07.06 // 12am. Can’t really sleep since I’m too excited because my mom’s flight lands in 20 minutes and she got me loads of stationery from HK. 😊 so i’m doing some late night revision in bed on the economic history of the Philippines while waiting so very patiently for her to get here. This is quite honestly the most effort I’ve exerted for a 10-point quiz. I take my economics very seriously, can you tell?

theguardian.com
Yanis Varoufakis: How I Became an Erratic Marxist
By Yanis Varoufakis

Before he entered politics, Yanis Varoufakis, the iconoclastic Greek finance minister at the centre of the latest eurozone standoff, wrote this searing account of European capitalism and how the left can learn from Marx’s mistakes.

In 2008, capitalism had its second global spasm. The financial crisis set off a chain reaction that pushed Europe into a downward spiral that continues to this day. Europe’s present situation is not merely a threat for workers, for the dispossessed, for the bankers, for social classes or, indeed, nations. No, Europe’s current posture poses a threat to civilisation as we know it.

If my prognosis is correct, and we are not facing just another cyclical slump soon to be overcome, the question that arises for radicals is this: should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising European capitalism?

Live Greek referendum: No vote on track for landslide victory - live updates
Counting is underway after millions of Greeks have voted on a bailout package that EU leaders have framed as a referendum on membership of the Euro

To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism than it is to unleash dangerously regressive forces that have the capacity to cause a humanitarian bloodbath, while extinguishing the hope for any progressive moves for generations to come.

For this view I have been accused, by well-meaning radical voices, of being “defeatist” and of trying to save an indefensible European socioeconomic system. This criticism, I confess, hurts. And it hurts because it contains more than a kernel of truth.

I share the view that this European Union is typified by a large democratic deficit that, in combination with the denial of the faulty architecture of its monetary union, has put Europe’s peoples on a path to permanent recession. And I also bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated. I confess I would much rather be promoting a radical agenda, the raison d’être of which is to replace European capitalism with a different system.

Yet my aim here is to offer a window into my view of a repugnant European capitalism whose implosion, despite its many ills, should be avoided at all costs. It is a confession intended to convince radicals that we have a contradictory mission: to arrest the freefall of European capitalism in order to buy the time we need to formulate its alternative.

Why a Marxist?

When I chose the subject of my doctoral thesis, back in 1982, I deliberately focused on a highly mathematical topic within which Marx’s thought was irrelevant. When, later on, I embarked on an academic career, as a lecturer in mainstream economics departments, the implicit contract between myself and the departments that offered me lectureships was that I would be teaching the type of economic theory that left no room for Marx. In the late 1980s, I was hired by the University of Sydney’s school of economics in order to keep out a leftwing candidate (although I did not know this at the time).

After I returned to Greece in 2000, I threw my lot in with the future prime minister George Papandreou, hoping to help stem the return to power of a resurgent right wing that wanted to push Greece towards xenophobia both domestically and in its foreign policy. As the whole world now knows, Papandreou’s party not only failed to stem xenophobia but, in the end, presided over the most virulent neoliberal macroeconomic policies that spearheaded the eurozone’s so-called bailouts thus, unwittingly, causing the return of Nazis to the streets of Athens. Even though I resigned as Papandreou’s adviser early in 2006, and turned into his government’s staunchest critic during his mishandling of the post-2009 Greek implosion, my public interventions in the debate on Greece and Europe have carried no whiff of Marxism.

Given all this, you may be puzzled to hear me call myself a Marxist. But, in truth, Karl Marx was responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day. This is not something that I often volunteer to talk about in “polite society” because the very mention of the M-word switches audiences off. But I never deny it either. After a few years of addressing audiences with whom I do not share an ideology, a need has crept up on me to talk about Marx’s imprint on my thinking. To explain why, while an unapologetic Marxist, I think it is important to resist him passionately in a variety of ways. To be, in other words, erratic in one’s Marxism.

If my whole academic career largely ignored Marx, and my current policy recommendations are impossible to describe as Marxist, why bring up my Marxism now? The answer is simple: Even my non-Marxist economics was guided by a mindset influenced by Marx.

A radical social theorist can challenge the economic mainstream in two different ways, I always thought. One way is by means of immanent criticism. To accept the mainstream’s axioms and then expose its internal contradictions. To say: “I shall not contest your assumptions but here is why your own conclusions do not logically flow on from them.” This was, indeed, Marx’s method of undermining British political economics. He accepted every axiom by Adam Smith and David Ricardo in order to demonstrate that, in the context of their assumptions, capitalism was a contradictory system. The second avenue that a radical theorist can pursue is, of course, the construction of alternative theories to those of the establishment, hoping that they will be taken seriously.

My view on this dilemma has always been that the powers that be are never perturbed by theories that embark from assumptions different to their own. The only thing that can destabilise and genuinely challenge mainstream, neoclassical economists is the demonstration of the internal inconsistency of their own models. It was for this reason that, from the very beginning, I chose to delve into the guts of neoclassical theory and to spend next to no energy trying to develop alternative, Marxist models of capitalism. My reasons, I submit, were quite Marxist.

When called upon to comment on the world we live in, I had no alternative but to fall back on Marxist tradition
When called upon to comment on the world we live in, I had no alternative but to fall back on the Marxist tradition which had shaped my thinking ever since my metallurgist father impressed upon me, when I was still a child, the effect of technological innovation on the historical process. How, for instance, the passage from the bronze age to the iron age sped up history; how the discovery of steel greatly accelerated historical time; and how silicon-based IT technologies are fast-tracking socioeconomic and historical discontinuities.

My first encounter with Marx’s writings came very early in life, as a result of the strange times I grew up in, with Greece exiting the nightmare of the neofascist dictatorship of 1967-74. What caught my eye was Marx’s mesmerising gift for writing a dramatic script for human history, indeed for human damnation, that was also laced with the possibility of salvation and authentic spirituality.

Marx created a narrative populated by workers, capitalists, officials and scientists who were history’s dramatis personae. They struggled to harness reason and science in the context of empowering humanity while, contrary to their intentions, unleashing demonic forces that usurped and subverted their own freedom and humanity.

This dialectical perspective, where everything is pregnant with its opposite, and the eager eye with which Marx discerned the potential for change in what seemed to be the most unchanging of social structures, helped me to grasp the great contradictions of the capitalist era. It dissolved the paradox of an age that generated the most remarkable wealth and, in the same breath, the most conspicuous poverty. Today, turning to the European crisis, the crisis in the United States and the long-term stagnation of Japanese capitalism, most commentators fail to appreciate the dialectical process under their nose. They recognise the mountain of debts and banking losses but neglect the opposite side of the same coin: the mountain of idle savings that are “frozen” by fear and thus fail to convert into productive investments. A Marxist alertness to binary oppositions might have opened their eyes.

A major reason why established opinion fails to come to terms with contemporary reality is that it never understood the dialectically tense “joint production” of debts and surpluses, of growth and unemployment, of wealth and poverty, indeed of good and evil. Marx’s script alerted us these binary oppositions as the sources of history’s cunning.

From my first steps of thinking like an economist, to this very day, it occurred to me that Marx had made a discovery that must remain at the heart of any useful analysis of capitalism. It was the discovery of another binary opposition deep within human labour. Between labour’s two quite different natures: i) labour as a value-creating activity that can never be quantified in advance (and is therefore impossible to commodify), and ii) labour as a quantity (eg, numbers of hours worked) that is for sale and comes at a price. That is what distinguishes labour from other productive inputs such as electricity: its twin, contradictory, nature. A differentiation-cum-contradiction that political economics neglected to make before Marx came along and that mainstream economics is steadfastly refusing to acknowledge today.

Both electricity and labour can be thought of as commodities. Indeed, both employers and workers struggle to commodify labour. Employers use all their ingenuity, and that of their HR management minions, to quantify, measure and homogenise labour. Meanwhile, prospective employees go through the wringer in an anxious attempt to commodify their labour power, to write and rewrite their CVs in order to portray themselves as purveyors of quantifiable labour units. And there’s the rub. If workers and employers ever succeed in commodifying labour fully, capitalism will perish. This is an insight without which capitalism’s tendency to generate crises can never be fully grasped and, also, an insight that no one has access to without some exposure to Marx’s thought.

Read more.

anonymous asked:

Hi, i am thinking of doing economics, do you have any post or blog that i can read so i can understand better of this faculty? (Sorry if there is any grammar mistake, english is my second language, and i am asking help because was really hard of finding something that i would kind of like to do for the rest of my life)!

Hello! I’ve never studied economics so I don’t know much about it. But, this website might help you. There’s also an economics section of the studyblr community who can help you.

I wish tumblr actually cared about Greece right now. Everyone’s happy to reblog posts of pictures of Santorini and the Greek islands and to read books based of Greek mythology and quote Greek philosophers and live in countries built on the ideas and inventions that GREEKS CREATED but I am yet to see one post about the Greek crisis and it just seems like no one cares what’s going on. People do not have any money, all banks are closed and accounts are frozen. ATMs are only giving 60 euro a day to people and they are soon going to run out of money. Unemployment is at 28% if I’m correct. 272.7% increase in depression. People are committing suicide because of the living standards (around a 35% increase) . There has been electricity and hot water cuts in parts of Greece. Pensioners can’t get their pensions. The Greek PEOPLE are being blamed because apparently they are ‘too lazy’ but no ones blaming anyone else when it’s not the people of Greece’s fault. they’re being bullied and pressured by more powerful countries, the eu and imf to vote yes on the referendum meaning higher taxes and spending cuts putting the people of greece in even more poverty. not to mention that Greece already has a corrupt government to deal with. And no one seems to care that whatever the outcome is with Greece effects other countries such as Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy who are also in a very fragile state. Mind you the EU doesn’t seem to care if Greece goes bankrupt because they won’t give Greece debt relief, they are ruining a country and the lives of people! I have family in Greece right now and my yiayia (grandmother) has informed us that she is currently living off her last 20 euros because she’s on the island Lesvos in a village and can’t access any of her money in her bank accounts. It’s disgusting that people are making jokes of this situation when the people of Greece are suffering as much as they are, and I don’t think they realize what an effect Greece collapsing will have on them and the rest of the world! All I’m asking is for the people of tumblr to open their eyes to a major issue in the world right now because even if it’s not effecting you directly, it’s effecting millions of people. Greece needs help and even if it can get something as little as more recognition and acknowledgment of how bad the problem is, maybe just maybe things can get better. Just keep in mind that this could potentially ruin a country filled with such a beautiful culture, proud outgoing spirited people and an incredibly rich history

The Eurozone Crisis: A Reading List

As we follow developments in the European economy, we pulled together a quick reading list to gain further insight into what has been happening across the EU:

Keep an eye out for updates from our @OUPPolitics and @OUPEconomics Twitter!

Image Credit: “Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and Eurogroup President gives his remarks after the Eurozone Summit, 26 October 2011″ by European Council. CC BY NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr.

Why is nobody talking about what’s going on in Greece right now?? Please educate yourselves, this shit is really important and could have a grave impact on other European countries.

Greece is having an economic crisis right now that is comparable to the US’s Great Depression. They’ve been having economic troubles for years now, and their bailout money ran out on Tuesday. Almost all the banks are completely shut down, and the Greek people are in crisis mode.

There is a vote coming up tomorrow, which will basically decide whether Greece has to pay back more or less of their loans per month than they were before. If they vote “yes”, to pay back more of the loans, other countries will undoubtedly ask for tougher conditions be met with the loan payments, which Greece’s already failing economy will have trouble meeting. If they vote “no”, to pay back less of the loans, this will weaken Greece’s position in the negotiations. There is fear that other countries will be less cooperative with talks, and that eventually this vote will lead to Greece no longer using the euro.
Basically, either way this vote goes, the outcome could be disastrous.

People are very simply tired and exhausted and angry with austerity measures that have devastated Greek society.
—  Costas Panayotakis, author of “Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy.” Watch his interview on Democracy Now! today.
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Greece’s crisis has hit a new low, as fear of a total financial meltdown grew so widespread that Greeks emptied over a third of the country’s ATMs on Saturday in a desperate attempt to pull out as much money as possible before the banks collapse.

The crisis is at a pivotal moment now, but it has been brewing for years. Despite what you may have heard, it’s not happening because the Greek government spent beyond its means and now is suffering the consequences. It’s happening because Europe isn’t sure whether it wants to be one country or many, and has in the meantime adopted policies that have created a humanitarian catastrophe for the Greek people.

The Greek crisis: 9 questions you were too embarrassed to ask

youtube

Here’s What You Need to Know About Greece’s Financial Crisis

Long story short -  you cannot spend yourself into solvency and you cannot have more takers than makers.  This affects you because you have morons who are running for the highest office in the land, like Bernie Sanders, who do not understand this basic economic principle and our country is starting to look a lot like Greece.

The “8888” Uprising refers to a series of protests that took place in Burma during 1988 that culminated on the date 8/8/1988, hence the name. The student protests that evolved into the nationwide uprising were sparked by (Dictator) General Ne Win’s decision that the Burmese government would no longer recognize the newly replaced currency notes, 100, 75, 35 and 25 kyats, leaving only 45 and 90 kyat notes. They were left, it is believed, because 45 and 90 are divisible by nine. General Ne Win was notoriously superstitious and he considered nine a lucky number. This wiped out people’s savings overnight and Burma, already poor and underdeveloped, was given Least Developed Country status by the UN.

business.financialpost.com
Canada is already in a recession, says Bank of America, and the loonie is set to get hammered
Forecast: A recession sets up the Bank of Canada for another rate cut this year and the downturn will knock the loonie to under 77 cents US by the end of the year

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the first bank to call for a Canadian recession this year.

Economist Emanuella Enenajor and her team now say that Canada’s economy will shrink by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter, following a 0.6 per cent contraction in the first. The definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of contraction.

A recession sets up the Bank of Canada for another rate cut this year, said Enenajor, and she expects that the downturn will hammer the Canadian dollar — knocking it down to just under 77 cents U.S. by early 2016, the lowest level in more than a decade.

“The economy has surprised to the downside this year, and appears to have entered a recession in 1H 2015, even after policy easing in January,” she said in a note to clients.

Continue Reading.

There were strong economic reasons for the broad national reach of American slavery. Though Northerners gradually eliminated slavery in their states, Southern slave-grown cotton was the nation’s leading export. It powered textile-manufacturing revolutions in both New England and Europe, and paid for American imports of everything from steel to capital. In addition, the demand for slave labor in southwestern states like Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas drove up slave prices and land values throughout the South. In the 19th century, slave values more than tripled. By 1860, a young “prime field hand” in New Orleans would sell for the equivalent of an expensive car, say a Mercedes-Benz, today. American slaves represented more capital than any other asset in the nation, with the exception of land. In 1860, the value of Southern slaves was about three times the amount invested in manufacturing or railroads nationwide.

shredislove-shredislife asked:

Do you support free or at least drastically reduced college tuition? I'm more Republican alinging, but I'm also living just above the poverty line, so on that particular issue I tend to side with the Democratic thinking.

I don’t support free college tuition and here is why:

  • The average person goes to college for a 4-year degree, usually starting at age 18
    • Since I couldn’t find the amount of US citizens aged 18-22, let’s assume they take advantage of the free college system and go for a 6-year degree instead. 
  • The US census says there are  27,143,454 people in the US aged 18-24. 

Let’s say that we provide a free 6-year degree for all of these people. 

  • The college board reports that a "moderate" college budget  for an in-state public college for the 2014–2015 academic year averaged $23,410.
    • This includes room & board, various fees, tuition cost, and books to name a few. 
    • Does NOT take into account that some majors cost significantly more than others 

Now we need to find out how much it would cost to provide these people with a free 6-year degree

  • We multiply the amount of the education per person by the  27,143,454 people aged 18-24 (to get the total cost of educating all these people for 6 years), and you get the grand total of $ 635,428,258,140 per year
    • Assuming that all these students attend an in-state public college with a moderate budget. 
  • Distribute that cost among all 117,00,000 US taxpayers and it amounts to $5,431 per taxpayer per year. 
  • According to basic math and the current US tax brackets, taxes would be raised between 17.1% (lowest range of the middle class) and 83% (highest range of middle class). 

That’s WAY too much of a tax increase on our middle class, assuming that the students go to in-state public colleges with moderate budgets. Not everyone will go to in-state public colleges, and not all of them will have moderate budgets. 

This statistic doesn’t take into account the following:

  • Private colleges, which are around twice as expensive.
  • Cost of building new colleges and dorms to accommodate the greatly increased amount of students
  • Dropout rates
  • The reality that some kids will just screw around getting an “education” and end up staying in college for WAY longer than four years because, hey, it’s free, so why not?

TL;DR

There’s no real way to do that without drastically raising taxes on everyone else to pay for it. In theory, it would be nice, but in reality, it wouldn’t work because it’s too expensive. However, I would support going through the university systems and eliminating excess costs. I’m sure that there are many things that the university system spends money on that are unnecessary and I’m all for eliminating those inefficiencies. But I am not for spending taxpayer dollars to reduce college education when it’s so expensive to do so.

Chris Christie has only brought back 72 percent of the jobs lost in the recession. He just didn’t understand how to fix the economy. And when it came to crunch time, he became distracted with running for president.
—  Bob Hennely, political analyst and investigative reporter for WBGO, Newark’s NPR station, and a regular contributor to Salon. Watch him discuss Chris Christie’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Democracy Now! today.