24 February 2013

Market Socialism Continued

A few weeks ago I posted Seth Ackerman's article about market socialism. There were a few responses to Ackerman's article posted to the Jacobin blog, but none that I felt addressed the problems in his original proposal for a market socialism that retained the market as a way to correctly determine prices (particularly for capital) yet completely socialized profits. As my comrade Paul insightfully noted, Ackerman's proposal is grounded in the native tendency of the capitalist system toward "the decoupling of economic ownership and management."

But while Ackerman's market socialism may take its basic plausibility from the immanent contradictions of capitalist society, as Walker argued, the real grounds upon which the realization of this market socialism might be realized politically were never specified, leaving it as little more than an academic exercise. Perhaps more fundamentally, the question remains as to whether Ackerman's proposal earns the name of 'socialism' by fundamentally overturning the basic features of capitalism, or whether it perpetuates these features, the most important of which is wage labor. In other words, this potential form of market socialism envisions a way to reinvest society's surplus more equitably, but leaves intact the basic form of the production of that surplus.

16 February 2013

Facing the Killer: On Murderous, Suicidal Rampages in the U.S.

Sandy Hook. Columbine. Aurora. Tucson. Blacksburg. Fort Hood. The names of these places ring out in popular memory as the sites of seemingly random, heinous atrocities that seem to occur with increasing frequency these days. Gun-related violence and death is a hot-button issue at the moment, and for good reason, as the U.S. leads the advanced capitalist world in a trait that is singular in its stupidity: allowing “the market” to work its magic by disseminating, unchecked, huge numbers of guns to an extremely unequal, class-riven and deeply racist society that also worships violence, murder, and mayhem in its popular culture. In this context advocating gun control is the only sane thing to do. However, it would be a mistake to say that the U.S. just has a “gun problem,” because the U.S. has a murderous, rampaging killing-spree problem.

Let me be clear. Every day dozens of people are killed in this country, mostly minority youth and mostly in the poorest and most economically devastated neighborhoods of the major cities. This chronic social crisis only appears in the establishment press as statistics, or else as an ongoing, existential situation that can only be managed but not really addressed. Its root causes and conditions are clear and have been extensively documented. But this ongoing disaster is not the topic of this post, which is another horrendous phenomenon in which the U.S. also leads liberal societies: the individual, suicidal, heavily-armed murder frenzy that seems to be happening about once a month now, on average.

06 February 2013

The cosmopolitan imagination of neoliberalism

Regression to the nation form
Part 1 of 2
I’m glad that Paul raised the dangerous new nationalist energies starting to build in East Asia. Last year I started to lay out a historical account of the progressive potential that neoliberalism opened up to overcome the nation form, and the alarming threat to that potential posed by populist attacks on neoliberalism. I still need to come back to that general account; here I will begin to explore the growing tensions within countries that have produced the rise of nationalist politics.