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

Capital itself is the moving contradiction

Capital itself is the moving contradiction  The phrase quoted in the title is probably the most well-known in the Grundrisse. It has been cited in books and journal articles at least a hundred times, an order of magnitude more frequently than the alternative translation found in the collected works, “capital itself is a contradiction-in-process,” It is […]

(Hence the correctness of the theory of surplus population and surplus capital…)

(Hence the correctness of the theory of surplus population and surplus capital…) Marx mentioned, “the theory of surplus population and surplus capital,” parenthetically, in the Grundrisse and “surplus population and surplus capital” in his 1862-63 draft of Capital. Although it isn’t certain what theory exactly he was referring to, the phrase reappears, in reverse order, in chapter 15, […]

“Lump” and “labor” are two words…

“Lump” and “labor” are two words… From: Tom Walker Sent: October 27, 2021 3:49 PM To: scott.a.wolla@ Subject: Lump of labor fallacy Dear Scott, I just came across your article, “Examining the Lump of Labor Fallacy Using a Simple Economic Model,” from November of last year on the St. Louis Fed website. I have done quite […]

À la recherche du socially necessary labour temps perdu

À la recherche du socially necessary labour temps perdu How many Trained Marxists™ know there is no “socially necessary labour time” in the Grundrisse? I didn’t. When researching the provenance of the term, I was surprised to discover that it was present in neither the Grundrisse nor Marx’s Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy. The latter book had a lot […]

Does economic growth cause unemployment?

Does economic growth cause unemployment?, Econospeak, Sandwichman, October 24 Usually, a question in the title of an article is a teaser and the answer is almost always “no.” Not in this case. The standard argument is that economic growth is necessary to create jobs and that unemployment results from the slowing or interruption of growth. […]

Wealth is leisure. Leisure, wealth.

Wealth is leisure. Leisure, wealth. The three quotes above are from, respectively: 1. William Godwin 2. Charles Wentworth Dilke 3. Karl Marx. There was a very pronounced influence of Godwin on Dilke and of Dilke on Marx (hence indirectly of Godwin on Marx). My research suggests that viewing Marx’s work from the perspective of Dilke’s […]

Democratizing Work

Democratizing Work I was a bit skeptical of the Global Forum on Democratizing Work. It seemed to me that rushing into an online conference was perhaps a bit over ambitious and misdirected for a relatively new initiative that arose out of a collective letter to the editors of newspapers. Anyway, I attended three-session today, two […]

Labor as a Common Pool Resource

Labor as a Common Pool Resource The everyday experience of working people, economic policies of governments, bargaining priorities of trade unions, and theoretical models of economists refute the idealistic maxim that labor is not a commodity. An early rationale for the proposition was given in 1834 by William Longson of Stockport in his evidence to […]

Beware of “The Narrative”!

Beware of “The Narrative”! Back in 1979 philosopher Jean-François Lyotard was commissioned to do a report for the province of Quebec that turned into a book, The Postmodern Condition. I remember that book well because I read it during my graduate studies that focused on narrative analysis. A central theme of Lyotard’s book was the “death of […]