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

Socially Necessary Labour Time: outline of a review

Socially Necessary Labour Time: outline of a review I have excerpted all the passages in Capital and Theories of Surplus Value in which Marx explicitly discusses the concept of socially necessary labour time by name and will go through them in manageable chunks. My first pass through the excerpts suggests to me that 13 segments would be a reasonable […]

Oedipus Marx and the Chimera of Socially Necessary Labour Time

Oedipus Marx and the Chimera of Socially Necessary Labour Time Karl Marx: “Pamphlet No. 1 ends with the statement: ‘Wealth is nothing but disposable time’” No, it doesn’t.  The pamphlet Marx cited was The Source and Remedy of the National Difficulties. The phrase, “wealth . . . is disposable time, and nothing more,” appeared on page 5 […]

TimeWork Web Reloaded

TimeWork Web Reloaded Publication of my article, “The Ambivalence of Disposable Time: The Source and Remedy of the National Difficulties at Two Hundred,” felt very much like the culmination of a 26-year long research project that began when I answered a call for proposals from the B.C. Ministry of Employment and Investment. My proposal included a research […]

#TangPing (“lying flat”)

#TangPing (“lying flat”) China’s new ‘tang ping’ trend aims to highlight pressures of work culture (from BBC) Young people in China exhausted by a culture of hard work with seemingly little reward are highlighting the need for a lifestyle change by “lying flat”. The new trend, known as “tang ping”, is described as an antidote […]

Disposable People Reinstated

Today (Saturday, May 15th) I learned that my EconoSpeak post, “Disposable People” (which has over 2500 views) has been reinstated by Blogger. I never knew it had been removed. If I was a GOP whiner, this would be a prime example of cancel culture in operation. But of course, it’s only an artefact of “moderation […]

“Ambivalence” has dropped!

“Ambivalence” has dropped!  Two things I am especially pleased about that were sort of incidental at the time: 1. The prominence in the title of “Ambivalence” — the future is ambivalent — and 2. The ending quote by Benjamin of a quote about stereoscopic vision.  The “author’s original version” can be downloaded from his drop […]

“…other enjoyments, of a purer, more lasting, and more exquisite nature.”

“…other enjoyments, of a purer, more lasting, and more exquisite nature.” A defense of Weber’s Protestant Ethic thesis from the 1940s by Ephraim Fischoff makes the plausible argument that critics — and many supporters — of Weber’s essay attached unwarranted causality to it, as if “Calvinism caused capitalism.” Instead, Fischoff explained: Weber’s thesis must be construed […]

The Hippie Dog Whistle Work Ethic Silent-Majority Counter-Offensive

The Hippie Dog Whistle Work Ethic Silent-Majority Counter-Offensive Following up on my last post, I was searching for coverage of Ronald Reagan’s infamous “strapping young buck” comment from 1976 and found this wonderful commentary by Ian Haney López on Bill Moyers’s show. In his book, Dog Whistle Politics, López mentions the “work ethic” angle several times. The […]

The “Work Ethic” Hoax

The “Work Ethic” Hoax The story has been told that Martin Luther invented the doctrine of the “calling” and that John Calvin (“my friends call me Jean”) intensified it with his doctrine of predestination. Subsequent pastoral literature softened the predestination blow with the Protestant ethic that working hard and succeeding would show that you were […]