Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Social costs and common-pool resources

Disposable time as a common-pool resource V — Social costs and common-pool resources  The basic idea behind common-pool resources also has a venerable place in the history of classical political economy and neoclassical economic thought. In the second edition of his Principles of Political Economy, Henry Sidgwick observed that “private enterprise may sometimes be socially uneconomical […]

Disposable time as a common-pool resource VI — Withholding labour

Disposable time as a common-pool resource VI — Withholding labour Superficially, it might seem that the individual worker can deny access to an employer offering unsuitable terms. But it is here we need to factor in that peculiarity of labour-power noted by the silk weaver, William Longson, that a day’s labour not sold on the […]

Disposable time as a common pool resource

Disposable time as a common pool resource IV — disposable time as a common pool resource In his Grundrisse, Marx identified surplus labour time as a form of disposable time. That is to say that, under capitalism, it is labour time at the disposal of capital. “The whole development of wealth,” Marx wrote, “rests on the […]

Labour is not a commodity

Disposable time as a common-pool resource II — Labour is not a commodity  Labour was conventionally regarded as a private good by both classical political economists and conservative thinkers such as Edmund Burke, who argued, “labour is a commodity like every other, and rises and falls according to the demand.” The counterpoint to that view, […]

Labour power as a common pool resource

Disposable time as a common-pool resource III — Labour power as a common pool resource  Human mental and physical capacities to work have elastic but definite natural limits. Those capacities must be continuously restored and enhanced through nourishment, rest and social interaction. Over the longer term that capacity for labour also has to be replenished […]

Disposable time as a common-pool resource I — Introduction

Disposable time as a common-pool resource I — Introduction About a decade ago, I wrote a short piece about “labour power as a common-pool resource” that got picked up by Michel Bauwens of the P2P Foundation and led to me being invited to a conference on the commons in Berlin put on by the Heinrich […]

Cheap trips to the lakes

Cheap trips to the lakes We are experiencing climate change with a vengeance in British Columbia. For the past four summers, we have had horrific wildfires that send smoke all the way from the interior to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Last summer, we had a record-breaking “heat dome” that killed over 600 people […]

Disposable time, disposable population, disposable products

Disposable time, disposable population, disposable products DISPOSABLE TIME, DISPOSABLE TIME, DISPOSABLE TIME, DISPOSABLE TIME, DISPOSABLE TIME, DISPOSABLE TIME, DISPOSABLE TIME… Did I mention “disposable time”? Marx repeated disposable time seven time in paragraph (three paragraphs in the complete works) I’ve taken the above excerpt from. In English. In capital letters. That, and the fact that his theory […]

Infrastructure week: organs of the human brain, created by the human hand

Infrastructure week: organs of the human brain, created by the human hand Who owns general social knowledge? Who owns the general intellect? Alf Hornborg pointed out that without the fuel to run it, a tractor is simply a piece of sculpture. It is not even a sculpture, though, if there is no one to design it […]