Category Archives: Capitalism

Aside

author’s note: this was the first question on my midterm for History of Socialism & Communism.  I think it answered the question, but may not be a suitable introduction to Marx’s thought for its length. Explaining the philosophy of Karl … Continue reading

Aside

It’s easy to claim that the economic crisis did a better job deconstructing the ideology of privatization than the work of any economist. After all, we saw the damage done, we understand that regulation is necessary, that markets can’t always … Continue reading

Deconstructing Neoliberalism, part I

note: This is the first in a series of posts, the idea for which I mentioned here. I am certain Sach’s arguments have been addressed by writers and thinkers far better than myself. However, I am writing this to deepen my own understanding of ideas to which I am relatively new. I hope it will also allow me to more readily address the points of mainstream economists.

The book jacket gives us the first indication of Sachs’ direction, and a very clear picture of the framework he’s using.

“Ultimately, The End of Poverty leaves readers with an understanding, not just of how grave the problem of poverty is but how solvable it is- and why making the necessary effort is a matter of both moral obligation and strategic self-interest of the rich countries.”

Sachs here is trying to sell his agenda to both the humanists and the capitalists alike, and judging by his stature and influence, he has been incredibly successful. He has received accolades for his pragmatism, though his desire to reconcile capitalist imperatives with moral ones smacks of utopian idealism. Žižek noted the hypocrisy of the modern capitalists: they accuse communists of being too utopian, while their ideals- universal healthcare, voting rights, decent living standards (all within a capitalist system of accumulation)- are every bit as utopian as those of Marx and Engels. Sachs’ focus, however, is on the “strategic self-interest,” of rich countries, indicating the plans he has for them.

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Commodification in the Information Age

The images and theme come from the popular YouTube video Did You Know? 3.0

The focus of videos like these on the quantitative aspects of information (measured in bytes) rather than the qualitative demonstrates the treatment of information as a commodity. This focus presents a view of information with value intrinsic to itself rather than use value in relation to other commodities. In addition to reinforcing the pseudo-futurism of high-tech globalization, it presents the idea that regardless of how the information is applied or what the information itself is about, the information itself has value beyond its potential use or exchange value. The very act of producing information, whether that information concerns Harry Potter fan fiction or cluster bombs, is seen as beneficial to society. Continue reading