The following are comments to the post referred to below.
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Michael Roberts Blog
blogging from a marxist economist
The crisis of neoliberalism and Gerard Dumenil
By michael roberts
“Neoliberalism” seems to me to be just another one of those phrases that closet socialists use when they are afraid to use the more classical marxist terms. I am not sure what this buys us. The idea is that somehow if we change our language then people will be more receptive to our ideas.
Hegemony= imperialist control.. etc.
2. Assuming that the most fundamental definition of Marxism is that it is a movement which allies itself with the social interests of the working class and seeks to aid the working class in an historical process which results in the working class becoming the ruling class thereby abolishing class differentiated society, at what point is this form of analysis useful.
What is its application to the class struggle or the construction of socialism.?
3. To speak of a managerial class is to depart from Marx and to enter the realm of Bernstein. I would be interested to see statistics on the size of this “class” What is the relation of this class to the process of production. My suspicion, admittedly made without adequate analysis is that it could be easily broken up into the more specific categories of a) the bourgeoisie, owners of social capital who have managerial positions but are major shareholders or bondholders and thus are entitled to a portion of the fruits of surplus value. b) workers, ie producers of value, who may sit at a desk rather than in a forklift, but whom perform real work, albeit in 21st century forms, such as programmers and other technology workers. and C) more or less permanent or temporary elements of the petit-bourgeoisie, owners of small enterprises who simultaneously produce some value and also exploit labor to a limited extent, but who are obstructed by systemic restraints from capitalizing beyond very limited levels.
I would suspect that true managerial professionals, who do not fit in to any of these above categories, and whom are nonetheless explicit agents of the bourgeoisie, would represent a very small statistical component of society, are not a class per se and will remain in their great majority loyal to their masters irrespective of either the rate of profit or the condition of the credit markets. The analysis described above seems like a self aggrandizing petit-bourgeois fantasy in which college professors imagine themselves and their cohort to to play a pivotal historical role.
4. Both the Manifesto and Capital refer to the unquenchable thirst for growth of the capitalist system. The present epoch is salient in the aspect that the extension of commodity production is now virtually complete on a world scale. To some extent it is already being truncated by the operation of post revolutionary state regimes which in some limited aspects supersede the law of value such as in the case of Cuba, Vietnam and China. Resolution of both limitations on the expansion of the rate of profit and most certainly limitations on the operation of credit markets depend upon opportunity for systemic growth which is no longer available to the capitalist system without a prior massive destruction of existing fixed capital (war), the creation of direct access to a new market by the reimplementation of colonial relations or some presently unforeseeable major advance in the productivity of labor–such as occurred in the 1990s with the development of the internet wireless technology and personal computer. Further advances in information technology have not produced the same level of productivity increases as did their introduction and have if anything intensified the downward pressure on the rate of profit as the application of these technologies has become generalized and markets for these devices saturated except for the replacement of one device with another that is only marginally improved over its predecessor.
Lacking the social power to alter these balance of forces, including the massive expansion of democratic power now resting in the hands of the worlds working people, capitalism has turned to cannibalism which is sometimes euphemistically called neoliberalism.
5. The solution to this problem is a social movement to overthrow the power of capital rather than the employ of ever more intricate and sophisticated marxian analysis of capital. Marxists who posses talent as economists ought to turn their attention toward the world that we must now begin to create rather than to dissect the world that we must leave behind.