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economics

The global financial crisis: implications for Asia

By Reihana Mohideen

The Wall Street crisis seems light years away from the side streets of Manila’s urban poor slums. For the labouring masses in the Philippines the capitalist system has been in crisis for some time now, unable to deliver life’s basic necessities: jobs and a living wage; affordable quality healthcare and education; and food security.

According to official National Statistics Office data poverty levels have increased between 2003 and 2006, and 2008 is expected to be the worst year since the 1998 Asian economic crisis. Between April 2007 and April 2008 the labour force grew by only 81,000, while the number of unemployed rose by 249,000, i.e. triple the increase in the labour force. In 2008 the number of employed persons fell by 168,000 and there was no employment generation in April of this year. Jobs were being lost at a time when prices and inflation were skyrocketing.

Walden Bello: A primer on the Wall Street meltdown

By Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South

[Read more on the capitalist economic crisis HERE.]

September 25, 2008 -- The Wall Street meltdown is not only due to greed and to the lack of government regulation of a hyperactive sector. It stems from the crisis of overproduction that has plagued global capitalism since the mid-seventies.

Many on Wall Street are still digesting the momentous events of the last ten days:

Wall Street crisis: Poor to bail out the rich again

By Peter Boyle

September 26, 2008 -- "Rich people got it good in this country", said African-American comedian Wanda Sykes on the September 24 Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "We refuse to let them not be rich. Think about it. Broke people are about to bailout rich people. This is what is going on."

"And they want no oversight. $700 billion dollars and no oversight! No oversight? Why should we? I want receipts dammit! What do you mean no oversight? Because, oh, you're so good with the other money?"

"This is the biggest piece of garbage ever. You know what? It's welfare for the rich...

The importance of Marx, 150 years after the Grundrisse

A conversation between Eric Hobsbawm and Marcello Musto. Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission of Marcello Musto.

 

 

Financial crisis: working people will pay

By Dick Nichols

September 20, 2008 -- “Will my superannuation [pension] fund be next?” “Are my savings safe?” As working people in the developed economies watch the assets of one financial institution after another vaporise into nothingness, tens of millions are asking these dreadful questions.

 

 

Yesterday’s AAA assets are now junk and yesterday’s “risk-free” investments are losing money. No-one, not even the world’s central bankers, who are spending sleepless nights arranging rescue bailouts and emergency injections of trillions of dollars into a financial system frozen with fear and distrust, can answer them with 100% certainty.

Debunking the `Tragedy of the Commons'

By Ian Angus

August 24, 2008 -- Will shared resources always be misused and overused? Is community ownership of land, forests and fisheries a guaranteed road to ecological disaster? Is privatisation the only way to protect the environment and end Third World poverty? Most economists and development planners will answer “yes” — and for proof they will point to the most influential article ever written on those important questions.

Since its publication in Science in December 1968, “The Tragedy of the Commons” has been anthologised in at least 111 books, making it one of the most-reprinted articles ever to appear in any scientific journal. It is also one of the most quoted: a recent Google search found “about 302,000” results for the phrase “tragedy of the commons”.

For 40 years it has been, in the words of a World Bank discussion paper, “the dominant paradigm within which social scientists assess natural resource issues” (Bromley and Cernea 1989: 6). It has been used time and again to justify stealing indigenous peoples’ lands, privatising health care and other social services, giving corporations ``tradable permits'' to pollute the air and water, and much more.

The coming economic & environment meltdowns ... and the possibilities for fighting back

July 15, 2008 --The planet is facing a meltdown -- from the global financial system to the unprecedented environmental crisis. Almost everyone from stockbrokers to scientists to economists agree the situation is dire.

Yet Wall Street banks are given hundred-million-dollar bailouts, while millions face home foreclosures. In the Third world it's worse -- crops are used to provide fuel for thirsty rich-world SUVs, while 100 million more people face starvation due to the growing food crisis. The disregard for the hardship of the majority has seen food riots and strikes hit over 30 countries.

The crisis of the global economy

A report of the Institute of Globalisation and Social Movements, Moscow

By Vasily Koltashov

Translated by Renfrey Clarke, Links – International Journal of Socialist Renewal (http://links.org.au)

Moscow, June 9, 2008 -- In the early weeks of 2008 virtually all Russian and foreign experts viewed the situation in the world economy favourably. Warnings from a few analysts that a major economic crisis lay ahead were not taken especially seriously by optimistic-minded populations.

On January 22 the stock exchanges were shaken by the first slump, followed by a series of new collapses. The world’s share markets were destabilised. Inflation accelerated, with food prices beginning to rise sharply. A number of American and European banks announced colossal losses in their results for 2007. The scale of the economic problems in the US became evident. A new world crisis had begun. The emergence of its first symptoms provoked numerous questions concerning the nature of the crisis, the reasons behind it, and the logic shaping its probable development.

Che Guevara's final verdict on the Soviet economy

By John Riddell

June 8, 2008 -- One of the most important developments in Cuban Marxism in recent years has been increased attention to the writings of Ernesto Che Guevara on the economics and politics of the transition to socialism.

A milestone in this process was the publication in 2006 by Ocean Press and Cuba's Centro de Estudios Che Guevara of Apuntes criticos a la economía política [Critical Notes on Political Economy], a collection of Che's writings from the years 1962 to 1965, many of them previously unpublished. The book includes a lengthy excerpt from a letter to Fidel Castro, entitled ``Some Thoughts on the Transition to Socialism''. In it, in extremely condensed comments, Che presented his views on economic development in the Soviet Union.[1]

In 1965, the Soviet economy stood at the end of a period of rapid growth that had brought improvements to the still very low living standards of working people. Soviet prestige had been enhanced by engineering successes in defence production and space exploration. Most Western observers then considered that it showed more dynamism than its US counterpart.

At that time, almost the entire Soviet productive economy was owned by the state. It was managed by a privileged bureaucracy that consolidated its control in the 1920s under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. Managers were rewarded on the basis of fulfilling production norms laid down from above; workers were commonly paid by the piece.

John Bellamy Foster on the global financial crisis

‘Nobody knows where the toxic debt is buried and how much there is’

John Bellamy Foster is editor of the Monthly Review, a prominent political journal established by the Marxist economist Paul Sweezy in the 1940s.

Foster is a professor of sociology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, USA. He has written widely on political economy and has established a reputation as an environmental socialist.

He has proven that Karl Marx was a radical ecologist in his book, Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature.

Foster is interviewed by Peter Boyle for Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly. It was conducted during the Climate Change Social Change conference in Sydney, April 11-13, 2008.

The written version of the interview is available at Green Left Weekly.

African agriculture and the World Bank: Development or impoverishment?

By Kjell Havnevik, Deborah Bryceson, Lars-Erik Birgegård, Prosper Matondi & Atakilte Beyene

December, 2007 -- Agriculture's dominant role in Sub-Saharan Africa's local, national and regional economies and cultures throughout pre-colonial history has been foundational to 20th century colonial and post-colonial development. No other continent has been so closely identified with smallholder peasant farming. Nonetheless, smallholder farming has been eroding over the last three decades, perpetuating rural poverty and marginalising remote rural areas. Donors' search for rural ``success stories'' merely reinforces this fact. Certainly many farmers have voted with their feet by increasingly engaging in non-agricultural livelihoods or migrating to urban areas. In so doing, the significance of agriculture for the majority of Africa's population has altered.

Cricket, excess and market mania

By Srinivasan Ramani

The Indian Premier League is seen as a bonanza for cricket viewers, players and corporate owners, but hidden behind the glitz is the fact that it represents a distorted form of commodity and consumer excess. The Indian Premier League (IPL), a corporate-driven tournament featuring a set of city teams playing Twenty20 cricket, has made news with a multimillion dollar player auction. Players from various cricket-playing nations were ``bought'' and ``sold'' through bids made by the corporate-owned teams (the franchisees).

Cricket in India has become the only sport that has captured widespread mass and media attention. The popularity of the sport has increased in leaps and bounds, and the way the sport has been managed and administered has reflected the dominant mode of economic transactions in the country.

South Africa: Two economies - or one system of superexploitation

By Patrick Bond
[The following is the introduction to ``Transcending two economies – renewed debates in South African political economy'', a special issue of Africanus, Journal of Development Studies (Vol. 37 No. 2 2007, ISSN 0304-615x). It is republished with permission.The full issue is available for free download at http://www.nu.ac.za/ccs/files/africanus_1.pdf ]

Facing the crisis

By Boris Kagarlitsky

The first years of the twenty-first century are not bearing out the hopes of the global elites. As is often the case, the pompous ceremonies have been followed by major setbacks. A warning that should have been heeded was the Asian crisis of 1997-98, the consequences of which were overcome only at vast cost. Ideologues and journalists, however, reassured the world with references to the peculiarities of the “new economy” that had triumphed in the late twentieth century in the US and Western Europe. According to this theory, we have entered a new phase of history in which the main factor of development is becoming a talent for innovation which in theory is organically present in Western culture. The Asian countries, oriented toward industrial production, are held to be simply incapable of entering this beautiful new world.

Militarism underpins globalisation

By Francisco Pascual

Francisco Pascual is the executive director of the Resource Center for People's Development, Manila, and a member of the International Coordinating Committee and coordinator of the International Secretariat, International South Group Network. This paper was presented at the Asian Workshop on "Women and Globalisation", November 22-24, 2001, in Manila.

Principles, strategies and tactics of decommodification in South Africa

By Patrick Bond

Patrick Bond is the author of two recent books: Unsustainable South Africa: Environment, Development and Social Protest and Fanon's Warning: A Civil Society Reader on the New Partnership for Africa's Development. Both are available from Africa World Press (http://www.africanworld.com). His 2001 book Against Global Apartheid: South Africa meets the World Bank, IMF and International Finance, will be republished by Zed Press this year, as will a new edition of Elite Transition: From Apartheid to Neoliberalism in South Africa from Pluto Press.

What happened in globalisation?

By Humphrey McQueen

Humphrey McQueen is a leading Marxist writer in Australia and an activist in the Socialist Alliance. A version of this article appeared in the Journal of Australian Political Economy, No. 51 (Jime 2003).

 

CONTENTS

Globalising capitals

Labour times

Money-capital

Commodity-capital

Production-capital

The nation-market-state

Summing up

Notes

 

 

 

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