The (partial) unoriginality of Marx’s anticapitalism

Much commentary lately on the Pope’s critique of capitalism. Some even describe it as ‘Marxist’, this is silly, but so also are many of the evocations of the Marxist legacy on the left. Marx wasn’t the first or the last critic of capitalism. The originality of Marx’s work does not lie in his moral critique […]

Secular stagnation? Paul Sweezy in Australia

I have an article in Online Opinion on Labor’s post-election prospects although my comments applicable to the entire left including the Greens. One topic I touch is the implications of slower economic growth for politics. In recent weeks we have seen a revival of the ‘secular stagnation’ thesis that due to a shortage of investment […]

Lenin, economic management and public opinion

Recent commentary by some on the left in Australia and the US has highlighted the extent of public confusion about economic policy and criticised populist campaigns by conservatives against debt and deficits. This is certainly true but it also counts against the tradition of left-wing populism that has tended to attribute economic liberalism to an […]

Wall Street vs. Main Street Democrats?

Although buried in marking doing some work on my paper on American liberalism and capitalist development based on my recent Sydney presentation to a symposium on social democratic governments and business. One aspect is the relation between the Democrats and business and the question of ‘corporate liberalism’ apparent in current debates about financial regulation.  We […]

Oliver Williamson and American liberalism

Lecturing recently in Modern Political Ideologies I observed that classical liberalism are not entirely incompatible, classical liberals were concerned about workers’ subordination in the production process and about the rise of corporate capitalism. Currently rereading Oliver Williamson’s The Economic Institutions of Capitalism, doubly appropriate because of his recent Nobel Prize in economics. An interesting milestone […]

Labor, Telstra and anti-trust

Much drama about Labor’s announcement on Telstra to force a split of the wholesale and retail arms. In retrospect the debate about whether or not the public should retain majority holding in Telstra looks as relevant as the question of bank nationalisation was to 1950s banking policy. There has been coincidentally an acrimonious debate as […]

Ike the Communist

Thinking about the conservative fear and loathing directed towards this graph based on the research of Thomas Picketty and Emmanuel Saez. An extract appears in this Obama administration budgetary statement (pdf)  and a more detailed version of the graph is on the blog of Obama’s director of Management & Budget. As the more detailed version […]

Accumulation by dispossession

Posting here has fallen off as i pursue the chimera of getting ahead of my teaching so I can research during the week. The recent debate between David Harvey and Brad de Long attracted nil attention in Australia, probably because much of the Australian left is still reliving 1980s debates on the inequities of economic […]

Conservative confusions

Much media discussion about Julie Bishop’s demise. She is a political lightweight, but most of her problems reflect a broader conservative confusion about how to respond to the economic crisis which mirrors Labor’s 2001-2004 agonies. Julia Gillard showed little ability to outwit Howard’s populist conservatism during her time as shadow Immigration Minister. The disarray on […]