Verso Books

New Left Review - Wolfgang Streeck: How Will Capitalism End?

I suggest that we learn to think about capitalism coming to an end without assuming responsibility for answering the question of what one proposes to put in its place. It is a Marxist—or better: modernist—prejudice that capitalism as a historical epoch will end only when a new, better society is in sight, and a revolutionary subject ready to implement it for the advancement of mankind. This presupposes a degree of political control over our common fate of which we cannot even dream after the destruction of collective agency, and indeed the hope for it, in the neoliberal-globalist revolution. Neither a utopian vision of an alternative future nor superhuman foresight should be required to validate the claim that capitalism is facing its Götterdämmerung.I am willing to make exactly this claim, although I am aware of how many times capitalism has been declared dead in the past. In fact, all of the main theorists of capitalism have predicted its impending expiry, ever since the concept came into use in the mid-1800s. This includes not just radical critics like Marx or Polanyi, but also bourgeois theorists such as Weber, Schumpeter, Sombart and Keynes.

That something has failed to happen, in spite of reasonable predictions that it would, does not mean that it will never happen; here, too, there is no inductive proof. I believe that this time is different, one symptom being that even capitalism’s master technicians have no clue today how to make the system whole again—see, for example, the recently published minutes of the deliberations of the Federal Reserve’s board in 2008, or the desperate search of central bankers, mentioned above, for the right moment to end ‘quantitative easing’. This, however, is only the surface of the problem. Beneath it is the stark fact that capitalist progress has by now more or less destroyed any agency that could stabilize it by limiting it; the point being that the stability of capitalism as a socio-economic system depends on its Eigendynamik being contained by countervailing forces—by collective interests and institutions subjecting capital accumulation to social checks and balances. The implication is that capitalism may undermine itself by being too successful.

(Source: towerofsleep)

In the capitalist mode of production, the production of objects of social utility is wholly subordinate to the ‘production’ of surplus-value, that is to say, the production of capital on an extended scale, or what Marx calls ‘the valorization of value’. The capitalist mode of production does indeed produce goods of social utility (‘use-values’), but it does not produce them as objects of social utility for the seemingly primordial ‘purpose’ of satisfying social needs. It produces them as commodities that are produced through purchase of the commodity known as labour-power, and it does so for one purpose and one purpose alone: to ‘produce’ surplus-value, that is to say, to extort it from workers thanks to the unequal play between two values: the value of the surplus-product and the value of wages.

—Louis Althusser, ‘What Is a Mode of Production?’, On the Reproduction of Capitalism: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, Verso (2014)

(Source: marxist-gallifreyan)

mcnallyjackson:

Just arrived: the first English translation of Pasolini’s revolutionary screenplay for his unmade film about the life of St. Paul, from Verso. Pairs well with Piketty, Agamben, or that vintage Ocean Pacific swag you nabbed at Buffalo Exchange.Oh, and a nice piece in The New Statesmen about Paul’s place in Pasolini’s thought.

mcnallyjackson:

Just arrived: the first English translation of Pasolini’s revolutionary screenplay for his unmade film about the life of St. Paul, from Verso. Pairs well with Piketty, Agamben, or that vintage Ocean Pacific swag you nabbed at Buffalo Exchange.

Oh, and a nice piece in The New Statesmen about Paul’s place in Pasolini’s thought.

Why not difference? Difference is the “general law of the world” the ontological law of what exists…when difference becomes a problem, “it is the becoming problematic of difference which is the problem, not difference itself,” for “the racist recognizes difference more than anybody,” the ‘recognition’ of difference is not ‘ethical difference’ which finds that “beyond all difference exists equality” – “to recognize equality in front of the reality of difference.”

Alain BadiouOn Difference (via neonkhanate)

(Source: badiouonbadiou.wordpress.com, via neonkhanate)

From Hari Kunzru… 

From Hari Kunzru… 

kierkecaards:

: :”Whatcha got to read on this, Day Three?” :”Oh, this? You know. Some Marxist theory.” (at Rival Bros Coffee)

kierkecaards:

:
:”Whatcha got to read on this, Day Three?”
:”Oh, this? You know. Some Marxist theory.”
(at Rival Bros Coffee)

"To this day it remains unclear who had been paying for Mrs Thatcher’s £6 million home in Belgravia - although it appears not to have been her or her family" - a sneak peek from Inequality and the 1% by #DannyDorling - out in September  #inequality #Thatcher

"To this day it remains unclear who had been paying for Mrs Thatcher’s £6 million home in Belgravia - although it appears not to have been her or her family" - a sneak peek from Inequality and the 1% by #DannyDorling - out in September #inequality #Thatcher

Zizek, Laclau and Lefebvre, hanging out @serpentineuk bookshop #philosophy

Zizek, Laclau and Lefebvre, hanging out @serpentineuk bookshop #philosophy