Socialism with a spine: the only 21st century alternative | John Quiggin | Business | The Guardian
Our eBooks are available from many more retailers, simply search with the ISBN to find it somewhere else. Tatah Mentan. He has authored many books on burning world issues in areas like political economy of international relations, the predatory wars of corporate globalization and democratization in a netarchic world torn and convulsed by corporate capitalist cannibalism and warfarism. Socialism: The Only Practical Alternative to Contemporary Capitalism by Tatah Mentan Since the end of World War II, global capitalism, spearheaded by US financial interests and backed by the most lethal military force that has ever been assembled, has consolidated its power over the world economy.
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Related Books. A New Dawn. Moreover, De Leon waded into the battle of ideas inside socialist movements by opposing and ridiculing racist doctrines and behavior. At the same time as he took up the struggle against the racists in the Second International, he wrote elsewhere about the long-term significance of the Japanese military and naval victory against the Russians in Is Russia, in turn to transmit the kick further West and each successive nation to pass it on further and further West, successively rising to their feet stamping out their special varieties of Czarism?
Moreover, because classical Marxism itself did not free itself from racist assumptions during and beyond the life and times of Marx and Engels, it needs to be emphasized that De Leon pioneered and sustained his critique of racist doctrines. With sympathy for the immigrant communities and the promises held out by American radicalism, Buhle sketches the pitfalls of yielding to the intoxication of the unwarranted visions of the socialism-is-around the corner mentality induced among radicals by the Bolshevik revolution.
As a leading representative of Bolshevism inside America, Fraina was to become a truly tragic figure. In a comment on John Reed and Louis C. They went through in the first months of the new movement what many other communists were to go through in the years to come. And the life of his protagonist was hard and unrewarding in the s. After assuming the name Lewis Corey, when his books The Decline of American Capitalism and The Crisis of the Middle Class were published in and he made a new name for himself. The theoretical problems of socialism and capitalism continued to preoccupy him; and in , after ten years of teaching at Antioch College, he took a job as educational director for a trade union affiliated to the American Federation of Labor.
The Final Chapters Buhle pays insufficient attention to the impact of the Moscow trials and other Stalinist crimes on the libertarian Left in s America. It even intoxicates. But the socialist carries the corrective within him. James D. Second, the midth century was a period when economic activity work for governments or businesses, undertaken for pay or profit in factories, shops and offices was sharply distinguished from non-economic activity housework, voluntary activity and non-government organisations. These sharp distinctions are no longer tenable. Thanks to mobile phones and the internet, much paid work is done at home.
More importantly, the economic value of the internet as a whole depends entirely on its content, much of which Facebook and blog posts, Twitter, personal and group websites and so on is produced by users rather than for economic return.
Types of socialism
To reimagine a 21st century socialist economy we need to consider a much broader mix of forms of economic activity than those of the 20th century mixed economy. These include:. Under financial capitalism, the standard way of providing goods and services is through big business: large corporations, with an associated network of subsidiaries and dependent contractors.
Big business has grown at the expense of the public sector through privatisation and at the expense of independent small businesses through increased market concentration. At the same time, labour market reforms have reduced the bargaining power of workers and increased that of employers. The combined effects have included increasingly concentrated wealth and power, wage stagnation and slow economic growth. Even the OECD has recognised this.
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A socialist program would allocate much less economic activity to big business, and more to other forms of organisation. In deciding what kind of economic activity belongs where, a range of considerations are relevant. These include the scale of the activity, the extent to which it is possible and appropriate to charge market prices, the scope for competition and the relative importance of economic and non-economic motives.
In part this would imply reversing the neoliberal program of privatisation and marketisation. Large-scale capital intensive activities with limited scope for competition, such as the provision of infrastructure, would be returned to public ownership. In very short order, however, Turnbull was announcing his own interventions, with the expansion of Snowy Hydro and restrictions on gas exports. We have even seen the suggestion that the commonwealth might buy the Liddell power station recently privatised by its state counterparts to extend its operating life.
This is a nonsensical idea, but it illustrates the extent to which the taboo on government intervention has lost its power. Similarly, we are seeing some attempts to reconstruct the public Tafe system after the fiasco of for-profit vocational training and the Fee-Help system. The Victorian government in particular has taken some positive steps. A socialist program in the 21st century needs to involve much more than a reversal of neoliberalism. The internet and the information economy have broken the link between productive activity and market returns.
Information is a pure public good, which can be shared again and again with no additional costs. So the production of information ranging from scientific research to Instagram pictures has potentially huge social value.
On the other hand, the market value of internet activity depends, almost entirely, on the ease with which it can be packaged up with commercial advertising — meaning access is artificially constrained. The fact that information is naturally a public good creates a huge potential for economic and social benefits of which we have realised only a small fraction.
The combination of strong intellectual property laws and reliance on advertising to finance internet content mean that our access to information is artificially constrained. Governments could address this problem, providing vastly increased access to resources of all kinds, from artistic and cultural content to designs to be used in 3-D printers. But the policies of neoliberal austerity have pushed us in the opposite direction, cutting budgets and pushing public institutions of all kinds towards more reliance on user pricing and advertising.
- Socialism: The Only Practical Alternative to Contemporary Capitalism.
- Socialism: The Only Practical Alternative to Contemporary Capitalism.
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There is also much more room for voluntary and non-government activity. The neoliberal state, through contracting, competitive tendering and the audit culture, has sought to turn voluntary work and non-government organisations into low-cost providers of government services. In the process, much of the creative potential of civil society has been lost.