A Brief History of Mass Theft

by Darren Allen

Our institutionalised brand of democracy goes by the name of capitalism. In such a system the word democracy, as Noam Chomsky points out actually means, run by the business classes. If it’s not run by business, it simply doesn’t count as democratic.
Capitalist democracy is one in which all capital is privately, albeit indirectly, owned by a tiny club of psychologically stunted monsters. It is a democracy that asks us to vote, every four or five years, for people who have almost zero influence over the totalitarian corporate structures that actually run the planet and in which we spend most of our actual lives; a democracy that can only survive by making its members as stupid, anxious, greedy and hateful as possible so that they continue to vote for the owners and managers who sit at the bottom of the democratic money-funnel with their golden buckets, laughing like this:

Iain Duncan Smith, a beautiful, beautiful man.

It’s worth asking, I think, how we could get to such a state.
Ask yourself this; what do these six things have in common?

  • Democracy.
  • A ‘Level Playing Field’.
  • Peace and Quiet.
  • The Rule of Law.
  • Free Markets.
  • Freedom of Opportunity.
  • Well, one answer is that we have all of them, more or less. As man-of-joy Rutgar Bregman points out, Western Europe is democratic, fair, peaceful and lawful. It’s just lovely.
    Another answer is that they are a cigarette paper meniscus stretched over seven hells of boredom, waste, inequality, insensitivity, meaningless, mediocrity and misery.
    And yet a third answer is that this clean, lawful Arcadia was created through a millennial process of theft, subjugation, deception on a unspeakable scale and mass-murder; infamies too extensive to catalogue and, for many, to even consider.
    Let’s take one example of millions, this guy:

    This is a picture of the 6th Duke of Sutherland, John Egerton and Mertoun House, where he lives. He’s dead now — can’t find a photograph of the 7th Duke, Francis Egerton, for some reason — but anyway the Sutherlands are worth £30 million and his assets include a billion pounds in fine art treasures. Where did they get their money? If you’re Scottish I probably don’t need to tell you who the first Duke of Sutherland was — it was this guy, pictured here with his wife:

    Note the look in their eyes — captured very well, I think.

    These two obtained their power by clearing vast areas of Scottish highland of their inhabitants. Here is Marx’s account of what happened:

    All their villages were destroyed and burnt, all their fields turned to pasturage. British soldiers enforced this mass of evictions, and came to blows with the inhabitants. One old woman was burnt to death in the flames of her hut she refused to leave. It was in this manner that this fine lady (Lady Sutherland) appropriated 794,000 acres of land which belonged to the clan since time immemorial… By 1825, the 15,000 Gaels had been replaced by 131,000 sheep.

    This was itself the culminating event of centuries of confiscation of land and forced evictions.
    Sutherland now finds itself a perfectly democratic county, in a perfectly peaceful, lawful land of freedom; one in which, it just so happens, all the land and resources are owned by a handful of people, such as Frankie Sutherland and the various billionaires and multinationals that his ancestors sold their land to.
    If you’re not familiar with classical economics and the ideas of Mr. K. Marx, the process by which communal land and resources are appropriated by private wealth (or capital), and people are robbed of their self-sufficiency and thereby forced into a position where they have to sell their labour in order to survive, is called Primitive Accumulation. Today we might call this Privatisation, or in plain-speaking, Mass-Theft.
    The classic, and in some senses original, case of mass-theft was enclosure, the lawful practice, which began in the fifteenth century, of amalgamating common land into a single property and handing it over to private interest. George Orwell summarises:

    Stop to consider how the so-called owners of the land got hold of it. They simply seized it by force, afterwards hiring lawyers to provide them with title-deeds. In the case of the enclosure of the common lands, which was going on from about 1600 to 1850, the land-grabbers did not even have the excuse of being foreign conquerors; they were quite frankly taking the heritage of their own countrymen, upon no sort of pretext except that they had the power to do so.

    Half of the land in Britain is currently owned by 36,000 people. One man, the Duke of Westminster, owns 133,000 acres (similar statistics — often much more severe — hold for most of the rest of the world) and most of these rights can be traced back to one form of enclosure or another.
    For the most part then primitive accumulation has been a straightforward case of Sutherland-style theft and concomitant murder; simply stealing or enclosing land and / or killing everyone on it — what we might call Direct Mass-Theft. The earliest ancestors of the noble families of Europe initially gained their power in this way, taking the land of their own country’s peoples, and then, during ‘the great work of subjugation and conquest,’ taking that of other peoples, a practice which continues today (in Brazil, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and elsewhere).
    Marx summarises:

    The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations, with the globe for a theatre. It begins with the revolt of the Netherlands from Spain, assumes giant dimensions in England’s Anti-Jacobin War, and is still going on in the opium wars against China, &c. The different moments of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and England.
    In England at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the state, the concentrated and organized force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power.

    Direct mass-theft is, however, wherever possible, avoided. It’s unpleasant work, exhausting and it’s just not good for business to have blood dripping from your hands. In the early days, at the dawn of capitalism, such crude tactics were necessary, as they still are in many parts of the world, in order to gain monopolistic control of the source of wealth; land. But mass-thieves have always understood that to gain the second vital component of their wealth, labour, it is vital, not to mention easier, to also use Indirect Mass-Theft; impoverishment (the stick) and addiction (the carrot).
    Techniques of pre-modern impoverishment included (and still include), usury, taxation, raising prices on food, capitalising on disasters and enacting laws that curtail self-sufficiency (that make it illegal for people to collect firewood, hunt (‘poach’), mill their own flower, etc), all of which combine to force people into a state of dependency on the owners of capital and the issuers of money. With no land or access to it, unable to buy the necessities of life, or make them, forced into debt and compelled to give away what little they do have, men and women become poor and hungry, the prerequisites for wage slavery and indentured servitude.
    The influential writer and political theorist of early capitalism, Arthur Young, explained;

    …everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.

    Another influential writer of the eighteenth century, Joseph Townsend, put it this way;

    [Direct] legal constraint [to labor]… is attended with too much trouble, violence, and noise… whereas hunger is not only a peaceable, silent, unremitted pressure, but as the most natural motive to industry, it calls forth the most powerful exertions.… Hunger will tame the fiercest animals, it will teach decency and civility, obedience and subjugation to the most brutish, the most obstinate, and the most perverse.

    Michael Perelmen, in The Invention of Capitalism (from which these two quotes are taken) points out that nearly all of the political theorists of the time, above all Adam Smith, were silent or circumspect about the need and the reality of primitive accumulation, although…

    …on reviewing the major figures in the pantheon of political economy, an unremitting hostility toward self-provisioning of all kinds emerges — at least insofar as it interferes with the recruitment of wage labor.


    …almost all representatives of early political economy agreed on the beneficial effects of high food prices in forcing wage labor to work harder (see Furniss 1965; Wermel 1939, 1–14, 17, 24). In this vein, Sir William Temple (1758, 30) suggested that the community would be well served if food were taxed when harvests were plentiful lest the working class sink into sloth and debauchery. David Hume (1752c, 344), for his part, asserted that such policies would even be in the interests of the poor: “‘Tis always observed, in years of scarcity, if it be not extreme, that the poor labour more, and really live better.”

    Impoverishment did not end with the pre-modern techniques of land-theft and economic deprivation. As capitalism got underway new methods of crippling people became available. Self-sufficiency and traditional networks of mutual aid could be hobbled or broken up by forcing people to be dependent on the technology, energy, transport-systems, bureaucratic credentials (aka qualifications), channels of information and ‘consumer goods’ of the market. While the impoverished pre-modern or third-world worker cannot grow food on his own land, raise his family in his own home or make his own clothes and furniture, the impoverished modern worker cannot use his feet to go where he needs to go — he needs a car — use his mouth to communicate with his fellows — he needs a phone — or use his own intelligence and experience to propagate knowledge — he needs the correct qualification (or ‘a proven track-record’ in communications). Now it is not just land that is owned by the wealthy, but every conceivable form of human capital.
    Every move we attempt to make outside the market forces us against the point of a spear which forces back into it.
    In addition to wholesale appropriation of the necessities of life, capital also developed sophisticated forms of propaganda and indoctrination which, through advertising, film, music, journalism and art, compelled people to put their faith in capitalism, to spurn ‘old-fashioned’ values, to ignore mass-theft and to embrace the work ethic. These had their roots in the earliest religion of Capitalism, Protestantism, but reached new heights of psychological potency with techniques of persuasion developed by the new profession of journalism, designed to manufacture consent, and the new science of psychology, designed to tap into our deepest desires.
    For we are not just compelled into the market by external pressures, but internal addictions. The stick of planned obsolescence (soap that wears out in three days, washing machines that break ten minutes after the warranty runs out, operating systems that must be updated every year) drives us from behind and the carrot of perceived obsolescence beckons us forward (the ‘need’ to have the latest version, the newest style). From the beads, buckets, calico prints, firearms and hooch sold to pre-conquest people to tempt them into producing for the market, to the smartphones, luxury cars, electric blankets and box-sets that compel modern people into a need to earn more; every step the market digs deeper into our addictive fears and desires; every conceivable weakness is exploited by capital, to draw us into the market. Whiskey-addicted speed-freak and closet psychopath? We’ve got just the thing, sir! Loquacious, luxury-addicted bimbo, who needs the constant validation of yearning stares from men? Step this way, madam!
    We are now well out of primitive accumulation and into the ‘silent hand’ (in Adam Smith’s rather creepy imagery) that forces or compels us to consume the products of the market and sell our labour power to it for the credits to do so. Perelman again:

    …wage labor appeared to be a voluntary affair. Once capital no longer had to rely as extensively on the initial extramarket compulsion to create wage labor… contrived measures to undermine the self-sufficient household were unnecessary. With the establishment of an epoch in which ‘‘the silent compulsion of economic relations’’ had become more effective (Marx 1977, 899), capital could pretend that workers were willing partners in a mutually rewarding transaction.

    There is no need for violence or compulsion by nobles. The impersonal market does it all automatically. There are no need for Orwellian techniques of control to keep us in place; the Huxleyan market forces us to keep ourselves in place. The explicit orders of the slave-owner have been replaced by the implicit compulsions of the contract ‘freely made’ between the worker and the employer. You are free to start your own company, grow your own food, walk to work, educate yourself, create free communities of mutual aid, work the land, do whatever you please. You’re free to do all these things! Go on — what’s stopping you?
    The entire process of mass-theft took centuries to carry out in Western Europe and is often difficult to grasp in its entirety. It is instructive to study it though, particularly in England, which, as Marx pointed out, served as something of a model for the rest of the world;

    England developed its strong industrial base precisely because it was so successful in carrying out the process of primitive accumulation. With so many people left dependent on the market for their basic needs, British industry had a far greater mass market at hand than any other country. This advantage was crucial for the success of the Industrial Revolution in England.

    Nowadays of course it all happens much more quickly and efficiently;

    1. Attack a resource-rich country with a level of violence they are unable to comprehend or repel. Decimate the community and establish through ‘foreign aid,’ a westernised elite sufficiently violent and power-hungry to crush resistance.
    2. Force states into massive debt (through warfare, taking advantage of catastrophe, etc.) which are paid to infrastructure-building, resource-depleting corporations and their local clients (dictators, generals, etc.) but paid by the state.
    3. Force states, in order to pay these debts, to privatise all resources and remove all laws that protect local labour, local capital and the local environment, or that tax corporate profit flood local markets with cheap, massively over-subsidised corporate goods, (ruining local producers) steal (i.e. buy up) local resources and local capital, employ locals at the lowest possible rates and turn the local environment into an uninhabitable wasteland.
    4. Finally, after the tax payers at home have helped create an ‘economic miracle,’ and the owners have become hugely rich, level the playing field, which is to say introduce ‘free-trade’ in which the pauper majority are unable to compete, and complain violently when they try to subsidise independent or locally run endeavours.
    5. All the time ensure, at home, that outrage at this approach is pacified. Use the media to avoid all critical issues, to structure those critical issues that do emerge within an acceptable framework, and, for the less educated, whip up a jingoistic sense of moral and racial superiority. As constant plunder results in an unnecessarily large quantity of products, the media must also be used to manufacture desire as well as consent.

    And there you have it, here we all are, living on the free, lawful, peaceful, quiet, level-playing field of global democracy; and who but a communist, or a terrorist, or an enemy of democracy, could possibly challenge this? Who but a madman even?
    For sure there’s always the threat that someone like Corbyn, Iglesias or Sanders make it on to the ballot paper, a prospect which make elites, and their professional lackeys, sick with fear; not just because they know that healthy proles and nationalised public services do not a soaring share-dividend make, but also because socialism gives off a whiff of the most intense source of dread that, as a class, they ever experience; fear of the mass.
    But the owners and managers of capital also know full well that, come what may, even a ‘crisis of democracy’ cannot meaningfully threaten the market system.
    Only nature can do that.

    Read more of Darren’s work at expressive egg


    A few sources:

  • The Invention of Capitalism: Michael Perelman
  • Captains of Consciousness: Stuart Ewen
  • The Racket: Matt Kennard
  • As I Please: George Orwell
  • Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism: David Harvey
  • Capital: Karl Marx
  • Year 501: Noam Chomsky
  • See also, for some examples of mass-theft abroad: Three Crimes of the British Empire. And for how the system works these days: The 5 System Filters. And for the wider context in which this little story is but a chapter: A Truish and Actual History of the World. Finally, a few notes on the inherently flawed system of Democracy.

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    Sep 23, 2017 7:21 PM

    Please proofread some of the figures – 30m of wealth and a billion of art ?

    Aug 27, 2017 2:32 PM

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    Jul 30, 2017 2:16 PM

    So much intellectual bullshit comment. Can’t we just sum it up as ‘the greatest confidence trick on the planet ever’.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 30, 2017 5:03 PM
    Reply to  eco-worrier

    I suppose that you can. The question then becomes whether your summing up is for yourself only or being put “out there” for someone other than yourself.
    To vaguely gesture at a “situation” and to declare it “the greatest confidence trick ever” doesn’t ensure that a nod of agreement from someone means that both you and that someone conceive of the “trick” in the same fashion. Apparent agreement is often only apparent.
    Or are the mechanics of the “trick” irrelevant? Is it really enough only to sense that something is wrong without being able to say in any great detail how it is wrong?

    Jul 17, 2017 11:48 AM

    As I see it, the UK economy consists of a vastly overinflated debt-filled bubble; with an over-taught microns thin skin displaying bullshit metrics – massaged and optimized to manage our expectations (by the likes of substitutions, hedonics, and weighting); floating on a cloud of consumer and ‘market’ confidence… Confidence is maintained by market expansion: which for us, means Imperial acquisition through warfare and terrorism. Or soft-power neo-colonialism. In other words, our chief export is human misery. Our chief import is other peoples wealth; acquired though actual or threatened violence. Our economy is built on the blood, sweat, and tears of multigenerational slavery, racism, and violent repression. The resources, goods, and services we trade in are soaked in human blood, and reek of burnt and rotting flesh. Our planet – already a toxic waste dump and a graveyard of species – is dying.
    Too brutal for most: but can anyone refute what I say? When we talk below of a tweak here, and a tweak there… We’re out of time… I say no; not one more day.

    Jul 17, 2017 3:25 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    Hi BigB.
    Actually I was referring to non socialist countries like the secular country of Iran, who on deposing the corrupt US installed Shah back in ’76? made the oil fields and gas reserves the property of the state and it’s people. Iran does not allow usurious banking and worked to eliminate their national debt to foreign countries. So did Putin and for a time so did Assad’s father and so did Sadam Hussein and Gadaffi. How interesting then, that all these countries are targeted by the US and it’s Imperialist poodles.
    Everything you said was true. Everyone with half a brain knows it to be true. No-one has all the answers. I used to follow Tax Research and be involved in economic debate with Richard Murphy. Although a Quaker, Murphy has socialist tendencies but is not and never will be a complete socialist. He does however, offer us examples of what might be done fiscally under the proper management and with an agreed heading toward an achievable goal. Sadly the incompetent Osborne and with the aid of Mark Carney, BoE and HMRC led us entirely in the wrong direction. It was with the advice of Murphy who with Stiglitz, Pettifor, Picketty et al, all contributed to Corbyn’s Economic and fiscal policy document. The following is an example of part of one of his daily blogs:
    “£117 billion needs to be better spent
    Posted: 11 Jan 2016 01:48 AM PST
    The FT carries a headline this morning that says:
    Rightly, the article says that calls for a review of the spends is overdue.
    I agree. It is one reason why I have proposed an Office for Tax Responsibility and a separate ministry responsible for taxation so that proper account can be created for such spends.
    But what bemuses me about the article is the fact that when Jeremy Corbyn called for such a review it was condemned. When anyone else does it is prudent thinking.
    What we actually need is a thorough review of such spending, the Treasury and how tax is managed and like it or not the only people saying they will address issues in that way right now are Labour. Others need to join in, rapidly, given the scale of the issue.”
    Then there is this priceless, but fundamental error made by Stiglitz, of all people.
    “Joseph Stiglitz needs to learn what banks do and don’t do
    Posted: 04 Jan 2016 11:16 PM PST
    Prof Steve Keen of Kingston University drew my attention to an article by Nobel Laureate Prof Jospeh Stiglitz in which he writes about the current malaise in the world economy.
    Much of what Stiglitz writes in that commentary is sound, appropriate and to be agreed with. Unfortunately, this but is staggeringly wrong:
    While our banks are back to a reasonable state of health, they have demonstrated that they are not fit to fulfill their purpose. They excel in exploitation and market manipulation; but they have failed in their essential function of intermediation. Between long-term savers (for example, sovereign wealth funds and those saving for retirement) and long-term investment in infrastructure stands our short-sighted and dysfunctional financial sector.
    Former US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke once said that the world is suffering from a “savings glut.” That might have been the case had the best use of the world’s savings been investing in shoddy homes in the Nevada desert. But in the real world, there is a shortage of funds; even projects with high social returns often can’t get financing.
    The only cure for the world’s malaise is an increase in aggregate demand. Far-reaching redistribution of income would help, as would deep reform of our financial system – not just to prevent it from imposing harm on the rest of us, but also to get banks and other financial institutions to do what they are supposed to do: match long-term savings to long-term investment needs.
    As the Bank of England conceded in April 2014, the idea that banks act as intermediaries between savers and investors is just wrong. The fact that economics textbooks and economists still say they do does not, they argue, make that true: it just means that the textbooks and economists in question are wrong, they say. Which makes it all the more surprising and even shocking that here is one of the world’s leading economists making what should now be seen as an elementary error.
    The reality is that banks technically do not need any deposits to make a loan: all money is created out of thin air through the process of money creation that occurs in the lending process. And money is cancelled by the repayment process. In that case banks do not allocate savers money to investment when they make loans: they create new money to provide to investors, and they have not been willing to do that.
    The relationship between deposits and investment is much more remote and complex in that case. Effectively deposit taking is a service utterly distinct from lending although historically undertaken by the same institutions. What the deposit taking does provide is capital to underpin risk at very low cost. That is because money deposited in banks ceases to be the property of the depositor: it becomes the property of the bank. What the depositor is left with is a loan to a bank that may, or may not be repaid (hence the bank deposit protection schemes that would not, otherwise, be needed). So the cash deposited then becomes the bank’s risk capital in the event that they make poor lending decisions (as was seen in the case of Northern Rock). But that capital is a buffer to the bank, and not a source of funds for lending.
    It is vital that these distinctions are understood now because if not serious policy errors and blame result, and we cannot afford to do that again.”
    If people cannot understand the fundamentals of what money really is and wealth creators are, then economic AND fiscal policy part company and we need a strong government that knows how to bring the two together. While consensus of opinion is never going to be easy, working toward it is a step in the right direction. You also said this ” When we talk below of a tweak here, and a tweak there… We’re out of time… I say no; not one more day.” Sadly it will take more than a day for the shift required to right the ills that plague the various economic models that dominate the world today. At best we choose a starting point all can live with and in graduation, introduce the thinking and the knowledge required to promote and evolve the changes required to turn things around. The revolution we need is a smashing of the global economic strategy that currently exists, which of course is just not possible.
    The US demanded that Iran compensate for the losses of those who had “acquired” the oil reserves, the Ayatollah told them to get stuffed because the reserves belonged to the people of Iran and had been “acquired” illegally under their imposed, corrupt, despot!
    Gotta give him his due, like him or hate him, he gave the US the right answer on behalf of the Iranian people.
    🙂 Susan

    Jul 17, 2017 7:42 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Hi Susan: Steve Keen and Michael Hudson are two of the economists I follow; precisely because of their willingness to validate the money creation process – that most economists are at pains to obfuscate. Keen poses the question: “Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis” as the title of his latest book. His answer is NO! 40% of our country is one month away from financial ruin: the so called ‘precariat’; or JAMS. More nefariously, we are one Sorosite minion’s or algobot’s ‘fat finger’ trade away from oblivion. We are all precariats now. One of Keens solutions is a debt jubilee; or as Hudson puts it in the Bubble and Beyond – “debts that can’t be paid, won’t be paid.” This is the sort of solution I would favour. Will Mark Carnage propose such? Never. Did any of the more radical solutions make the Labour Manifesto? Not that I know of. Do we have time for a privately financed 10 year plan? I don’t know… Will the Tories destroy the country before we even get a chance? Probably.
    A debt jubilee would only be a reset. Then we would need to decide if we want to start another cycle. My call for a more moral and incisive look at the pernicious and evil consequences of being part of the global monetary system would be a very minority view, I know. I’m a Luddite: fresh air, clean water, nutritious food, community support, love, a natural landscape… One shouldn’t need to pillage overseas for such things as can sustain perfect happiness.. Oh well…

    Jul 17, 2017 9:15 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    I’m with you on the points you mentioned. I don’t see any way we can reboot the system in the near future so I’m flailing around trying to find any piece of wreckage to hang on to while the country drowns in debt.
    If I were 20 years younger I would have cast off my mortgage and joined a commune, just to be out of what I considered to be a rat race. Now with my home paid for, I’ve grown accustomed to my security, however humble it is and would find it difficult to integrate into a small holding community. So all I can do is hope that a catalyst (but not catastrophe) presents itself as an opportunity for a new start. Must look up Keen and Hudson’s blog sites, found Murphy’s too depressing when he started supporting that right wing plank against Corbyn.
    Regards, Susan.

    Jul 18, 2017 10:28 AM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Read Keen’s book (ISBN: 9781509513734): it’s less than 150 pages. Central tenets: debt matters; mainstream economists ignore debt and so can’t accurately model or predict economics???; ergo, they can’t and won’t predict a crash. When I say about “tweaking”; our “Zombie economy” needs a fundamental reboot, that neo-classical economists can’t give. McDonnell knows this, but his draft proposals were neoliberalized at the committee stage. The Manifesto proposals are not nearly so effective, IMHO, given the perilousness of our situation. For instance, the housing market is stagnant as prices have already outstripped people’s ability to afford to pay (aside from foreign investment); people are already forced to pay for food, not goods (consumerism) on credit; 80% of the workforce are employed in the service sector – which is tertiary (ie not making anything) – so our wealth creation is coming from elsewhere (see above for the morality of that); we import the bulk of our fruit and veg (strawberries at Christmas?); it’s not just you and me that need to go native, it’s the whole damn country if we want any sort of equitable future!
    PS: a bit off topic, but I thought you might like to read this, re our recent discussion of Sy Hersh:

    Jul 18, 2017 12:09 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    Hi BigB.
    Thanks for the link, I get Global Research in my mail but might have missed this one, so will follow it for a read.
    Just written a comment in response to my mate Norman which will probably result in me getting a lot of down votes. It follows your thinking to some degree, but takes it to a whole new level. One which even you might think extreme. (does that make me an extremist?)

    Jul 18, 2017 3:27 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Hi Susan: I don’t think your comment is extremist at all: though it would be to a neoliberal! First, we would have to re-establish a real economy. Bastardized neoliberalized capitalism has done a historic write around of Marx. As Max (Keiser) and Stacey say “do we even exist at all?” The stock market doesn’t seem to respond to real world shocks (I’m not nearly as confident as Max that is immune!) The economy is cushioned (to a degree) by being far removed from manufacture and labour. That’s the thrust of my argument: we capitalize and re-capitalize and re-re-capitalize foreign materials and labour via the derivative market. The entire UK economy is essentially rentier. But you, I, and 59.9 million of the 60 million or so that live here aren’t in that exclusive club. We don’t count: as far as the meritocracy goes –
    the social climbing ladder was smashed centuries ago (a la Darren’s article) – the country has thus far been run for the few, not the many. As I said above, 80% of us are in the tertiary service sector. Even the construction industry relies on “external” wealth creation, as I know only too well from personal experience. Rent is a bigger sector than manufacturing. We are a long, long way from any sort of economy Marx are Engels would recognize: and thus a long, long way from Marxist solutions to the organization of labour. Essentially we are debt peons: in indentured servitude to “externally” created wealth (read: stolen); created by our participation in a globalized supranational genocidal and ecocidal monetary system. With few exceptions, we don’t make anything, we farm intensively and inhumanely, we don’t fish, we can’t generate our own power, we don’t own the land, the air is poisoned (40,000 a year die for want of clean air), the climate and biosphere are subservient to corporatist consumerist demands… As are we, the people. There is a lot to be undone to get to ethically fairtrade materials being given value by cooperatively owned labour and distributed to each “according to their needs”: in a classless, propertyless, transitional Socialist society! 🙂

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 19, 2017 12:12 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    “all money is created out of thin air through the process of money creation that occurs in the lending process. And money is cancelled by the repayment process.”
    “all money is created out of thin air through the process of money creation that occurs in the lending process. And money is cancelled by the repayment process.”
    Just one point of clarification (or merely to quibble): it is not true that money is cancelled by the repayment process. In fact, it can’t be. The reason is this: when a loan is issued, the contract is for the repayment of the principle plus interest. In order for that to happen, since the initial loan creates and injects only the principle amount of the money to be repaid into circulation and not the interest amount, another loan somewhere by some institution if not exactly the same bank, must of necessity be issued to create the amount that will cover the interest portion of the initial loan.
    Consequently, any loan that is ever paid back absolutely requires that the interest portion of the loan also has to be “printed and put into circulation,” and so it must go ad infinitum and exponentially.
    Eventually, of course, the infinite and exponential process crashes. Incomes do not grow as quickly as they would need to, to keep “the money creation” process going, and eventually the pool of credit worthy debtors simply dries up.
    Or am I missing something?
    (Just me thinking out loud.)

    Jul 19, 2017 1:40 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    Let’s look at a real case situation. A couple of years ago, I needed a new gas boiler for my house.
    I arranged a loan from my bank on-line for around £3,500.
    They set up a repayment schedule based on repaying the sum borrowed plus interest over a 3-year period.
    The £3,500 loan was credited to my current account, which I then paid over directly to the installer.
    Within 30 days, my current account was being monthly debited a cash sum to pay back the loan plus interest.
    As it happened, I paid off the loan in its entirety within 18 months, paying less overall interest.
    The original £3,500 loan was a paper transaction, which resulted in my current account being credited.
    No cash or money changed hands but I was able to make a payment to the installer of the full amount.
    This amount could be considered a cash transaction, as their account was credited and mine debited.
    The repayments were also cash payments, based on allocating part-pension payments to the loan account.
    When I paid off the loan early, I was given a discount on the interest charged.
    Overall, the bank credited me £3,500 which I paid to the installer and eventually repaid to the bank.
    All largely paper transactions. I received a benefit of a more efficient boiler system and lower energy costs.
    The installer received a £3,500 full payment, out of which they covered their system purchase costs, as well as wages paid to the human installer, with a certain amount of surplus cash or profit for the company on the deal.
    I used my near-cash payments from my state pension to pay back the principal borrowed and some interest.
    I say ‘near-cash’ because my current account had sufficient credit for me to withdraw real cash if I wanted to.
    The interest I paid was the surplus cash or profit for the bank who gave me the original loan
    It seems to me that this represents a mixture of credits, debits, cash and near-cash transactions.
    Presumably, under a centrally controlled economy, the state would determine when new gas boilers needed to be installed in homes and would issue tickets/dockets/whatever to installers to carry out the work.
    Presumably, there would be a requirement on householders like me to certify satisfactory installation.
    In return, the gas installer would also receive what ever s/he needed in their quality of life with no charge.
    Such a system would require an enormous amount of information on everyone being held on central systems.
    A sophisticated form of rationing resources would be required which treated everyone equally.
    It would be based overall on the maxim “From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs”.
    As well as rationing resources, the central system would have to allocate work and relevant labour for it.
    Where anything beyond needs comes into this is really the big question.
    Beyond needs lie wants and desires. Could a modern economy be based on these too?
    Or would beyond-needs items and resources simply not be provided by anyone to anyone?
    The only way to see if such a society will work is to do it in miniature and then scale up the operation.
    It has been tried in past – unsuccessfully – but we now have much more sophisticated technology on hand.
    Some group of individuals need to commit to living this different lifestyle. Any takers?

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 19, 2017 5:17 PM
    Reply to  John

    On the whole, I agree with what you write, John. My observation, however, I think, is the following about the existing process of “money creation:”
    a) at any point in time, only so much money is in circulation. Let its magnitude be ‘A;’
    b) ‘A’ was put into circulation on the condition that ‘A’ plus interest be repaid. Let the interest portion of that condition be ‘B;’
    c) if ‘A’ is to be repaid in full as part of a ‘loan agreement,’ ‘B’ has also to be ponied up;
    d) but since the principle portion of the loan repayment is extinguished as money in circulation, and the entire repayment will require a sum of ‘A’ + ‘B’, ‘B’ must come from somewhere, and it doesn’t come from ‘A.’ ‘B’ must come from additional funds put into circulation, and under the current system of debt-issued money, it can only come from additional loans;
    f) since ‘B’ in turn is put into circulation on the condition that ‘B’ plus interest be repaid, it is clear that the “money printing” that goes on under the rule of debt-issued money must be continuous and exponential, the debt in the system being permanent and compounding.
    g) clearly, the expansion of debt is unsustainable, and the system as a whole eventually must crash between one reset and another, bringing down with it the “production and distribution” side of the economy as it bankrupts people and businesses en masse.
    Of course, this state of affairs suits the ruling class just fine as it remains solvent in the midst of the crisis and actually finds itself before opportunities to further enrich itself as it picks up real property for pennies on the dollar.
    As much as for-profit production itself, entirely apart from the money printing issue, makes for an inherently unstable system of production and distribution, debt finance as the mechanism for money printing only aggravates that instability. The rich could not ask for better.

    Jul 19, 2017 6:50 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    @Norm: you pretty much nailed it, except you are only looking at one side of the balance sheet. When a bank loans money, it is not only a liability, but an asset too (via the magic of double-entry book keeping.) As assets must equal liabilities: as the money is repaid, the banks assets decrease (offset against interest): and the financialised economy contracts.
    The UK Tories are obsessed with “balancing the books”; but austerity doesn’t work. All those cuts depress the economy; as they try to “pay off the deficit” (balance expenditure against tax revenue) the tax revenue decreases and the gap is maintained. More austerity equals depression and debt deflation leading to default. Which is their plan.
    The only way to go in a debt driven fiat economy is up. Expand the economy year on year by at least the rate of interest-inflation. Except you can’t; without reaching a debt ceiling. Like 2007/8.
    The problem we have now in the UK, is that we never got rid of those levels of debt. All £435bn of QE did was re-inflate the asset bubble. Now we are flatlining: a ‘Zombie’ economy. We can’t really go up, beyond (unsustainable) pre-crash levels of debt: though we certainly could come down. Especially if someone tied us to an economically illiterate policy of “paying down the debt”.
    FWIW, that is why I advocated Steve Keen’s ‘Debt Jubilee’ as an economic reset. Then McDonnell’s fiscal stimulus package could have room to work. More so if it were funded by debt and interest free Treasury money. In the meantime, the economy has nowhere to go. Unless by Imperial market expansion or war. The rich – to whom the interest and asset wealth accrues – get richer. The poor get Grenfell tower.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 19, 2017 7:19 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    Agree: in an economy where money is debt, paying down or paying off debt takes money out of circulation and thereby must contract the economy as the wherewithal for all transactions shrinks or dries up. And so you are correct about the wrongheadedness, under the circumstances, of “wanting to balance the books,” whether private or public.
    We aren’t really saying anything different. When a debt has been paid off, the initial principle amount that the debt injected as money into circulation is taken out of circulation. But in order for that debt to have been retired “with interest,” the interest amount also had at some point to have been introduced as “money put into circulation,” and that amount, too, was “principle plus interest” to be returned to a loan issuing institution.
    In order that the game continue, debt in the system must necessarily grow exponentially, which but for a limited supply of creditworthy debtors, it actually cannot.
    Consequently, with or without the obsession with “balanced books,” financial crashes are inevitable, that is to say, built into the system, that is to say, the system being one wherein debt is the means by which money is issued.

    Jul 20, 2017 1:40 AM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    While what you say about paying down debt during austerity seems logical, I am not sure that explains it.
    My belief is that the Tories are deliberately driving the economy down so they can create a cheap labour UK.
    By slashing welfare benefits and cutting public services at an unprecedented level, they are privatising the UK.
    By eliminating large amounts of effective demand within the economy, they ensure the economy goes down.
    All this is designed to ensure the UK is ready for Brexit – a cheap workshop/workforce off of Europe.
    Their STP policy – “Slash, Trash & Privatise” – is being applied to the whole of the public sector, not only the NHS.
    The reason they are doing this is so they can let their wealthy pals and business groups off of paying fair taxes.
    The pitiful amounts recovered from outfits like Amazon, Starbucks, et. al. is clear evidence of this.
    Their solution? To reduce the numbers of HMRC officers employed! You can’t make it up!
    Our prisons and offender management (formerly probation) services are all being steadily privatised.
    Everywhere you look, everything is being privatised. Everything public must go – say the Tories !!!!
    This current UK government is – without doubt – the most extreme right wing UK government in over 100 years.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 20, 2017 4:23 AM
    Reply to  John

    Most certainly, the effects or consequences are as you describe them, John. Given that the rich benefit at every turn, if the resulting austerity is motivated by simple ignorance of the relation between ‘money’ and ‘debt,’ then it’s all a happy, most highly improbable coincidence.
    To quote Ian Fleming: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.”
    I think that the post war economic miracle of Japan and subsequent restructuring under American diktat into a state of permanent stagflation proves intent (pace Richard Werner).
    In some respects the system does breed ideological blindness and intent is moot; but when policies, however arrived at or stumbled into, prove beneficial to the powerful, they tend to be quickly and pragmatically embraced as lessons learned and then subsequently promoted and enacted again and again.
    Poverty breeds wealth while austerity works to supplement property.

    Jul 20, 2017 12:43 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    I would go one step further:
    “Poverty breeds wealth while austerity works to supplement property.”
    Poverty ensures the conditions by which wealth can be accrued exponentially via exploitation while austerity works to secure the means by which wealth can attract further wealth at the expense of all protections against limiting the procurement of that wealth. The more poverty we have, the greater power we give to those with wealth to subjugate us beyond our means to defend ourselves from their onslaught. Under austerity we have seen all hurdles to enslavement removed laying the groundwork for complete breaking of the social links that gave us unity and making the oppressors unassailable.
    The one thing those in poverty have in common is our numbers, creating an ever widening chasm between those who have and those who have not. Austerity is an extension of the drive to alienate us from any meaningful social connect and it works very well – for those driving it. No way in hell are the right wing elites (Conservative, Labour or LibDem) ever going to invest in people – that would empower them and that is not the desired outcome for the likes of the Bullington Boys Club or Blairites.
    While the peons argue among themselves as to what an economic and fiscal ideal should be, the capitalist pimps sit back and chuckle at our inability to unite behind a common theme.
    Honestly – we’re fucked.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 20, 2017 3:36 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    “Honestly – we’re fucked.”
    Yes. For people alive today and in this historical epoch, it’s already a foregone conclusion. But when in the midst of a catastrophe, it is already too late to panic, and so why panic?
    The catastrophe unfolds for us and in a sense has already happened. Yet we remain alive and able and can still strive to emerge as future generations out of the wreckage of our immediate disaster. What is needed is a cool headed appraisal of what has already happened in terms of what has already crystallized into our epoch so as to try to get our bearings to move forward out of this disaster.
    The situation can be un-fucked. That’s a possibility. It’s not going to happen overnight or perhaps even in the next one or two generations. One thing is certain, however: if we don’t exert ourselves to try to calmly and intelligently dispel the fogs of our confusions about the situation in which we find ourselves and to explain what we think we understand about it to one another and to try to establish networks of interaction and communication, to build up communities of solidarity that might in time translate into or incite coordinated efforts to consciously put an end to the current insanity, nothing will change, not likely for the better, of if for the better, then by the sheer dumb luck of accident.
    More than ever, we understand how to translate human collective intention in shaping our lives and our very selves. The more we understand about ourselves as socially conditioned beings, the more self-possessed as both individuals and communities we become. But understanding requires effort. There are no guarantees that it can be attained. But struggle helps to put the odds a bit more in our favor.
    Forget the present: it cannot be redeemed except for what it may teach us in terms of the worst to be avoided. The future is where we want to go and, at any rate, the only place left for us to go and where, at any rate and willy-nilly, we are going . . . Never give up.

    Jul 20, 2017 5:35 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    Hi Norman.
    I take it you rumbled the fact that I was plunging into a dark depression. I was reading and following links and returning to the conversation and wanted to scream at every one “stop arguing about what won’t work, when we haven’t even got a centrist, let a lone a socialist into power, agree on a basic strategy that will set us on a path to where we want to go!”
    There are so many positive things we can do, like adopting a stop gap policy that will get people into work, build houses to home the thousands that are either homeless or flop sharing or still having to live at home, get youngsters into employment, further education or jobs training, attack the tax evaders and legislate to curb their gross theft from the exchequer, limit the outrageous salary and bonus entitlements, develop a public owned bank answerable to a peoples audit, move away from Londoncentric policy and toward the northern powerhouse intent, etc, etc.
    We can do much that will help mitigate the damage the Tories have done to our economy and our fiscal viability but only if we unite on the basic tenets of an all peoples inclusive agenda. So far there isn’t much evidence to suggest that we can unite in supporting an alternative strategy as proposed by Corbyn and McDonnell – it may not be perfect but it is as close as we can get to a working programme in the times we live. As Richard Murphy said when I challenged him on one of his posits “at least it’s a plan”.
    A lot of people do not want change, they want to hang on to what they have and sod those they leave behind in misery and hopelessness, if those of us willing to swim against the tide of this me culture, want change, we really do need to align ourselves with the best acceptable option available. We can sort out our differences when we are at least going in the same direction.
    There are very basic changes that need to be made – in terms of political doctrines, it’s not earth shattering or even revolutionary, it’s just leading the attitudes to a more humane way of thinking. We cannot afford to alienate the petite bourgeoise because it is they who are still voting Tory. They may not be desirable allies but are not our worst enemy either, whilst they still have their modicum of wealth we buy ourselves time to educate about the real theft that is occurring and the who, the how and the why will be openly exposed, till even they (the pet.bourge) have grasped that we are all the victims of the 10% and thoroughly evil 1%.
    We can’t have the T&GWU, NUT, Unite unions all striking, not yet, half the country’s voters would turn against us. We can’t have demonstrators clashing with police, making enemies where we don’t need them, not yet. We can’t have agitators demanding taking the law into our own hands like Scargill, not ever, so we effect change incrementally, imperceptibly, until we are in a position to declare our hand.
    That’s all I am trying to get across to people who want change, it’s a transitional thing in the 21st Century, not a doomed revolution like several that have failed in previous centuries. We have to build a movement that can withstand the ensuing assault and for that we need numbers.
    Everyone knows the system is corrupt, that much we can all agree on, but could we please just have a strategy that we can all adopt in taking us forward, at a pace that can be met, in order to reverse the insidious monster that has steered us for the last forty years in the form of the Thatchers and Blairs of this world?
    Pipe dreams, rainbows that leapfrog over Elysium to land in Trump’s swamp – beam me up Scotty.

    Jul 20, 2017 12:56 PM
    Reply to  John

    @John: sure, that is part of it – you are right about the policy; except that the EU and world market already has enough cheap labour and manufacturing capacity in China and Asia Pacific. Skilled manufacture is limited and competitive. Take the Ukraine as an example: the IMF sponsored oligarchs deliberately destroyed a highly skilled manufacturing sector in aerospace; aluminium smelting; the Antonov plant; etc. – not only to deprive Russia, but to prevent competition with Germany. And there’s a limit to how many Uber drivers , baristas, and cleaners a service economy can sustain.
    We don’t have a real economy at all: we have a ‘Zombie’ virtual economy that has stagnated due to debt. The latest bubble is tech: the digital economy. Are we all going to have web based virtual businesses? Selling what to whom? Or will a select few have their asset price inflated to create DotCom 2.0???
    From a Socialist point of view: we need a real and incisive debate on, not only our future work security; health security; old age security (pensions and welfare state); public services; etc – but also our independent energy strategy and security; food security; etc… If we have an manufacturing renaissance: what are we going to make, and for whom – ethically and equitably – in a world system dominated by exploitation and war?
    We don’t have an independent vision or strategy… It is all dependent on the iniquities and vagaries of the international ‘free market’ economy. All the time China can expand at 6.9% a quarter, 8% nominal pa – fine. You’ll have to read Steve Keen’s book to see why that may not go on forever. Or possibly, even much longer. Then where are we?
    The pre-requisite for that is an honest appraisal of the failings of globalized debt based fiat currencies and the international ‘free’ market economy: exploiting and extracting wealth from the planet and the many: for the few. The honest question is: who would be willing to unilaterally withdraw from the dominant world system on moral grounds? Because there is simply too much vested interest to change the system from within. Besides which, the true unexploitative Fair Trade commodity cost of goods and resources would soon be exposed as prohibitive.
    In the meantime, the logical endgame of Tory policy is that we become neo-feudal serfs of the banks. We will not own anything and be completely reliant on the State. If we take to the streets in protest? Overnight, Capitalism becomes Fascism – thanks to a series of laws laid down by Tony Blair.
    Well, I’m either prescient or pessimistic? Let’s just hope I’m having a bad day!

    Jul 20, 2017 3:23 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    Holy Moley! I just read this: the end of cheap credit. This is the BIS – the central banks central bank – admitting what we are saying… We’ve hit a debt ceiling… Their solution: a ten year cycle of austerity and the return to “normalcy” of banking (increased interest rates to encourage saving.)
    Reading the subtext: cushion the banks from the failure of 40 years of degenerate and obscene policy failure: prepare for the ‘bail-in.’ Don’t get me wrong, the people are not wholly innocent. Ordinary folk and the ‘me’ generation wannabe social climbers were not forced into extending lines of credit: but cui bono?
    As economies contract or remain stagnant; the elites get to blame the “sky high level of household indebtedness.” They will say, “you only have yourselves to blame”; not that the system was rigged or the dice loaded from the start. Also, this strategy favours the Wall St-City of London-BIS crime nexus. We won’t be able to afford all those Chinese goods brought in via OBOR: we’ll make our own (it appears we will have a market in product replacement after all???)
    That’s how I read it anyway: a criminal fraternity protecting its own; preparing its own socialised safety net (the bail-in) to avoid a “taper tantrum”!!!; whilst undermining a potential rival. If Chinese growth slows, and Steve Keen is right, that toxic Chinese debt bubble could produce a weeping sore?
    The socialist question is: instead of the banks – who is going to bale the people out? Not in???

    Jul 20, 2017 1:26 AM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    ‘B’ comes from my income, which can either be received by me for my immediate labour in the very short-term in the form of wages or paid to me long-term for much earlier labour and work, i.e. in the form of pension pay.
    Don’t forget that profit in a capitalist society is the reward for taking risk and this element is also factored into calculations of interest rate levels.
    Not all loans get repaid so there is a need for an element of risk to be included in interest rate calculations.
    In my case, my bank charged me a very modest rate of interest as they knew I was 99.9% good for the loan.
    Poor people – on the other hand – can end up paying usurious rates of interest on any loans they take out.
    They are also much more likely to default on their loans than people like me.
    You keep harping on about the imminent collapse of the financial/monetary system.
    It hasn’t happened yet and I doubt it ever will.
    Gordon Brown et. al. were able to save the system from collapse in 2008 following the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage derivatives market. If the system did not collapse totally then, why should it now?
    It is pointless living in hope or expectation that the capitalist system will “inevitably” collapse.
    In life, very little is inevitable except that it will eventually end for individuals.
    What people like us need to do is devise simple strategies to exist and thrive without capitalism.
    I have now reached the age where it is highly unlikely I will ever need to buy new clothing or footwear.
    I drive a small 2002 car on occasions and use my free bus pass and senior rail card to travel.
    I rarely watch commercial television so I do not see their advertisements.
    I only buy a local newspaper once a week and usually barely glance at the advertisements in the paper.
    What ever the capitalist ad agencies try to do, they largely cannot reach me or influence my consumption.
    We need to get the word out to younger people to stop squandering their wealth on things they do not need.
    In the USA, some of the major banks are reporting diminished profits.
    This may well be because people there have stopped incurring unnecessary debt.
    People on low incomes need to start to re-learn the practice of saving up for things they need or want.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 20, 2017 4:27 AM
    Reply to  John

    “‘B’ comes from my income . . .”
    And the money that pays income comes from where if money is debt?

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 20, 2017 4:50 AM
    Reply to  John

    “You keep harping on about the imminent collapse of the financial/monetary system.”
    No. I don’t keep harping about the imminent collapse of that system. I keep harping about the misery it constantly produces and the “fact” that whether deliberately managed to be that way or not, it is structurally prone to instability and recurrent crises.
    As for how long the system will persist, that depends almost exclusively on how long the oligarchies can maintain their influence over the apparatuses of state coercion. That could be for a long, long time yet . . .

    Jul 31, 2017 11:20 AM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Despite being demonized by US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran is creating an image of stability, dignity and sense. The USA of course, will now attempt to wreck this progress, undo Obama’s achievements. Trump’s whole motivation seems based on dislike of his predecessor. Netanyahu will be pleased.

    Jul 16, 2017 4:15 PM

    Reblogged this on Worldtruth.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 16, 2017 3:53 PM

    Reblogged this on Taking Sides.

    Jul 15, 2017 1:49 AM

    In response to a number of responses made to me, I would simply say that if we want to see the system being used to the benefit of the many and not just the few, we need to get substantial investment being made.
    Right now, interest rates are at an historic low. I constructed a spreadsheet to calculate the average Bank of England bank rate over a time series of 307 years, which yielded an average bank rate of around 5.25%.
    Right now, the bank rate is just 0.25%. If ever there is a time to borrow cheaply, it is right now.
    If Labour gains power within the next couple of years, they should borrow to the hilt at low interest rates.
    The money raised should then be invested in new technology, infrastructure and social housing.
    All this will create many new well-paid jobs, thus restoring the balance of power from capital to labour.
    The money raised should also be used to bankroll window guidance or ‘suasion, as Japan and China have done.
    This would involve national and regional banks providing credit to businesses, ideally working mainly in the export markets and import substitution markets – to improve the balance of payments and generate wealth and income (individual and governmental) with which to pay down high levels of personal and institutional debt.
    After this has been achieved is the time when a new system could then be envisaged and implemented.

    Jul 16, 2017 2:18 PM
    Reply to  John

    @John: Valid points were raised below that you haven’t engaged with, in order to come back with the same points. Labour hasn’t said it will borrow directly from the BoE: it will use “private capital finance”. It is they that will benefit from the 0.25% rate. Until the policy is fleshed out, it reads as an PPP or PFI deal: whereby private consortia or private equity funds and owns the infrastructure: and the cost to the public will be considerably higher than 0.25%pa. In other words, a rehash of a previous failed policy.
    The jobs and fiscal stimulus will not be immediate. The debt incurred will. In the unlikely event this Parliament runs till 2022 – we are looking at a prospective 2030 economic upturn – by the time the Labour policies have time to mature and return on investment. The crucial question is: will we have an economy worth saving by then???
    The private banking cartel’s principal concern and returns are dictated by their shareholders: not the public. Can you please post a link to the stated Labour Policy of Window Guidance? Or are you just ‘Jawbonin”? 🙂
    Invest you say, fine: but direct investment and ‘suasion are not, as far as I know, Party Policy. Party Policy – the diktat of the neo-liberal National Policy Forum – places private capitalist rentiers in charge. Is that even Socialism? Not in my book.
    It’s a form of Welfare Capitalism that leaves intact ALL the tools of our oppression: unearned rentier income; interest; taxation; usury; derivative ‘gambling’ and financialisation; debt deflation – aka. the criminal theft and defrauding of the People – to be perpetrated until circa 2030. In case you hadn’t noticed, John, we won’t have any wealth left by then. That is the design – are you sure you want to support your own bankruptcy???

    Jul 16, 2017 3:22 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    In it, John McDonnell states – inter alia – ‘A Labour government will give local government £1.5 billion of extra funding for next year (2018/19) and initiate a review into reforming council tax and business rates and consider new options, such as a land value tax, to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term.’
    A £250 billion fund for investment in infrastructure – transport, energy systems, communications – scientific research, and housing fit for the 21st century. Our country and its people have been held back by a lack of investment in the backbone of a modern economy – the infrastructure of transport, communications, and energy systems. Under a Conservative Chancellor, government investment has fallen by £10 billion. Private investment is falling. Those at the top are choosing not to invest in the potential of our people. Labour will make different choices.
    We will take advantage of near-record low interest rates to create a National Transformation Fund that will invest £250 billion over ten years in upgrading our economy.
    We will ensure that the huge potential of every part of our country is met. Using this fund, Labour will build new high-speed railways, extending HS2 into Scotland.
    We will build a Crossrail for the North, tying together our great northern cities. We will build a new Brighton Mainline for the south-east. And we will deliver rail electrification and expansion across the whole country, including Wales and the south-west. We will transform our energy systems, investing in new, state-of-the-art low carbon gas and renewable electricity production.
    We will deliver universal superfast broadband availability by 2022. And we will build on Britain’s immense scientific heritage, delivering the research funding needed to create an economy fit for the 21st century.’
    There may be some degree of private sector finance involved but it will complementary to public finance.
    The public investment is designed to encourage private sector investment in private industry.
    As yet, Labour is not talking about window guidance or ‘suasion.
    It is up to people like us to draw it to the attention of Labour Party policy forums.
    Once they realise the transformative power it offers – and has offered to Japan and China – they should take it up.
    Labour did not gain majority power in the June 2017 general election so we will have to continue working on viable alternatives to replace the Tories failed economic/austerity strategies.
    The longer it takes to get rid of the Tories, the harder it will be to restore the UK economy.
    Still, we have to be optimistic. If we hadn’t been in 1945, we would today have no NHS or welfare state.
    Our communal aspirations cannot be held back by naysayers and whinging whiners.
    We have a future to build – let’s get on with it!

    Jul 16, 2017 7:53 PM
    Reply to  John

    Yes John, I have. The same wording was included in the leaked Draft Manifesto: as was this passage –

    “Labour will establish a National Investment Bank financed with an injection of initial public capital which will be leveraged using additional private sector finance…”

    However, by the finalized Manifesto, this proposal had been neoliberalized to “we will establish a National Investment Bank that will bring in private capital finance to deliver £250 billion of lending power.” See the difference?
    I labour to make this point because “people” – neither from the CLP; or PLP; not even Corbyn or McDonnell – make policy. The NPF does – to be finalised by the shadow cabinet and the NEC. Sorry John, that’s the way it is. The Blairite neoliberals control the Party mechanism: not even 800,000 grassroots Momentum members can change that. The country is being duped into thinking there is a groundswell of support for Corbyn: but the party is in Red Tory hands. 🙁

    Jul 16, 2017 4:34 PM
    Reply to  John

    The more we borrow and place in a NIB, the more we can invest in PQE. Osborne printed billions as QE and squandered it on paying off his mistakes and lack of investment. Shovel ready projects would see employment rise and small businesses able to employ and hopefully, with incentives, take youngsters(currently the hardest hit) out of unemployment and into apprenticeships and vocational study. The NIB could fund housing and infrastructure projects etc. the resultant growth would see the Treasury in a position of greater buoyancy. Don’t want to turn this into a discussion on the merits of Corbyn’s Economic Policy as originally articulated by Richard Murphy(Tax Research) so will leave it there.

    Jul 14, 2017 2:52 PM

    Informative article. Indeed the British system is most callous, it’s people have always been considered chattel. Most of us are measured by what can be stolen from us. Their system isn’t worth saving.

    Jul 13, 2017 12:35 PM

    Thanks Darren, good article,
    History proves that only when Soviet Union was a functional state, then labour’s welfare in the west was improving. Once the threat was removed, the welfare is being rolled back….

    Jul 13, 2017 7:27 AM

    Reblogged this on leruscino.

    Jul 13, 2017 2:31 AM

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Grosvenor,_7th_Duke_of_Westminster.
    Inherited billions – and still under 30 years of age.
    I am sure he worked real hard for every penny!

    Jul 13, 2017 8:32 AM
    Reply to  John

    And he paid a pittance in inheritance tax as well, thanks to ‘creative accounting’, the other brothers in arms of lawyers in protecting such riches.

    Jul 13, 2017 12:22 AM

    “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”
    ― Karl Marx, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach.
    The same could be said of this article.
    Like Marx, Darren Allen offers us only analysis of the current system but no viable alternative.
    Like Marx, Darren Allen is unable to offer any strategy for creating and achieving a better world.
    Why waste time on description when realistic prescription is so vitally needed?

    Jul 13, 2017 2:12 AM
    Reply to  John

    I think this is a great article and not a waste of time at all, although, as you say, strategies to deal with it are needed. Knowledge is power – it’s just that most of us don’t have the knowledge in the first place. We’re kept too busy chasing our tails to figure out what’s really going on. I’ve been living frugally on my savings for the last five months, with plenty of time to figure out what’s really going on (although, of course, I still only know a minute amount – but enough) and I’m so reluctant to get back into “the system”.
    From the horse’s mouth: Ronald Bernard is a Dutch former high-finance operative who exposes how the powerful elite rob us blind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C-KHt9vi5k
    And this 3.5 hour film, JFK to 9/11 Everything is a Rich Man’s Trick, by Francis Richard Conolly, is a must-see.

    Jul 13, 2017 2:27 AM
    Reply to  flaxgirl

    Yet again, all that is on offer here is description and not prescription.
    Most of us already know how the hegemonic system works.
    The point is to change it – not just talk about it.
    Who is working on how to change it all?
    No one – as far as I can ascertain.

    Jul 13, 2017 3:04 AM
    Reply to  John

    I’m afraid most of us do not know, especially not in a visceral sense, and, unfortunately, many of us seem to not want to know even when the evidence is planted right in front of us. Some of us resist seeming like mugs – I don’t have a problem with it myself.

    Jul 16, 2017 5:43 PM
    Reply to  flaxgirl

    A very good observation regarding the way so many “opt out” of discussion. Through discussion(and I don’t mind asking others for their thoughts)we learn, if we simply condemn without offering up our own thoughts we are consigning any and all change to a quiet death. Good on yer lass.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 13, 2017 3:37 AM
    Reply to  John

    First, John, “capital” and the process that gave birth to it and that continues to perpetuate it needed to be “theorized.” That is to say, if you don’t understand what needs changing and why, then you are not likely to have any great success changing it, are you? That was Marx’s and Engels’ contribution, that part of the exercise in changing the world where “we” struggle to arrive at an understanding and formulation of “what” needs to be changed and “why.”
    But Marx and Engels died before they could address in detail the question of “how” to proceed to change the system as well as “how” it could be and should be re-arranged. That they were mortal men is not exactly their fault and therefore cannot really be held against them as a reason to dismiss their efforts. The “how” part of their unfinished business is for those of us who have come after them to complete, and already there is a mountain of work that has been done to that end. It’s all in the form of scholarship, however, which means that if “we” are to make use of it, we have to spend some time acquainting ourselves with it.
    That involves reading stuff like — curiously enough — what Darren has just cobbled together for us. And Darren also left for us a short list of references to investigate if we dare. He might also have added to that list a link to this online trove of Marxist theory and history: <a href=”https://www.marxists.org/>Marxists Internet Archive.
    You should have a look. And once you do have a look and begin to deepen your grasp on what our society and culture are about in some of their essential aspects, that is to say, once you begin to really “get” what the racket of capitalism is, why don’t you and some of your friends try to put your heads together to figure out a way forward? Why does it have to be somebody else to have to do all the heavy lifting for you, John?
    If the point is to change the world, you, being every bit as much a part of that world as anyone else, might and can and should play a part in changing it.
    So rather than be so offhandedly dismissive of the theoreticians without whom no one can come to an understanding of anything at all, why not study them; consider what you think they got right and still applies to our current situation; and then try to build on their efforts, either by engaging in some theorizing of your own, or trying out possible actions based upon your understanding of what you will have made into your very own Marxist inheritance in terms of that cultural tradition’s as yet very real relevance to our common capitalist reality?

    Jul 13, 2017 11:08 AM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    The eventual point we all have to realise is that action is needed.
    That means engaging in political activity.
    That is why I re-joined the democratic socialist Labour Party.
    We should all be working to achieve a Corbyn-led Labour Government in the UK.
    I am not advocating a cult of the personality.
    However, if we are to achieve meaningful change of any kind peaceably, political activity is needed.
    Of course, the neo-liberals within Labour will resist us but we just have to gain the ascendancy.
    Particularly in terms of gaining the ideological high ground in terms of political thinking.
    Historically, that mean embracing the Educate, Agitate and Organise dicta of the Fabians.
    Today, they are as much part of the neo-liberal elite as any in the ranks of the Tory Party.
    Again, the point is to change that in every way we can.
    That means joining in political activity and theorising to achieve a democratic socialist future.
    We should also embrace the Personal is Political dicta of the 1970s.
    That means all of us living our lives in as independent a manner as we can.
    I do not buy the so-called main stream newspapers.
    Why should I – or anyone else – support the means of our own oppression?
    I also do not get caught up in mindless consumption either.
    I simply buy what I need and much less of what I desire these days.
    I also try to avoid multi-national concerns as much as possible.
    Supporting local enterprises is so much better for all concerned.
    We should be urging others to do the same whenever we can.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 13, 2017 2:59 PM
    Reply to  John


    Jul 13, 2017 4:31 PM
    Reply to  John

    @John: I laud your personal philosophy and actions. However, self-multiplying private money streams are the lifeblood of the very criminal system we want to change. From the Manifesto: “we will establish a National Investment Bank that will bring in private capital finance to deliver £250 billion of lending power”??? Toxic and criminal derivatives and financialisation are gambling with our wealth and inheritance. We have a weak ‘ring-fence’ at the moment: will Labour bring these life-destructive activities to a halt with a ‘firm’ ring-fence??? Progressive Taxation: where does the money come from? Debt and usury??? PFI contracts will remain in place for theIr full term? 2% GDP to fund the war criminal and Imperial activities of NATO???
    Labour offers a marginally progressive amelioration of a broken, dysfunctional, and fundamentally evil system. We need a new system: one that affirms life. All the time money is being created as debt plus interest: the real wealth of the people is being extracted for the few. All the time money is being created as debt plus interest: people suffer and die – by systemic design. All the time we fund Imperialism: we’ll have perpetual war. We need to think beyond the current systemic constraints. Dream big, John.

    Jul 14, 2017 3:22 AM
    Reply to  BigB

    When you refer to a marginally progressive amelioration of a broken, dysfunctional, and fundamentally evil system, you are absolutely right.
    This current system took 40 years to achieve on a steadily rightward ratcheted basis from 1979 onwards.
    You cannot simply reverse all of that overnight.
    We have to oversee a change of regime of power – and maintain it under a system of 5-yearly re-elections.
    The best we can currently hope for is a form of social democratic gradualism which the people will accept.
    Over time, we can change the hegemonic consensus such that higher levels of investment become acceptable.
    I don’t know the exact detail of Labour’s national and regional investment strategy.
    What I do know is that countries like Germany have much higher levels of public investment than the UK.
    Without investment, the UK economy will continue declining and decent well-paid jobs will continue to disappear.
    To re-quote an old saying, “There Is No Alternative” to increased public investment if we are to create a society which is more self-confident and which then will have the means to pay down public debt.
    Personally, I would advocate much more centralised control of the economy, using similar strategies that helped to re-build Japan and Germany after WW2, as well as boost China’s economy in recent years.
    That strategy is known as window guidance or ‘suasion.
    However, we have first to win power and turf the Tories out of office.
    Only after that can we start to reverse the neo-liberal ratchet effect.
    In the long run, a fully democratic socialist society will see all essential goods and services in societal ownership.
    Greater controls over private capital will also be used to ensure it always operates for the betterment of society.

    Jul 14, 2017 11:16 AM
    Reply to  John

    Couldn’t agree more: a centralized “command” economy (we’d have to do something about the name) would be a baby step toward the reversal. Correct me if I am wrong, but four of China’s major banks are state owned. Germany also has a decentralized network of public banks. It will take a fair bit of ‘suasion to get our private criminal banking institutions to reverse the habit of a lifetime: and act in anything other than their own self-interest – “for the betterment of society”? Another hitch: we don’t have 40 years. We appear to be at the limits of growth of several debt inflated bubbles (housing and financialisation). And we don’t have another £375 billion to prop up failed institutions. We need honesty from Westminster (laugh) and an immediate plan of action. Otherwise this country will be on it’s arse, and you, me, and everyone else will be in hock to our criminal banking cartel forever. Labours is a good ten year plan, only 18 years too late. We’ve got Bildeberger Bankers Brown(noser) to thank for that…

    Jul 14, 2017 1:30 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    One benefit of leaving the EU is that it will allow the UK to adopt a far more independent line.
    This will extend to the field of finance capitalism too.
    Instead of QE for Banks, we will be able – under a Labour Government – to have QE for People.
    Without public investment, Britain will not be able to pay off its debts.
    Without public investment, the essential infrastructure for future generations will not be in place.
    Without investment, productivity gains and real wealth increases will not happen.
    Without investment, achieving greater societal equality can never happen.
    Not investing is not an option.

    Jul 14, 2017 10:22 PM
    Reply to  John

    The problem with investment – which also explains why in many Western countries governments are pulling back on it – is that it takes place within a monetary framework in which to create money, debt must be created by the institutions that lend it … and expect to be paid back by borrowers with interest. Yes, even governments have to “borrow” money and incur “debt” and pay back “interest” on the “loans”.
    We need new monetary systems in which the power to create money and control the quantities of it circulating in the economy is restored to the people who use money, and the governments and institutions they choose as their representatives to create and control money and its flows.
    Alternative monetary / financial systems have been proposed in the past and some if not most are still being advocated today. Modern Monetary Theory posits an alternate view of analysing current financial systems by putting the power of money creation back with governments and not with private banks (ultimately tied to Wall Street through loans). Some people go further and propose Social Credit (as developed by C H Douglas back in the 1920s). There may be other alternate financial and economic ideologies and systems that put control of money and money flows back with individuals and local communities.

    Jul 14, 2017 10:36 PM
    Reply to  John

    The problem with investment, public or private investment, in current capitalist economies is that it takes place within a debt-based financial system, in which banks are in charge of creating money and every time money is created, a debt is incurred.
    To invest on the scale that you propose, we need to return the control of money creation and its flows back to the people and their communities. New financial institutions would need to be created to create money and handle its flows so these are always transparent and do not end up being wasted in corrupt activities. Your suggestion of greater investment is laudable but for that to occur, it has to take place within a completely different financial model and ideology about the role of money in societies.
    Some people have advocated Modern Monetary Theory as an alternate analysis of current financial flows, putting governments back in charge of money creation instead of banks (which may be tied to Wall Street through inter-bank lending). Other people go further and suggest very different ways of creating and managing money flows through systems like C H Douglas’ Social Credit.

    Jul 15, 2017 11:12 AM
    Reply to  John

    @John: This country has greater than 2007 levels of debt; and a poor economic outlook. Even mainstream economists admit that, as with the recent OBR Report. And it’s all down to Brexit??? Not 40 years of neoliberal gang-rape?
    We both know that’s a lie. With the country in “austerity fatigue”; even by their own forecast – the Tory strategy leads to a black hole in our finances. Labour’s strategy is to keep inflating the debt bubble and hope???
    We are in a death spiral: what Michael Hudson would call ‘debt deflation’. The only thing of any real value in a fiat currency economy is the DEBT. The banks own us: it’s really that simple. Borrowing in conditions of less than optimal (3-5% PA) growth is suicidal – as is austerity – look at Greece. It is a real gamble with our future to assume that the money invested will have time to pay itself back, in terms of fiscal stimulus and growth.
    We need radical change – NOW. “Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be paid” is Hudson’s adage. Politicians and mainstream economists are at best economically illiterate: at worst, part of the gang that is raping us.
    It is not as if Corbyn and McDonnell aren’t aware of alternatives; such as “public credit as the sound basis for debt-and interest-free Treasury money”. Both signed an Early Day Motion for the “Bradbury Pound“.
    IF this Parliament runs till 2022; and IF our economy lurches through despite ‘Wrexit’… We are going to be needing John Bradbury’s pound: not a 10 year fiscal stimulation package backed by private finance capital. But those are some mighty big IFs. Mighty big IFs.

    Jul 14, 2017 10:37 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    Oh shit … I thought my first comment had been lost so I retyped it again. Off-Guardian, you can eliminate either one.

    Jul 19, 2017 7:37 PM
    Reply to  Jen

    Hi Norman,
    I live in a capitalist world and it’s all I’ve known for over fifty years. As a child I knew poverty and didn’t like to very much. I’m still a pauper but a lot better off than so many others. I cannot see where we begin to equate what someone does whether toil or time cannot have some value. If I’m growing potatoes, I can harvest 1st earlies, 2nd earlies and main crop. It’s taken me the same effort to plant, but come harvest I want my time spent toiling to have value or worth, by the time I’m pulling the main crop I’ve weeded, sprayed against blight(pest and disease) and watered far longer but the end product is still a potato. During the intervening weeks my main crop is worthless and so are my toils because I have nothing to show for the effort. How then, can I expect that time to have any worth which will reflect in what I can reap in reward? How do I influence the market to reflect my hard labour during the winter months without crops and only my “clamped” potatoes, as evidence of my worth?
    It has to be a collective bargaining system for any kind of worth to be allotted, not as individuals, but as producers (production) of something that has worth. At over sixty years old and a single female, my efforts, no matter how strenuous, will not be considered as equal worth in a community except in certain societies that look after their elderly. My contribution to the collective will be worth considerably less, so they are not going to buy me dentures when I need them(I’ll have to work until I’m a hundred to “acquire” them or slurp soup). Unless the collective pools all it’s resources and apportions the same to each and every individual(and that includes the lazy buggers who just won’t work)someone is going to lose out, badly.
    I couldn’t find the answer in Marx or Owen’s Labour exchange so am still studying them trying to get my head round it all.
    BigB wrote a comment about the markets and it occurred to me that Marx said something about the exchanges as well. Sub primes (shale being the latest, let’s hope that falls down a very deep hole) and derivatives with agriculture and fisheries were mentioned as possibly being represented as values related to “gluts” and “scarcity”, though Marx didn’t reduce it down passed coal and energy production. Will trawl through what I have to see if I can find what he wrote.
    Still having a problem equating a value-less or worthless toil a being anything but abstract. How to apply a structured analysis of worth? Can’t fathom it, so you have laid down a challenge I must try and meet or at least comprehend.
    BTW. Even as a smoker I’d swap three bananas for a Cuban cigar any day of the week.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 14, 2017 11:53 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    @ John, BigB, and Jen,
    Money under a capitalist system can be issued in a number of ways, but all of them will be a variation on essentially two themes: “debt-issued currency” or “debt-free-issued currency.”
    Both categories of currency can be public or private and yet be perfectly consistent with an economy that privileges “for-profit” production over human welfare.
    Everybody is more or less conversant with debt-issued currency: money is put into circulation on the promise that the “principal” will be paid back at “interest.”
    What most people don’t know is that private banks issue money, or loans, without “consideration,” that is to say, that the “money” is nothing other than a “debt-entry” in a ledger and is therefore effectively printed out of thin air at absolutely “zero cost” to the issuing institution.
    Rules of issuance, which the banking cartels effectively write for themselves, are the only “constraints” and effectively boil down to what is “agreed upon to be” or “legislated” as the profile of a “credit worthy” debtor.
    From this it follows that if money is issued at no cost to the banks or money lenders but becomes real purchasing power in the economy and remains so after — (and this is the real “con” perpetrated by the “banks”) — being “repaid,” banks effectively print “their own,” whereas everyone else must “earn” it by producing goods and services or by forfeiting real property as collateral.
    Consequently, if the commercial banks can exercise this “money printing” privilege, logically the privilege can be revoked from these “private for-profit currency-issuing cartels” and assumed by a public institution that would be answerable to the public under the auspices of an elected body of representatives, that is to say, a Central Bank that would not be, as “they” are now, “independent,” but under the direct supervision of elected representatives. Furthermore, the money could be issued debt-free, under something akin to what Dr. Richard Werner has described as “window guidance.”
    The only problem I have with the actually viable scheme of publicly issued debt-free money to stimulate economic activity into perpetuity is that the problem of exploitation implicit in wage labour — (or what is the other side of the same coin: for-profit production) — goes completely unaddressed. You effectively “save capitalism from itself,” ipso facto condemning the working class to the very destitution and insult that under the rules of “profit making” it has always had to endure, as Darren’s piece above makes perfectly clear.
    You cannot have both “for profit production” and an “economically enfranchised working class” because “profit” in a capitalist economy can only be “realized” through production in the following manner – if I may quote something I wrote some time ago:
    Quote begins:
    As Marx writes, “[t]he value of a commodity is expressed in its price before it enters into circulation, and it is therefore a pre-condition of circulation, not its result.” (Capital, Volume One, Vintage Books, 1977, p.260.) In other words, at any moment in time, anyone can go to the market and discover the average, persistent and established price of a commodity for which there is an actual, already pre-existing market. But as already demonstrated, that pre-existing market price will more or less be very close to its actual and current cost of production, especially so if it’s a commodity already entrenched in and widely distributed throughout the market, a state of affairs that applies to the vast majority of all commodities.
    The capitalist game is therefore to find an answer to the following question: “given” that a commodity predictably sells for on average, say, ‘x’ number of dollars, what can be done to produce it at a profit at that already “given” and “established” or “customary” price?
    There are essentially three ways in which this can happen, none of which are mutually exclusive, all of which can be used singly or in combination: a) force one’s private labour force to ‘accept’ a reduction in wages, thereby reducing the cost of producing the commodity using the customary and established material means of (instrumental-organizational) production at hand; b) improve upon the customary and established material means of (instrumental-organizational) production at hand in such a way as to greatly reduce the amount of time or labour that would otherwise be necessary to produce the commodity, i.e., “increase productivity;” or c) offshore the production of the commodity to a locality where either labour or resource costs, or both, are significantly lower than in the current localities where the commodity is being produced. And after any or all of this is achieved in whatever combination, introduce the now more cheaply produced commodity into the pre-existing home market where the commodity will predictably fetch its customary and already established market price. It is in this way that capitalist enterprise creates a profit margin for itself: its profit being the difference between the customary and pre-established market price of the commodity and the now decreased cost of bringing that commodity to the market. Unfortunately for the capitalists who “innovate” in this way, other capitalists looking to their own advantage and viability, are quick to adopt the newly developed strategies for “creating” profit opportunities. The moment that these strategies become generalized throughout the economy, profit margins once again deteriorate precipitously, and the crisis of shrinking margins asserts itself again with the implacability of a catastrophe.
    All of this explains why under the capitalist mode of production, the means of production are constantly being revamped to ever higher degrees of efficiency; why private businesses are constantly trying to reduce the wages of their employees; and why in the system as whole, under the aegis of national governments overseeing highly developed capitalist markets, there is a constant propensity and drive to subjugate and integrate by military or other means peripheral regions where resources and peoples have yet to be incorporated into the system and thus represent means and opportunities as yet unexploited to further the pursuit of profit.
    In a nutshell, this is Marx’s account of how capitalism actually works or, rather, how profit is not primarily a consequence of market exchange.
    Profit may be ‘realized’ in and through market exchange, but market exchange is far from being the whole of the story, or even the primary element of that story. And because of the inbuilt disparity between “the wages and salaries paid to workers” (i.e. the overall “purchasing power” of all consumers taken together) and the aggregate cost of all commodity production, some businesses somewhere must continuously go bankrupt, further compounding the effects of this original disparity on account of the unemployment that those bankruptcies generate.
    quote ends.
    The only way to address the exploitation of the working class implicit under a capitalist regime is to abolish the regime, to decommodify labour and euthanize “for-profit” production. This also explains why Marx and Engels, who understood “money” and “finance” perfectly well, spent very little time on the issue other than to argue for their outright extirpation.

    Jul 15, 2017 12:16 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    @Jen: well said!
    @Norm: completely agree. I view debt and interest free money purely in transitional terms: not as an end game paradigm. I also would like to see ‘Clause IV’ privatization of not just public services; but of all of the means of production. That, world peace and an equitable share in prosperity and resources for absolutely everyone globally…
    In the meantime, I would like to find a way out of the death spiral we are in… First job: get people to realize we are in a death spiral!

    Jul 17, 2017 6:23 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    Hi Norman.
    “there is a constant propensity and drive to subjugate and integrate by military or other means peripheral regions where resources and peoples have yet to be incorporated into the system and thus represent means and opportunities as yet unexploited to further the pursuit of profit…”
    Gandhi would certainly have agreed with this critical paragraph.
    I’m all for Market economies on the home market where the devolved capitalist approach were replaced with an evolved socialist scheme was thriving. It can be done small scale as were the co-operatives vision. However, the only way any “government” (there would have to be a council of some sorts) could function as a centralized de facto Head Office could oversee all activity (compensation for labour, materials, delivery) would have to be able to dictate what constraints, boundaries, demand, etc. were necessary in order to maintain checks and balances. All of which would have to be commensurate with workforce and dependents needs. The scope of the venture would be exhaustive in a minor collective of communities, let alone on a county or country scale. In the case of Duran’s project, even he was looking for capital investment to expand his vision and he was an anti capitalist!
    Even using Marx’s ancient but still recognizable breakdown of production of a commodity having an expressed worth, who pays for the street lighting, roads, hospitals, schools, etc. and who determines how they should be organised? The capitalist scheme of “for profit” industry has been around for more than 4,000 years in one form or another and it has outlasted all other schemes. Unless we can find a way of turning uncoined earnings into shared economic benefit for all to encompass all needs, how do we move away from even gold backed currency values into gold backed valued currency?
    Didn’t put that very well, but in essence, it is the difference between what something is valued at and what it is worth or value actually is, as availability expressed in for instance a dearth and a paucity? Fluctuation and flexibility would be of paramount importance in the ability to adapt or predict a market commodity. (I remember trading this particular argument some 40 years ago with fellow “politicos”. I didn’t get a satisfactory answer then).
    It’s an example of something you need to be able to answer if you are developing a business plan requiring financial backers, but is equally applicable beyond partisan capitalist theory.
    If it’s any consolation, I’ve never found the answer and I’ve posed it to cleverer minds than mine.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 17, 2017 6:43 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Hi Susan,
    You are going to have to give me some time to formulate a reply.
    There is a lot to “unpack,” so to speak, in what you’ve written . . . At any rate, I really need to re-read what you’ve written carefully so as not to misinterpret it too badly . . . although, of course, you will correct me where I go wrong if I do go wrong . . .
    In the meantime, this bit did wrench an involuntary chuckle from me: ” . . . Marx’s ancient but still recognizable breakdown of production of a commodity . . . My, if Marx’s breakdown is ancient, what other less ancient “breakdown” exists that is an “advance” over his analysis?
    Now to get up the gumption to tackle the challenge you’ve laid before me . . . 😉

    Jul 17, 2017 8:43 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    I was reading a copy of a typewritten manuscript.That and the reference to pounds. shillings and pence was why I described it as ancient. Mind you with the introduction of coptic unicode in the clay tablets of Egyptian shopping lists and invoicing, you get a clue as to how business was done back then in the pre Cambrian and carboniferous era!
    If you can make sense of what I was trying to convey in my post, your a better man than me Gunga Din.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 17, 2017 10:19 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Hi Susan,
    Merely to keep this discussion alive while I find the time to cobble together an appropriate reply to you, see these soliloquies that I once had with myself on how I fancy that Marx “breaks down” a) the manner in which the “capitalist mindset” conceptualizes and came to conceptualize “value” and b) how “labour” is also “conceived” and “commodified” :
    This first; this second
    For Marx, “capitalist” reality is first and foremost a “cultural” paradigm. As such, it is invisible to itself as a “mode of perception” informing “modes of behavior” or “ways of organizing” collective behavior.
    The biggest obstacle to a progressive evolution beyond “capital” is the collective mindset that “projects” concrete “realities” where only the shadows of its own conceptions actually exist.
    It is the collectively held “abstractions” — the cultural fetishizations, our shared and common and most dominant reifications — which blind us both to the “possible” or “alternative” ways in which we could organize our lives and to the peculiarities of the “exploitation” which these abstractions, when they are collectively held, make inevitable.
    Among these, the keystone abstractions of the “capitalist mindset” that must eventually be transcended or purged are the binaries implicit in the relation that is the commodity: the notions of use-value and exchange-value.
    These two notions, which are second nature to people inculcated with them, are not at all as simple and innocuous as they at first appear to the minds that live by them, but in fact are paramount to the viability of “capital” as the “reality” of an entire historical epoch. Not for nothing that Marx dedicates the first thirteen chapters of Volume One of Capital to disentangling the fetish of the “commodity” or, what is the same, the fetish of “market value.”
    These are the “ideas” of which we must purge ourselves if we are to get beyond “capital.”
    But to purge ourselves of them, we must be able to recognize how they skew and dominate our thinking. Until we do recognize the degree to which they shape our perceptions and limit our thinking because they are with us “reflexive” or “unexamined presuppositions,” we cannot free ourselves of them to open ourselves up to other possibilities as viable ways of organizing society.
    Part of the process of overcoming capitalism is, crucially, overcoming the “fetish of value” or, as Marx put it, “commodity fetishism.”
    But this isn’t a simple or straightforward matter. For the “cognitive complex” that is “the fetish” is truly a many headed hydra inhabiting us in ways that mostly elude us. Capitalism isn’t only an external, enveloping social reality, it is truly a collective neurosis, and like all neuroses, it must be tackled at the level of the individual engaged in self-reflection.
    Capital, the work of that title by Marx, in addition to being a social-economic critique, is also, so to speak, a psychoanalytic attempt to theorize the neurosis of “the commodity fetish” so as to provide us with the insights to cure ourselves, to re-educate ourselves so as to be able to change ourselves from the inside out and, hopefully and eventually, as a society, from the outside in.
    But I’m getting ahead of myself . . .

    Jul 18, 2017 12:01 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    Hi Norman,
    Recognised much of what you replied as being from your archives of “ancient” text by Marx.
    You are about to find my next sentence outrageous and nonsensical, but don’t get angry, think about it in terms of how Marx’s many writings could be assimilated by the majority of the masses – they wouldn’t unless we change the rules.
    I want to reset the bar by which all goods and chattel are available, by making their value a labour based consideration, not just the hours devoted to it’s production, but the type of work involved. All trading of such commodities to be assigned their worth according to this benchmark and that benchmark to be acknowledged and agreed between all partners in the transaction.
    Why should a miner toiling in dangerous or unforgiving conditions, or a dustcart operative working shifts in all weathers, or a sewage operator taking on the unpleasant job of cleaning up after something we all contribute to, be paid less for their labours than an office clerk, a bank teller, a nurse or a teacher?
    The way we look at labour is totally out of whack. The way we look at people’s worth is also an element that undermines fair minded thinking. Where priorities are reversed and stigma are applied, we have the start of the real problem underpinning the labour exchange.
    If a person has free education and the brain to enable them to teach, they could choose such an occupation in order to avoid having to work in a hostile or unappealing/unhealthy environment. Why should they be extolled as having more worth because they found a way to dodge drudgery?
    I want to see thinking and perception of what is considered the “order” of things put in their proper perspectives.
    One example of many I could offer is this:
    The RSPCA has several rules for the proper care of a dog. Those basic rules to include: access to clean water, a proper diet of food, the provision of adequate shelter from heat and cold, toilet facilities, clean environment, veterinary treatment, appropriate exercise, the meeting of healthy maintenance (coat, teeth, nails, worming and vaccinations) and another half dozen requirements, all based on meeting the basic needs of the animal.
    Compare the above list to humans and our current government in the UK has not even met a dog’s needs!
    Something has gone seriously wrong with our priorities when even basic needs are not acknowledged, so how can we hope to change attitudes to the important necessities of basic requirements being met and how we view those who provide them?
    Worth needs to be re-evaluated and applied fairly. I’d rather see a society reward those who labour under uncomfortable conditions and view them as a necessity rather than inferior beings doing grunt work, while measuring the efforts of those who do not meet a criteria of necessity as being rewarded in relation to a preferential nicety.
    I think I will dive for cover now, as I am likely to have angered a lot of people with my thinking.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 18, 2017 4:27 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Hi Suzan,
    I don’t know how you might have thought that I could find your next “sentence” nonsensical or literally outrageous. Under the circumstances in which we live, I agree with everything you write.
    Given that people are in fact “remunerated” on the “basis” of “time” and not on the “basis” of the intensity of the toil and risks to their welfare involved in their work, there is in “that” a profound injustice and an insult to human dignity, and I very much agree that if there must be a “basis” for “remuneration,” the cost in discomfort, in effort, in risk to one’s health should be factored into that “remuneration.”
    But then if that’s the point you are making in contradistinction to the point “you think” that I am trying to make, you do not grasp my purport and we are talking past one another. Of course, that’s my fault, not yours. So let me try to clarify:
    Only under a capitalist regime does the “commodity” exist. The structure of the commodity is twofold: it has a use-value, and it has an exchange-value.
    Marx notes that when you compare commodities on the basis of their use-values, they are concretely all different from one another, and there is absolutely no commensurability between them in either qualitative or quantitative terms. The only way that the concrete reality of an object, which is always a unique and singular thing, can be made the equivalent to another object is by “abstracting away” its “concrete reality.” “Exchange-value,” which requires that a commodity be conceived in the most abstract of terms and in spite of its concrete reality, is what makes a “quantitative” comparison between “concrete” objects possible in “value” terms: one Cuban cigar is not three bananas and could never be three bananas, but “abstractly conceived” as a “commodity,” one Cuban cigar can be made“equal” to three bananas . . .
    This brings us to “labor.” How, in concrete terms, can you “equate,” make identically “equivalent,” the work of a roofer with the work of a fisherman, say? In “concrete terms,” that is to say, in “reality,” you can’t. But the “capitalist mindset” – not Marx, not me – DOES! It comes along and says, “roofing and fishing, though they are in reality different activities and specializations, are nevertheless “quantitative and qualitative” “equivalents” because conceived in the abstract, they are one and the same thing, LABOR.” But Marx’s critique, simplified to its most essential, is that under capitalism, all forms of ‘labor,’ which in their astounding varieties are really not at all ‘equivalent’ and thus not possibly reducible to one another, are reductively deemed to be qualitative and thus numerical equivalents and, therefore, treated as such. This “type” of thinking is the kernel of inhumanity in “capitalist culture.” And it is among many other things one of the essential elements that must be expunged if humanity is to move forward into a more progressive era. So long as people continue to think of what people do to live and survive “in terms” of “activities” requiring “remuneration” on the “basis” of some “abstract” bais or denominator, the schemes of social interchange will contain the “seed” of “exploitation.”
    Now go back and read what you wrote. The tenor of it remains “capitalistic.” The only thing you’ve done is shift the “remuneration” of “abstract labor” from the basis of “time” to “toil,” both conceived in the “abstract.”
    “That” is the “nub” of Marx that most readers of Marx “don’t get,” and if you don’t get “that,” you don’t really begin to understand the essence of the Marxist critique of the “life blind” culture that is “capitalist culture.”

    Jul 18, 2017 5:06 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    You need to study the history of Robert Owen’s Labour Exchanges.
    See – inter alia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-based_currency.
    Owen’s Labour Exchanges failed ultimately for two reasons:-
    1) While they were based on the quantity of labour in any goods produced, they did not take into account what the quality of labour – and, therefore, goods and services – produced. This mean that the Labour Warehouses became filled to the top with useless items – like poorly made boots and shoes – while all the really valuable stuff was hard to come by.
    2) Exacerbating problem (1) was the tendency of local traders to go in and exchange rubbish goods for good quality goods. This undermined the appeal of Labour Exchange goods and ensured there was a shortage of good quality goods which the private traders then exploited by charging high prices in their own establishments.
    This is not an argument against Labour Exchanges but a recognition of the potential pitfalls they can face.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 18, 2017 6:27 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    Again, merely as an “example” of thinking that remains deeply ensconced within the horizon of the “commodity fetish,” examine John’s most recent reply to you about Robert Owen’s Labour Exchanges: the basis of the “value” of the “commodities” to be “exchanged” is the “quantity” of “labour.”
    Question: how many “tooth extractions” are “equal” to, in terms of the “quantity” of “labour” involved, 1000 nails hammered into the framing timber of a barn?
    The question is rhetorical though capitalism has a ready answer in terms of “clock increments” as the unit measure of “labour.”
    The point is that nothing anyone does to contribute to the welfare of the collective to which he or she belongs can “really” be reduced to what anyone else also contributes, regardless of whether its brain surgery or piloting a plane or whatever.
    We are ensnared in a “fiction” that we have unconsciously devised over many thousands of years and that now enslaves us to a mode of life that is oppressive and inhumane and that the “fiction,” to the degree that we hold it in common, underpins and reproduces.
    Any thinking about collective life that does not rise above or beyond “exchange” based on “labour” in the abstract, that is to say, “exchange” tout court, is under the spell of the “commodity fetish” or the “fetish of value” and is in its essence “capitalistic” and inherently “exploitative.”
    In a society where work would be completely socialized, and not merely as it is now, socialized on the basis of the “corporate unit” or the “firm,” there could not be any “exchange,’ because “labor” would in conceptual terms no longer be “abstract” and “private,” that is to say, “commodified,” that is to say, “labor” as a concept would no longer be an “economic” category but only a designation for a multitude of “concrete activities.”

    Jul 18, 2017 6:39 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    My secondary point essentially being that it is almost impossible to create a socialised society within an existing capitalist framework, as Lenin and the early Communists soon recognised.
    The fact that private traders completely undermined the existence of Labour Exchanges is unsurprising as it is in the essential fabric of capitalist society to undermine anything it can exploit.
    The traders need not have had malign intentions – though some probably did – to behave the way they did.
    They could not help themselves or others by behaving any differently.
    There is a whole debate to be had about about how – exactly – capitalism can be replaced.
    However, this forum provides neither the time nor the space for that highly complex debate.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 18, 2017 7:45 PM
    Reply to  John

    “However, this forum provides neither the time nor the space for that highly complex debate.”
    I don’t think OffG is enforcing a word limit on comments or on how much time you want to devote to any of your comments. 😉
    You can also “submit” a piece, John.
    Other than that, I agree with every word in your reply. And my reply to Susan had less to do with you than with Owens . . . just to be clear . . .

    Jul 17, 2017 6:53 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    One “solution” is already coming into view.
    The financial powers that be want to move towards a cash-free economy, relying on card technology instead.
    Over time, one can imagine all newborns being microchipped at birth.
    this would remove the need to carry personal ID of any kind or cash or cards.
    However, such an economy would still remain cash-based.
    Money is a means of transfer, an economic store of value (highly questionable) and a comparator.
    Post-capitalism, there is no need for cash or money of any kind.
    Everyone’s needs can be met by allocating societal resources to everyone.
    It is interesting to read about Chile’s Project Cybersyn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Cybersyn).
    That provides a model for an alternative economic system to capitalism.
    Little wonder that Nixon and the CIA became so determined to topple Allende and his system.

    Jul 17, 2017 9:03 PM
    Reply to  John

    Hi John,
    I’d totally forgotten about Allende – thanks for the reminder. Actually I remember reading this skynet thing and what worried me was how it resembled a big brother system in which people became only statistics. Think, when I have time, I might check out the Wiki leak you gave.
    Thanks, Susan

    Jul 16, 2017 6:04 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    Much as I support Corbyn’s rhetoric, he has, recently, started back pedaling on much of what made him such an attraction for so many. Whilst I may have lost faith(and to a degree “respect”) in him, he is still the face of socialism. We lost Nye Bevan, we lost Wedgy Benn, all we have in the way of charismatic socialists is Corbyn. I’ll help get him into power, but the ultimate goal, for me at least, is to slowly introduce the broader picture of socialism in terms that don’t send the listeners running for them thar far off hills!
    We have for nigh on thirty years been sold this new me-ism culture as an acceptable way to live, ergo, the first thing we need to do, is reverse that brainwashed thinking and expose it for what it is. Simultaneously, we must advise people of other options available in terms of culture, economics and history so they are better able to understand where we have gone badly wrong and where certain nations have done remarkably well under corporate wealth assaults. I’m not just talking about socialist run countries either. I wonder if you can guess which nations I might be referring to, each achieved a remarkable turnaround, just not as a socialist inspired approach, but certainly people inspired?

    Jul 16, 2017 6:21 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Iceland – the country, not the store?
    I agree with everything you say.
    People who describe themselves as being progressive or progressively left have abandoned the debate.
    We have to construct a new intellectual climate; one which challenges the uncertainties of neo-liberalism.
    In the past, organisations like the Fabian Society might have done this – but not today.
    They have fallen under the spell or the thrall of neo-liberal thinking and cannot find their way out.
    It is our responsibility to provide the lone voices that may one day swell into an over-powering choir.
    The essential argument is very simple: do we all want a greedy and self-obsessed society?
    Or do we all want a humane, tolerant, empathetic, rational, scientific kind of society?
    If the latter, then only democratic socialism can achieve it – never naked capitalism.

    Jul 17, 2017 9:48 AM
    Reply to  John

    “do we all want a humane, tolerant, empathetic…” society: that ends at the national borders? Or “do we all want a humane, tolerant, empathetic…” society that extends globally? If the latter, we need a new vehicle into which we channel our energy: not one that supports Imperialism and child murder. If the answer is that no one in the Labour Party knew that channelling money to the White Helmets would indirectly fund the Rashideen Massacre of Innocence: the answer is – why not? The information is here, on this site, and many others, for anyone to be informed. If we can’t link the ballot box, fund raising for ‘terrorist-pseudo-charities’, and their bombs – what chance do humanity, tolerance, and empathy have???

    Jul 17, 2017 5:04 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    It is a complete disappointment to me that so many of the supposed socialist left, who know the realities and have access to the truth, are in fact pseudo leftists supporting the right wing militarist and imperialist agenda. I have sent emails with links to various left wing Labour Party contacts and there is no response, utter silence as if the matter were to be swept under the carpet(and it has been). If Corbyn and McDonald come clean about the propagandist lies being spouted by the MSM in relation to Syria’s Assad and who really used the CW attacks as false flags, I will follow them wholeheartedly, but if they are cowed by fear of criticism in airing the truth, I will make my contempt known. There really is no excuse they can present of any worth for claiming ignorance of the facts.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 16, 2017 8:01 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    Norm’s note: two things were at the back of my mind while I watched this documentary:
    The first was Lenin’s The State and Revolution, which you can read simply by following the link incorporated in the foregoing highlighted title.
    The second thing which I had in mind (as a caveat to Lenin’s thesis) was an essay by Daniel Guérin, titled “Three Problems of the Revolution,” and in particular this paragraph from that essay:
    “But, though class instinct impels them to break their chains, the masses of the people lack education and consciousness. And as they surge with redoubtable energy, but clumsily and blindly, towards freedom, bumping into privileged, astute, expert, organized and experienced social classes, they can only triumph over the resistance they encounter if they successfully acquire, in the heat of battle, the consciousness, expertise, organization and experience in which they are deficient. But the very act of forging the weapons just listed, which are the only ones that can ensure that they get the better of their adversary, carries with it an enormous danger: that it might kill the spontaneity which is the heart of the revolution, that it might compromise freedom inside the organization, or allow the movement to be taken over by a minority elite of more expert, more aware, more experienced militants who, to start with put themselves forward as guides, only to end up imposing themselves as leaders and subjecting the masses to some new form of man’s exploitation of his fellow men.”

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 16, 2017 8:05 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    And here is a link to Daniel Guérin’s essay: Three Problems of the Revolution

    Jul 17, 2017 5:16 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    Thanks for the Iceland link. Couldn’t hear what was being said and no sub titles(as a deaf old bat I like S.titles.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 17, 2017 6:10 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    “Get a hearing aid!” as an old curmudgeon once backed back at someone in an audience before who he was speaking, who complained about not being able to hear . . .
    . . . but all kidding aside, there are no subtitles because everyone interviewed is speaking English, albetit in admittedly Icelandic accents . . .
    The point of the documentary is that the “revolution” failed though it potentially did send a message to ordinary Icelanders: popular protests and votes will not be enough to bring about substantial change.
    Consequently, education and organization should perhaps be the immediate priority given the biggest obstacle to change in the circumstance, that is to say, the palpable lack of political and economic education and consciousness among the general population.
    Furthermore, the “Icelandic miracle” is more myth than substance, convenient propaganda to entice “us” back into slumber after bearing witness to a “peaceful” public display or two of outrage, that and a token referendum granted to those most eager for a “vote for change.”

    Jul 17, 2017 6:28 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    I don’t have the time to watch the whole of the video on Iceland.
    What I do know is that a referendum was held as to whether or not the people of Iceland should bale out banks.
    Their – very clear – answer was “No”!
    If only we had been given the same choice here in the UK!
    One Icelandic bank which did survive the financial meltdown was different to all the other banks.
    It was run wholly by women.
    Maybe we all ought to try listening to the fairer sex more often?!!

    Jul 17, 2017 8:18 PM
    Reply to  John

    I struggle with videos so I didn’t catch what was being said, but thanks for filling me on the important bit!
    Women rock!
    Well some of us do, I just tend to fall over.

    Jul 13, 2017 7:41 AM
    Reply to  John

    Only by knowing the problem can a solution be found.
    It seems you did not read Marx deeply as solutions are there although era applicable in some cases.
    “Give enough monkeys a typewriter & eventually you will find a Shakespeare” – so we need EVERYBODY to talk about it, read about it & sooner or later the viable solution you mention will appear.
    My solution of targetted assassination will not be deemed acceptable & we live in hope that one day with the essential awakening of Sheep that we might avoid a bloody revolution & transition peacefully into a better system.
    Until then we must talk about it & we must write about it, reading articles like these as much as possible as the vast majority have no idea how their lives were raped before they were born.

    Jul 13, 2017 12:07 PM
    Reply to  John

    @John: the most fundamental and radical change one can make comes from within. Be peace.
    Beyond that: John McMurtry’s “The Cancer Stage of Capitalism; From Crisis to Cure” [ISBN-13: 978-0745333137] is an example of a whole system overview that is both descriptive and corrective.
    “Knowledge Wins in the End, but Not Until It is Known”; is how Professor McMurtry puts it.

    Norman Pilon
    Norman Pilon
    Jul 13, 2017 2:44 PM
    Reply to  BigB

    . . . or rather, be peace if you can be peace, but fight if you must and are in an organized position to do so effectively . . . don’t be stupid and suicidal, either in “being the peace” or in “being the fight.”
    An excerpt from something I re-read yesterday, on the so-called issue of “extremism and moderation,” a quote from Malcom X:
    Quote begins:
    “But most people usually think [laughs to himself], in terms of extremism, as something that is relative, related to someone they know or something that they’ve heard of, I don’t think they look upon extremism by itself, or all alone. They apply it to something. A good example – and one of the reasons that this can’t be too well understood today – many people who have been in positions of power in the past don’t realize that the power, the centers of power, are changing. When you’re in a position of power for a long time you get used to using your yardstick, and you take it for granted that because you’ve forced your yardstick on others, that everyone is still using the same yardstick. So that your definition of extremism usually applies to everyone, but nowadays times are changing, and the center of power is changing. People in the past who weren’t in a position to have a yardstick or use a yardstick of their own are using their own yardstick now. You use one and they use another. In the past when the oppressor had one stick and the oppressed used that same stick, today the oppressed are sort of shaking the shackles and getting yardsticks of their own, so when they say extremism they don’t mean what you do, and when you say extremism you don’t mean what they do. There are entirely two different meanings. And when this is understood I think you can better understand why those who are using methods of extremism are being driven to them.
    “A good example is the Congo. When the people who are in power want to, again, create an image to justify something that’s bad, they use the press. And they’ll use the press to create a humanitarian image, for a devil, or a devil image for a humanitarian. They’ll take a person who’s a victim of the crime, and make it appear he’s the criminal, and they’ll take the criminal and make it appear that he’s the victim of the crime. And the Congo situation is one of the best examples that I can cite right now to point this out. The Congo situation is a nasty example of how a country because it is in power, can take its press and make the world accept something that’s absolutely criminal. They take pilots that they say are American trained, and this automatically lends respectability to them [laughter], and then they will call them anti-Castro Cubans, and that’s supposed to add to their respectability [laughter], and eliminate that fact that they’re dropping bombs on villages where they have no defense whatsoever against such planes, blowing to bits black women, Congolese women, Congolese children, Congolese babies, this is extremism, but it is never referred to as extremism because it is endorsed by the West, it is financed by America, it’s made respectable by America, and that kind of extremism is never labelled as extremism. Because it’s not extremism in defense of liberty, and if it is extremism in defense of liberty as this type just pointed out, it is extremism in defense of liberty for the wrong type of people [applause].
    “I am not advocating that kind of extremism, that’s cold-blooded murder. But the press is used to make that cold-blooded murder appear as an act of humanitarianism. They take it one step farther and get a man named Tshombe, who is a murderer, they refer to him as the premier, or prime minister of the Congo, to lend respectability to him, he’s actually the murderer of the rightful prime minister of the Congo, they never mention this [applause].
    I’m not for extremism in defense of that kind of liberty, or that kind of activity. They take this man, who’s a murderer, and the world recognizes him as a murderer, but they make him the prime minister, he becomes a paid murderer, a paid killer, who is propped up by American dollars. And to show the degree to which he is a paid killer the first thing he does is go to South Africa and hire more killers and bring them into the Congo. They give them the glorious name of mercenary, which means a hired killer, not someone that is killing for some kind of patriotism or some kind of ideal, but a man who is a paid killer, a hired killer. And one of the leaders of them is right from this country here, and he’s glorified as a soldier of fortune when he’s shooting down little black women, and black babies, and black children. I’m not for that kind of extremism, I’m for the kind of extremism that those who are being destroyed by those bombs and destroyed by those hired killers, are able to put forth to thwart it. They will risk their lives at any cost; they will sacrifice their lives at any cost, against that kind of criminal activity. I am for the kind of extremism that the freedom fighters in the Stanleyville regime are able to display against these hired killers, who are actually using some of my tax dollars which I have to pay up in the United States, to finance that operation over there. We’re not for that kind of extremism.”ii
    quote ends.
    There isn’t only one kind of “violence” or “extremism.” There is the “violence” of the oppressor; and then there is the “violence” of the oppressed against their oppressor. The former is illegitimate; the latter is by definition “defensive” and eminently moral.

    Lumpy Gravy
    Lumpy Gravy
    Jul 14, 2017 10:26 AM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    … or, as Walter Rodney put it:
    Violence aimed at the recovery of human dignity and at equality cannot be judged by the same yardstick as violence aimed at maintenance of discrimination and oppression.

    Lumpy Gravy
    Lumpy Gravy
    Jul 14, 2017 10:53 AM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    P.S.: I’m not at all d’accord with Derrick Jensen’s “philosophy”. I think his intellectual output doesn’t merit this term. Yet, he once said something about violence and the power relations in our hierarchical class societies that really nails it:
    Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

    Jul 17, 2017 4:36 PM
    Reply to  Norman Pilon

    Hi Norman,
    A very good expression of oppression and how it is misrepresented and “sold” as the good guys fighting the bad guys and accuse your enemy (the victim) of your own evil.
    Makes me shudder that people could actually fall for this, but they have and they do.

    Jul 17, 2017 4:03 PM
    Reply to  John

    Hi John.
    There are plenty of people trying to fit socialist policy(the square peg) into the existing monetary policies(the round hole). What they must achieve is not possible in one fell swoop, it has to be introduced in bite size chunks that people can become knowledgeable about and swallow. As someone once said “the root of all evil is money” and it has been proven to be the case, the problem is how do we move away from “money based” economies?
    We don’t, at least not at first. Such an upheaval would only be possible if a catastrophic event were to destroy the world as it currently is. A smaller destruction on a global stage, would be the shutting down of all markets – a massive hack of the stock exchanges across the world and bank records globally. The world would go to hell in a handcart if such a thing were to happen. Unless we go right back to the barter system that preceded the coin evolution, we will always being dealing with coin as a currency rather than the contactless payment
    Look up Enric Duran – I read an article about him recently – incredible man. This from Wiki:FairCoop
    In April 2014, Duran began to develop an idea that was to become Faircoop, an open global cooperative. It stated aims are to “contribute to a transition to a new world by reducing the economic and social inequalities among human beings as much as possible, and at the same time gradually contribute to a new global wealth, accessible to all humankind as commons”.[22][23][24][25][26]
    Faircoin was chosen as the cryptocurrency upon which to base its resource-redistribution actions and building of a new global economic system.[27]

    Jul 17, 2017 6:18 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    I believe the saying – in full – is “The root of all evil is the love of money”.
    There is a difference.

    Jul 17, 2017 6:52 PM
    Reply to  John

    I think the original was a quote from the Bible in which “greed” was the root of all evil and was then put in the King James as the love of money and then rendered down to simply money…..
    Another way of expressing it is the love and need for wealth, great or small and the accumulation thereof. In certain circles there is accumulation that is staggering, but what is worse is that even that is not enough and never could be, hence the love of money. Money is just the visible treasure which for so many translates into acquisition and needful things, though in truth, much of the perceived need is nothing of the sort. What it really boils down to is that once you understand what money can get you(we start with pocket money in kids)we are already hooked into that peculiar psychosis whereby our needs just seem to grow unbridled by any understanding of what real need is and that which we would simply wish we had.
    Imagine a world where there was no coin, no diamonds or gold and only the collective endeavor of peoples labours as the reward by which we could all have what we need?
    I still think that money in all it’s concepts, is the abiding dictum by which we all strive and compare our progress against our neighbour and is, for me, still the root of all evil.
    To strive to survive is arduous, but to strive toward wealth it seems, is where we are being taken.

    Jul 17, 2017 10:23 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    I have come to the conclusion that money represents power.
    It is power – not money – that our elites seek.
    Their satisfactions are subject to the theory of diminishing marginal returns.
    A thousand today becomes ten thousand the day after, followed by one hundred thousand the day after, a million after a year, a billion after 5 years and a trillion after 10 years.
    Essentially, “When is enough ever enough?” gains the response “Never” from those sick individuals for who there can never be enough power for them to exercise. In a way, it becomes a form of addiction, like any other.
    I seriously think people like Rupert Murdoch are sick-minded individuals. The more power they get, the more power they seek. Their appetites are insatiable. They can never get enough.
    They all remind me of the vacuum monster in the “Yellow Submarine” Beatles cartoon film.
    It ended up consuming everything in sight – including itself.
    Capitalism is a form of cancer; it wants to live for ever, regardless of the cost to itself and everything else.

    Jul 18, 2017 11:16 AM
    Reply to  John

    I am an advocate of Ernst Becker: money and power equal ersatz immortality. Acquisition fetish, egoism, extended egoism of the ingroup, vilification of the outgroup – are fundamentally driven by the irrational fear of death.
    “The basic motivation for human behavior is our biological need to control our basic anxiety, to deny the terror of death.” (Becker: The Denial of Death)

    Jul 16, 2017 5:30 PM
    Reply to  John

    Hi John.
    Whilst I fully endorse the theory of Socialism, I have yet to see an economic model showing how the reality would work. The ideology behind Socialism is commendable and something I can endorse, but the actual practicability of the economic process is not achievable in the context of various nations, most notably (at least for me) Britain, in the current public perception of reality. John McDonnell seems to have backtracked on the original plan to use PQE and helicopter drops of money against government bonds, with some small tax increases spread more fairly than they currently are, with a call for private funding via investments from who knows where and we already have enough foreign countries (France, Germany China, Russia Sweden etc.)currently owning our energy sector.
    One of the Tory memes trotted out is that under Labour, our taxes will rise (meaning the working classes, since the wealthier have been receiving tax breaks since 2010) despite the fact various statistical studies and audits acknowledging that more than £100 billion is siphoned off by the corporate/ bankster and wealthy tax dodgers and this may be McDonnells concern. ( Farnseworth put the Corporate costs at £87 billion(he stated that it did not include the HB costs) – another £24 – 28 billion as per Aditya Chakrabatti’s (The Guardian) whilst another study showed it to be £124 billion.)
    Many people, understandably believe the Tory misrepresentation and would be nervous of having to pay more taxes, since we are an extremely low waged economy in the first place, but in terms of competing against other nations for exports, we cannot afford higher wages – which is why neither Labour or Tory limited the cheap labour influx.
    The problem is that this money is not paid back, for any number of reasons and tax avoidance and evasion requires legislature which all take time. The longer the Tories are in power, the less viable any alternative options become since the Tories have pretty much trashed our economy and it’s ability to contribute to the exchequer. If Corbyn’s Labour don’t get into power before 2018, there will be nothing of Britain’s economy to salvage, we have been systematically asset stripped of our ability to compete in export markets.
    I still prefer the option of massive borrowing while the interest is so low, but would not want to do it through the IMF but would consider the EEB and would even go so far as to suggest joining the BRICS or Chinese/Russian initiative.
    Your thoughts?

    Jul 16, 2017 6:00 PM
    Reply to  mohandeer

    John McDonnell’s general election document FOR THE MANY NOT THE FEW – FUNDING BRITAIN’S FUTURE contained the statement ‘A Labour government will give local government £1.5 billion of extra funding for next year (2018/19) and initiate a review into reforming council tax and business rates and consider new options, such as a land value tax, to ensure local government has sustainable funding for the long term.’
    I thought this provided a pointer towards different sources of taxable revenue, particularly the reference to a land value tax. This is in the Henry George tradition, under which the Henry George Foundation has calculated that both income tax and national insurance contributions could be abolished and replaced by a land value tax.
    This would shift the burden of taxation from production towards consumption and asset wealth.
    As for an economy which operated at optimal level, look at the UK during the Second World War.
    Economic “miracles” were certainly achieved there, albeit to have to then throw away all the benefits through the use of capital and revenue flows being literally destroyed on the battlefields of Europe and Asia.
    Imagine a centrally-controlled economy which – instead – operated during peace time instead.
    The Tories are paving the way for such an approach with their failed and failing austerity economics.
    Labour people just need to have the self-confidence to point all this out to the British people.

    Jul 17, 2017 4:13 PM
    Reply to  John

    At least it’s a plan, anybody else got a better one? I thought not.

    Enough is enough
    Enough is enough
    Jul 13, 2017 12:08 AM

    The horrors of vulture crapitalism … Oh dear me.

    Dead World Walking
    Dead World Walking
    Jul 12, 2017 10:19 PM

    Then there’s the great equaliser.
    Justice, after all.

    Greg Bacon
    Greg Bacon
    Jul 13, 2017 2:25 PM

    Soon, death won’t be the Great Equalizer, as scientists are working on extending life spans, but that will be only available to the rich.
    When that happens, the rich assholes who are looting and plundering the planet and making a killing off killing, will live to be a 150 yo or older and the race to the be the first trilionaire will be one.
    And guess what happens to us peons?

    Jul 16, 2017 5:32 PM

    That depends on whose doing the dying, currently it is the poor, the disabled and the elderly.

    Jul 12, 2017 4:44 PM

    “…For sure there’s always the threat that someone like Corbyn, Iglesias or Sanders make it on to the ballot paper, a prospect which make elites, and their professional lackeys, sick with fear…”
    There is no “threat” to the powers that be within THEIR system of Hegelian dialectics, fake left/right paradigm and controlled opposition. I’m not surprised Corbyn was a hit at Glastonbury. If you like being ripped off and living in a tent surrounded by shit, you’ll love Socialism.
    capitalism/communism = two sides of the same coin.
    The goal of socialism is communism.
    Vladimir Lenin
    The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.
    Vladimir Lenin

    Jul 13, 2017 11:43 AM
    Reply to  mitch


    Greg Bacon
    Greg Bacon
    Jul 12, 2017 4:04 PM

    Any student of English history knows its one soaked in blood, not of the inbred ‘royals,’ but of the people that worked the land, raised the livestock and tended to the vineyards.
    The current ‘royals’ are descended from brutal thugs who were better at murdering and instilling terror than the ones trying to take over, a real life ‘King of the Hill,’ with the hill made out of corpses.

    Lumpy Gravy
    Lumpy Gravy
    Jul 12, 2017 3:53 PM

    Let’s take one example of millions, this guy …

    Let’s take another example of millions … this guy! Fictional, certainly, but instructive and enlightening.

    Jul 13, 2017 12:15 AM
    Reply to  Lumpy Gravy

    Very amusing – and thought-provoking, in its way.

    Jul 13, 2017 1:58 AM
    Reply to  Lumpy Gravy

    Jim Broadbent’s finest acting moment – he wrote the script too and Mike Leigh directed. Absolutely brilliant.

    Jul 12, 2017 3:43 PM

    Effing Noam Chomsky. All the useless truth you can fit in an aircraft hangar.
    When it comes to speaking truths that might actually make a difference he’s on the side you think he isn’t.
    Utterly loathsome fraud.

    Jul 12, 2017 5:01 PM

    What a remarkably interesting comment ; you might tell us what you are smoking – or drinking.

    Jul 12, 2017 7:51 PM
    Reply to  Roger

    Chomsky is the man who, when challenged by a “9/11 truther” that ‘9/11 was an ‘inside job’, replied:
    “What difference does it make if it was? It is not significant.”
    Here is someone who sees acceptable political discourse as an argument between Jews from opposing ends of the political spectrum …. a person who, realising that Israel is the prime suspect in this outrageous, world-changing crime, understands that this issue will NEVER be seriously discussed by establishment mouthpieces.
    Chomsky exists to give the (false) impression that there is real and meaningful opposition to the establishment from within mainstream discourse that we can listen to and follow.
    There isn’t.
    There are only traitors like him. Israel-firsters who don’t give the first shit about 3000 dead New Yorkers, nor the millions of arabs who have died as a result of the big lie HE PROTECTS.
    Fuck him and the same to arrogant, ignorant, delusional and offensive masturbators like yourself. Go back to your glass of Chablis and sneer your stupid, careless face off.

    Jul 13, 2017 2:57 AM

    I debated about 9/11 for a few months on Quora which helped refine my argument (till I got banned on trumped-up breaches of policy). It is just amazing to me now how simple the logic is to prove that 9/11 was an inside job and any “progressive” pundit who will not commit to saying that it definitely was an inside job simply has to be a gatekeeper.
    This is the very, very simple logic that proves it.
    At 5.20pm, WTC-7, the unhit-by-a-plane and lesser-known third building to crumble at the World Trade Centre on 9/11, collapsed to the ground in 6.5 seconds in the exact manner of a classic controlled demolition, aka, an implosion. After its collapse, journalists commented on how it resembled a controlled demolition. Dan Rather said:
    “Amazing, incredible, pick your word. For the third time today, it’s reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television before, where a building was deliberately destroyed by well-placed dynamite to knock it down.”
    Controlled demolitions do not look like any other type of collapse because they have unique characteristics and that is why when, explosives loader, Tom Sullivan, and demolition expert, Danny Jowanko, observed the collapse, they identified it as a controlled demolition with little or no expression of doubt. See https://www.quora.com/Can-we-determine-from-the-observable-data-the-cause-of-WTC-7s-collapse-was-controlled-demolition-and-thus-also-conclude-that-9-11-was-an-inside-job/answer/Petra-Liverani
    Thus, controlled demolition was the most likely hypothesis for the collapse of the building and, as Lynn Margulis, acclaimed evolutionary theorist and winner of a number of prestigious scientific awards, said, scientific method demands you investigate the most likely hypothesis first.
    NIST rejected investigation of controlled demolition as cause on the basis that any recorded explosions did not meet the decibel threshold characteristic of controlled demolition and that they were unaware of any evidence of molten steel which occurs during and after controlled demolition. The decibel threshold is simply “made up” and there was plenty of evidence of molten metal. In any case all the other unique characteristics of controlled demolition displayed by the collapse: quick onset of destruction, symmetrical collapse through path of greatest resistance at near free fall (and partially at free fall) acceleration, pyroclastic-like clouds of pulverised concrete and complete dismemberment of steel frame, still made it the most likely hypothesis.
    Not to mention that the hypothesis NIST went with, “fire”, was manifestly fraudulent. Fire has never caused collapse of a high rise steel frame building before or since 9/11 and, while there may have been fires present in the building (couldn’t see them in the videos though), fire did not seem from visual perception to play any role in the building’s collapse. Their theory of “thermal expansion” pushing a girder off its seat is ludicrous as there would have been stiffeners to prevent this event among other problems with the theory and then the notion that the collapse of one column caused by the girder being pushed off its seat causing global column collapse instantaneously across the building (to account for its symmetrical fall) is beyond ludicrous. See tutorial on WTC-7’s collapse by Richard Gage, founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVwun_sOT8U. Also see Peter Michael Ketcham, a former NIST employee, speak about the fraudulence of the NIST report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvAv-114bwM.
    So QED WTC-7 collapsed by controlled demolition QED 9/11 inside job. (As Graeme MacQueen, professor of Religious Studies and founding director of the Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University, has said, “There is no room in the official story for controlled demolition.”

    Jul 17, 2017 4:09 PM

    Whatever faults Noam Chomsky has, they are his own to bear. What he has given us has been revelation and an informed view of the status quo we all once believed in, but thanks to him, have had our eyes opened to. So many have much to thank him for, I among them, his faults leave him open to criticism, but do not detract from the good he has done – no-one is perfect.

    Jul 12, 2017 3:00 PM

    Mug shot of Francis Egerton 7th Duke of Sutherland here: