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Book part
Publication date: 8 May 2004

Rick Kuhn

Henryk Grossman was the first person to systematically explore Marx’s explanation of capitalist crises in terms of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall and to place…

Abstract

Henryk Grossman was the first person to systematically explore Marx’s explanation of capitalist crises in terms of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall and to place it in the context of the distinction between use and exchange value. His “The Law of Accumulation and Breakdown of the Capitalist System” remains an important reference point in the Marxist literature on economic crises. That literature has been plagued by distortions of Grossman’s position which derive from early hostile reviews of his book. These accused Grossman of a mechanical approach to the end of capitalism and of neglecting factors which boost profit rates. Grossman, in fact, contributed a complementary economic element to the recovery of Marxism undertaken by Lenin (particularly in the area of Marxist politics) and Lukács (in philosophy). In both published and unpublished work, Grossman also dealt with and even anticipated criticisms of his methodology and treatment of countertendencies to the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Far from being mechanical, his economic analysis can still assist the struggle for working class self-emancipation.

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Neoliberalism in Crisis, Accumulation, and Rosa Luxemburg's Legacy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-098-2

Book part
Publication date: 22 September 2015

Radhika Desai

This introduction to the essays that follow argues that the chief problem with the dominant understanding of world affairs in the disciplines of International Relations…

Abstract

This introduction to the essays that follow argues that the chief problem with the dominant understanding of world affairs in the disciplines of International Relations and International Political Economy, including their Marxist versions, is an a historical, non-contradictory and economically cosmopolitan conception of capitalism. In their place, geopolitical economy is a new approach which returns to the conception of capitalism embodied in the culmination of classical political economy, Marxism. It was historical in two senses, distinguishing capitalism as a historically specific mode of social production involving by value production and understanding that its contradictions drive forward capitalism’s own history in a central way. This approach must further develop and specify uneven and combined development as the dominant pattern in the unfolding of capitalist international relations, one that is constitutive of its component states themselves. Secondly, it must understand the logic of the actions undertaken by capitalist states as emerging from the struggles involved in the formation of capitalist states and from the contradictions that are set in train once capitalism is established. Finally, it must see in the ways that class and national struggles and resulting state actions have modified the functioning of capitalism the possibilities of replacing the disorder, contestation and war that are the spontaneous result of capitalism for international relations the basis for a cooperative order in relations between states, an order which can also be the means for realising the permanent revolution and solidifying its gains on the international or world plane.

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Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-295-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1992

John Conway O'Brien

A collection of essays by a social economist seeking to balanceeconomics as a science of means with the values deemed necessary toman′s finding the good life and society…

Abstract

A collection of essays by a social economist seeking to balance economics as a science of means with the values deemed necessary to man′s finding the good life and society enduring as a civilized instrumentality. Looks for authority to great men of the past and to today′s moral philosopher: man is an ethical animal. The 13 essays are: 1. Evolutionary Economics: The End of It All? which challenges the view that Darwinism destroyed belief in a universe of purpose and design; 2. Schmoller′s Political Economy: Its Psychic, Moral and Legal Foundations, which centres on the belief that time‐honoured ethical values prevail in an economy formed by ties of common sentiment, ideas, customs and laws; 3. Adam Smith by Gustav von Schmoller – Schmoller rejects Smith′s natural law and sees him as simply spreading the message of Calvinism; 4. Pierre‐Joseph Proudhon, Socialist – Karl Marx, Communist: A Comparison; 5. Marxism and the Instauration of Man, which raises the question for Marx: is the flowering of the new man in Communist society the ultimate end to the dialectical movement of history?; 6. Ethical Progress and Economic Growth in Western Civilization; 7. Ethical Principles in American Society: An Appraisal; 8. The Ugent Need for a Consensus on Moral Values, which focuses on the real dangers inherent in there being no consensus on moral values; 9. Human Resources and the Good Society – man is not to be treated as an economic resource; man′s moral and material wellbeing is the goal; 10. The Social Economist on the Modern Dilemma: Ethical Dwarfs and Nuclear Giants, which argues that it is imperative to distinguish good from evil and to act accordingly: existentialism, situation ethics and evolutionary ethics savour of nihilism; 11. Ethical Principles: The Economist′s Quandary, which is the difficulty of balancing the claims of disinterested science and of the urge to better the human condition; 12. The Role of Government in the Advancement of Cultural Values, which discusses censorship and the funding of art against the background of the US Helms Amendment; 13. Man at the Crossroads draws earlier themes together; the author makes the case for rejecting determinism and the “operant conditioning” of the Skinner school in favour of the moral progress of autonomous man through adherence to traditional ethical values.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 19 no. 3/4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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A World Beyond Work?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-143-8

Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Rina Agarwala

This chapter examines how gender interacts with informal workers’ collective action strategies in the context of contemporary development scripts around economic growth…

Abstract

This chapter examines how gender interacts with informal workers’ collective action strategies in the context of contemporary development scripts around economic growth. Specifically, it engages the theoretical debates on the relationship between patriarchy and capitalism as the systems of domination that organize gender and class. Drawing from a comparative analysis of informal workers’ movements in India’s domestic work and construction sectors, I find the relationship between gender and class and between patriarchy and capitalism is being reconceptualized from below and differs by occupational structures and organization histories. For domestic workers, movements assert what I call a “unitary” model of exploitation. Because domestic workers’ organizations entered the productive sphere through a focus on social reproduction, their struggles conflate gender and class to reverse the shame attached to domestic work and increase the recognized worth of women’s labor. Because construction workers’ organizations mobilize male and female workers and began as class-based organizations focusing on productive work, they articulate what I term “a dual systems” approach to patriarchy and capitalism that exposes inequalities between men and women within the sector, such as unequal pay, glass ceilings, and issues of embodiment. In both cases, global development scripts have not only shaped movement approaches, but also enabled movements to articulate gendered labor subjects in innovative ways. While domestic workers’ unitary model has had more success in increasing women workers’ dignity and leadership, construction workers’ dualist model has attained more successes in attaining material benefits in the reproductive sphere. These findings suggest that debates on unitary versus dual-systems models of exploitation present a false dichotomy and veil the reality that both are necessary for feminist theory, development models, and women workers’ struggles on the ground.

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Gendering Struggles against Informal and Precarious Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-368-5

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Left-Wing Populism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-203-9

Book part
Publication date: 8 November 2010

Narihiko Ito

In the second half of the 1980s, together with Perestroika in the Soviet Union, a process took place to end the Cold War as a confrontation between the United States of…

Abstract

In the second half of the 1980s, together with Perestroika in the Soviet Union, a process took place to end the Cold War as a confrontation between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. At the same time, this process caused the collapse of the Soviet Union and socialist system and thereafter the separation and independence of the many nationalities that constituted the Soviet socialist system in the East and South Europe. However to our regret, such nationalities could not enjoy freedom by independence, but went to brutal wars between separated nationalities. Even after many local wars and brutalities we cannot yet find the final solution through peace and justice for peoples.

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The National Question and the Question of Crisis
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-493-2

Book part
Publication date: 22 May 2012

Larry W. Isaac

Purpose – This paper extends research on social movement media by focusing on the use of a literary genre – realist fiction – namely, the labor problem novel in the…

Abstract

Purpose – This paper extends research on social movement media by focusing on the use of a literary genre – realist fiction – namely, the labor problem novel in the context of the labor movement and countermovement in late 19th-century America.

Methodology – I do a close reading of a significant early dialogical cluster of such novels to address three key questions: (1) Field position of authors – What was the position of these labor problem authors in relation to the movement field and literary field and how did that positioning matter? (2) Genre selection – What was it about the realist novel that attracted labor problem partisans to it? (3) Internal content – How did authors shape the internal structure and content of their stories?

Findings – As literary activists, authors pivoted between the movement field and literary field selecting the novel for the special powers that it possessed relative to other historically available media. Authors produced stories with a good/evil binary attached to characters that stood for emerging social categories in young industrial America. During the Gilded Age (and beyond) the novel played an important role as medium for the labor movement and its opposition – characterizing collective actors, dramatizing forms of action, providing materials for claims of injustice or threats, solutions to social problems, and new categories and collective identities – all with powerful emotional appeal and entertainment value.

Implications – This study suggests that social movement scholars might expand their purview of cultural media used by movements and also take genre and its selection by activists seriously.

Originality – This study demonstrates how literature – realist fiction – has been shaped by movement agents and played an important, but under-appreciated, role in the struggle over cultural supremacy in the context of movement–countermovement dynamics.

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Media, Movements, and Political Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-881-6

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Book part
Publication date: 7 September 2008

Chad Alan Goldberg

The insights of T. H. Marshall and Pierre Bourdieu are drawn upon, integrated and extended to show how social spending policies have been key sites for historical struggles

Abstract

The insights of T. H. Marshall and Pierre Bourdieu are drawn upon, integrated and extended to show how social spending policies have been key sites for historical struggles over the boundaries and rights of American citizenship. In the 19th century, paupers forfeited their civil and political rights in exchange for relief. Rather than break definitively with this legacy, major policy innovations in the United States that expanded state involvement in social provision generated struggles over whether to model the new policies on or distinguish them from traditional poor relief. At stake in these struggles were the citizenship status and rights of the policies’ clients. Both the emergence of such citizenship struggles and their outcomes are explained. These struggles emerged when policy innovations created new groups of clients, the new policy treated clients in contradictory ways and policy elites formed ties to social movements with stakes in the status and rights of the policy's clients. The outcomes of the struggles have been shaped by the institutional structure of the policy and the manner and extent to which the policy became entangled in racial politics. Historical evidence for these claims is provided by a case study of the Works Progress Administration, an important but understudied component of the New Deal welfare state.

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Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-418-8

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

There have been times in recent years when it has seemed that the US economy, in particular, has defied economic gravity. This was certainly the case in the late nineties…

Abstract

There have been times in recent years when it has seemed that the US economy, in particular, has defied economic gravity. This was certainly the case in the late nineties of the twentieth century. Many heaved a sigh of relief when the Nasdaq and the Dow responded to the pull of economic gravity and fell to earth in the early part of the twenty first century. The Earth at the time, in 2002, appeared to be indices of around 8,000 for the Dow and 1,250 for the Nasdaq. These measures still indicated huge wealth in terms of saleable bits of paper as well, indicating the underlying huge capacity of the real economy for creating surpluses. Both indices climbed back, though the Nasdaq was a long way from its astronomic former heights before the next (2007) crisis hit. True to the cyclical record of modern capitalism, however, by 2006 the US and the world stock markets were booming again. The nominal value of shares traded worldwide in 2006 by some estimates was nearly $70 trillion (Bogle, 2005). In 2007, another crisis appeared, ushered in supposedly by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market in the United States; subsequent events took their toll in economic and financial terms not only in the United States but worldwide in most of the major economies. The terms “credit crunch” and “sub-prime” had become so pervasive within a few weeks of the onset of the latest economic crisis that by July 2008, the Concise Oxford Dictionary provided definitions for them. While these terms are now embedded in the language of economics and everyday speech, inevitably the affected economies will recover from the crises and continue to grow. While there is no shortage of reasons posited for the latest crisis and those preceding it, far fewer explanations have been forwarded to tell us why economies survive economic shocks and, despite dire predictions and expressions of gloom, recent crises have not been as disastrous as was once the case, notably as in the Depression years of the 1930s. During the Depression of the Thirties, production fell by a third between 1929 and 1933, unemployment reached 13 million and even by 1938 one person in five were unemployed. No economist has predicted these dire consequences even for the crisis of 2007–2009. In 1999, Paul Krugman published his short book: The Return of Depression Economics in which he not only reminded us of the 1930s Depression but suggested that the then economic crises bore an “eerie resemblance to the Great Depression.”1 He retreats within a few pages and describes the events as the Great Recession because the global damage has been “well short of Depression levels” (Krugman, 1999). A decade later, Krugman, by then a Nobel laureate for economics in 2008, began his 2009 revised edition of Return of Depression Economics thus: “The world economy is not in depression: it probably won't fall into depression (though I wish I could be completely sure about that)” (Krugman, 2009). By early January 2009, he surprised other economic commentators by using the term “depression” in his New York Times column.

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Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

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