCONOMIQUE MONDIALE DÉCLARATION FINALE

Caracas 11 octobre 2008

Tenue au Venezuela, à Caracas, du 8 au 11 octobre 2008 en présence d’experts et de chercheurs en provenance d'Argentine, d'Australie, de Belgique, du Canada, du Chili, de Chine, de Corée du Sud, de Cuba, d’Egypte, d'Équateur, d'Espagne, des États-Unis, des Philippines, de France, d'Angleterre, du Mexique, du Pérou, d'Uruguay et du Vénézuéla, la Conférence Internationale d'Économie Politique « Réponses du Sud à la Crise Économique Mondiale » a ouvert un large débat sur l'actualité économique et financière de l'économie mondiale, les nouvelles perspectives et les défis que doivent relever les gouvernements et les peuples du Sud.

Fictitious capital and real compacts

By Anitra Nelson

October 15, 2008 -- Radical Notes -- Perhaps we need a Marxian to sort out the world's financial woes. The insights of Karl Marx on capitalist crises, especially speculation and financial crises, were sophisticated for his time. Indeed, this nineteenth century communist revolutionary called financial assets and loans 'fictitious capital' or 'imaginary wealth' as distinct from 'real capital' -- industrial or productive capital -- such as factories and commodity stocks.

The global economic crisis: An historic opportunity for transformation

An initial response from individuals, social movements and non-governmental organisations in support of a transitional program for radical economic transformation.

Preamble

Beijing, October 15, 2008 -- Taking advantage of the opportunity of so many people from movements gathering in Beijing during the Asia-Europe People’s Forum, the Transnational Institute and Focus on the Global South convened informal nightly meetings between October 13 and 15, 2008. We took stock of the meaning of the unfolding global economic crisis and the opportunity it presents for us to put into the public domain some of the inspiring and feasible alternatives many of us have been working on for decades. This statement represents the collective outcome of our Beijing nights. We, the initial signatories, mean this to be a contribution towards efforts to formulate proposals around which our movements can organise as the basis for a radically different kind of political and economic order.

Please sign on to this statement at http://www.casinocrash.org.

Final declaration of the International Political Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis

October 11, 2008 -- Academics and researchers from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Peru, Phillipines, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela participated in the International Political Economy Conference: Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis, held in Caracas October 8-11, 2008. The conference stimulated a wide-ranging debate on the current economic and financial health of the global economy, the new perspectives and the challenges to the governments and peoples of the South posed by the international financial crisis.

The meeting concluded that the situation has worsened in the last few weeks. It has progressed rapidly from being a series of crises in the financial markets of countries in the centre and has turned into an extremely serious international crisis. This means that countries in the South are in a very difficult situation.

The crisis threatens the real economy and, if energetic and effective actions are not taken immediately, all peoples in the world could be drastically punished; especially the least-protected and most-neglected sectors.

John Bellamy Foster: Monopoly finance capital and the crisis

Interview with John Bellamy Foster for the Norwegian daily Klassekampen (posted from MRzine with permission), conducted on October 15, 2008.

Klassekampen: Is the credit crisis a symptom of overaccumulation of capital? It seems to me that investments worldwide, but especially in the United States, were funneled into the traditionally "safe" housing market following the bursting of the dotcom bubble. This overinvestment in turn generated a new bubble, thus causing today's havoc. Is this correct?

Free download: Marxist Economics -- A handbook of basic definitions

Download Marxist Economics -- A handbook of basic definitions (Resistance Books, 1998).

You can also purchase a hard copy, click HERE.

Introduction

This handbook is not, of course, a substitute for the study of Marxist political economy, but an aid to that study. It will perhaps prove most useful as an aid to review. It was first developed for the Fourth International’s cadre school in Europe. It was subsequently also used by the Democratic Socialist Party in its cadre school. Along the way, many of the definitions and explanations were modified to take account of students’ difficulties or further questions.

It may be asked, however, whether there is any longer any purpose in the study of Marxist economics. Is not Marx’s analysis discredited by the collapse of the “communist” states of Europe and China’s somewhat slower but no less determined path in the direction of capitalism? Have not Marxist economics been superseded by Keynesianism, or monetarism, or neo-liberalism?

Don't pay for a failed system

US$700 billion dollars is twice the combined debt of the world’s poorest 49 countries.

By Tony Iltis

October 11, 2008 -- “Meltdown” is a word that one hears a lot on the news these days.

Despite the US$700 billion government bailout of banks in the US, similar (albeit smaller) bailouts in Europe, and various forms of state intervention in the finance industry on both sides of the Atlantic, sharemarkets worldwide are in free fall. Comparisons with the Great Depression of the 1930s are common. Homelessness and unemployment are rising and are set to increase dramatically.

Meanwhile, more quietly but even more relentlessly, another meltdown is occurring: that of the polar icecaps. According to the Western world’s establishment politicians and corporate media, the way to avert catastrophic climate change lies in setting up elaborate emissions trading schemes and carbon markets: that is, relying on precisely the mechanisms that have created the economic meltdown!

Nuke deal a conduit to import US crisis into India

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US President George Bush

By Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

October 14, 2008 -- India's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government finally sealed the nuclear deal with the US on October 10. For the Congress Party and the coalition of ``Unashamed Partners of America'' headed by it, the nuclear deal is the supreme achievement of the government. On the eve of signing the deal, India's external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee reiterated India's commercial commitment to the US nuclear energy industry: "We look forward to working with US companies on the commercial steps that will follow to implement this landmark Agreement." In a second statement issued after the agreement's signing he also reiterated India's commitment to implement the agreement in good faith even though no such reciprocal assurance was made by the US to confirm New Delhi's claim regarding the so-called US ``guarantee'' on uninterrupted fuel supply.

Ernest Mandel: An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory (1967)

An Introduction to
Marxist Economic Theory (1967)

By Ernest Mandel


From the Marxist Internet Archive and the Mandel Archive at www.angelfire.com/pr/red/mandel/
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

John Bellamy Foster: Can the financial crisis be reversed?

Interview with John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review, for Página/12 (Argentina). This interview was first posted at MRzine on October 10, 2008, and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

Página/12: What is your opinion about the decision of the US Treasury Department to consider taking ownership stakes in many United States banks? Do you think this is the right political-economic strategy? I mean, will it lead to the recovery of the system?

Richard D. Wolff: Capitalism hits the fan: a socialist solution

Richard Wolff is professor of economics at UMass Amherst. He talks about the underlying cause of the current capitalist crisis (NOT ``financial'' crisis) and capitalism in general. Socialism and workers' democracy is presented as the alternative. The talk was presented by the Association for Economic and Social Analysis and the journal Rethinking Marxism in early October 2008.

Videos on the Marxist theory of capitalism

These resources with notes are created by Brendan Cooney and are available at Kapitalism 101. This page was compiled by Dave Riley.

The financial meltdown: Roots of the economic crisis in overaccumulation, financialisation and ‘global apartheid’

By Patrick Bond

October 3, 2008 -- The global economy’s vast financial sector expansion – in the context of productive sector stagnation tendencies – has increased the leading powerbrokers’ capacity to devalue large parts of the Third World (including major emerging market sites), as well as to write down selected financially volatile and vulnerable markets in the North (e.g. dot.com and real estate bubbles). In contrast to the 1930s, this set of partial write-downs of overaccumulated financial capital has not yet created such generalised panic and crisis contagion as to threaten the entire system’s integrity. Shifting and stalling the necessary devalorisation of overaccumulated capital, particularly as it bubbles up via financial sectors into speculative markets, entailed spatial and temporal fixes.

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Click HERE to view the accompanying PowerPoint slideshow

[Read more on the capitalist economic crisis HERE.]

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Capitalist versus socialist state intervention in the economy

By Martin Saatdjian

October 1, 2008 -- Venezelanalysis -- The current financial crisis reveals the first symptoms of a major, perhaps revolutionary, socioeconomic change in world affairs. Much has been said how, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, capitalism overshadowed socialism and "the end of history" was decreed in much of the intellectual world. Not surprisingly, less has been mentioned that while socialism was dying in Europe, it was also blossoming in Latin America. In 1989, events known as El Caracazo -- major protests in Venezuela against neoliberalism and the "Washington Consensus" aimed at reducing the role of the state in the economy -- erupted. The election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998 was a reaction not only to people's dislike [of neoliberalism] and the failure of neoliberalism, but also to the strong repression that followed the 1989 protests.

Four crises of the contemporary world capitalist system

By William K. Tabb

Monthly Review, October 8, 2008 -- This essay examines aspects of the global political economy that I hope will inform progressive governments and movements for social change. It evaluates the constraints and opportunities presented in the current conjuncture of world capitalist development by analysing four areas of crisis in the contemporary world capitalist system. These are not the only contradictory elements in the contemporary conjuncture, but they are, in my view, the most salient.

Audio: Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin on the financial crisis, neoliberalism and the American empire

October 4, 2008 (KPFA/Left Business Observer) Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin (preceded by a lengthy commentary by Doug Henwood) on the financial crisis, neoliberalism and the American empire -- the end of what, if anything, exactly?

Updated with video and audio: The financial crisis: A socialist perspective

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October 4, 2008 (KPFA/Left Business Observer) Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin on the financial crisis, neoliberalism and the American empire -- the end of what, if anything, exactly? Listen HERE

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Real News Network interviews with Leo Panitch

October 10, 2008:

Engels: Introduction to Karl Marx’s Wage Labor and Capital -1891

By Friedrich Engels

This pamphlet first appeared in the form of a series of leading articles in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, beginning on April 4th, 1849. The text is made up of from lectures delivered by Marx before the German Workingmen’s Club of Brussels in 1847. The series was never completed. The promise “to be continued,” at the end of the editorial in Number 269 of the newspaper, remained unfulfilled in consequence of the precipitous events of that time: the invasion of Hungary by the Russians [Tsarist troops invaded Hungary in 1849 to keep the Austrian Hapsburg dynasty in power], and the uprisings in Dresden, Iserlohn, Elberfeld, the Palatinate, and in Baden [Spontaneous uprisings in Germany in May-July 1849, supporting the Imperial Constitution which were crushed in mid-July], which led to the suppression of the paper on May 19th, 1849. And among the papers left by Marx no manuscript of any continuation of these articles has been found.

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