When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger celebrated his Papal inaugural mass in 2005 it’s reasonable to assume he didn’t expect in the course of his reign to be facing charges in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. If the Center for Constitutional Rights prevails, that is precisely what awaits him.
That capitalism is not a rewarding or healthy system for the vast majority of workers may not come as news to most of us, but as Perelman points out in this interesting book, such understanding has never been part of mainstream economics. Following Adam Smith, capitalist economics has concentrated on transactions – the operation of the market – to the exclusion of production, and therefore of the conditions under which production happens. The result, Perelman argues, is not just appalling conditions for workers but, in capitalist terms an even worse consequence, the diminution of profits.
John Bellamy Foster will deliver the keynote speech, “Capitalist Crises, Ecology, and Socialism,” at the World at a Crossroads: Climate Change, Social Change conference in Carlton South, Australia, on September 30th. He will be joined by Ian Angus and many others; the conference is organized by Green Left Weekly, Resistance, and the Socialist Alliance. Register today!
John Marsh discusses his new book, Class Dismissed: Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way Out of Inequality. Marsh’s study asks some uncomfortable questions about the limits of education as a tool for eliminating inequality and poverty in the United States. On the show, he discusses how over the course of American history, but especially since World War II, education has became increasingly viewed as the central method for reducing poverty and inequality. Meanwhile, other remedies, including redistribution through higher wages or social programs, have been pushed to the margins of political thought.
Noted world-systems theorist Samir Amin provides a deep perspective on the last ten years—from 9.11 to the Arab Spring—by tracing the historical trajectory of world capitalism and posing the question: are we ending the crisis of capitalism or ending capitalism in crisis? Recorded live in Cairo and first broadcast at the Brecht Forum in New York City on September 11, 2011. Moderated by Biju Mathew.
Join the authors of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism at the Brecht Forum in New York City, 6 PM, October 22, 2011.
On Tuesday, June 14, the Guardian of London published “Left and Libertarian Right Cohabit in the Weird World of the Genocide Belittlers.” In this nearly 1,100-word commentary, the British writer George Monbiot attacked the two of us (among others) as “genocide deniers” and “revisionists” for our writings on the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Monbiot also went on to assail Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, and the U.K.-based Media Lens group for their association with individuals as depraved as we are.
In the last few decades, there has been a renewed interest in exploring issues of ecology and sustainability from a Marxist perspective. Partially inspired by the ecological movement more widely, partially by the revival of Marxist economic theory since the 1980s, the topic of ‘Marx and ecology’ has been given wide attention in a range of publications in recent years. All three of the authors of the present book have earned their stripes in this field of research, and in particular John Bellamy Foster has been influential in putting ecological questions on the agenda of socialist politics, a tradition that had hitherto often been hostile to the claims of (middle class) ‘green’ campaigners.
In general, college professors are not particularly well-regarded as political analysts (the noun “academic” is a term of unvarnished contempt in precincts like FOX news). But there is a special circle of irrelevance reserved for English professors, who are not typically known for their quantitative acumen — or, for that matter, their ability to write in a language the rest of us understand. So it was with some trepidation that I picked up this book by John Marsh, who teaches at the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana. Amazingly, I encountered a work of deft econometrics. Even more amazing, it’s clear, lively, and realistic.
There are more factors than climate change that threaten our existence on Earth. Scientists warn that it is only one of nine “planetary life-support systems” vital for human survival. The other boundaries are: global freshwater use, chemical pollution, ocean acidification, land use change, loss of biodiversity and the increasing extinction rate, ozone and aerosol levels in the atmosphere, and the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles that regulate soil fertility.
Drawing on long-term participant observations as well as in-depth research, author and journalist Steve Brouwer tells the story of the innovative and inspirational health care programs pioneered in Cuba and being adapted to the needs of Venezuela today.
What is a commodity? On the face of it, simply an object. Marx pointed out however that it is really ‘a very queer thing indeed, full of metaphysical subtleties and theological whimsies’. A commodity like rubber on the one hand contains all sorts of useful, non-reducible physical properties, and on the other, within a capitalist economy, is just the equivalent of a given quantity of money; it contains an abstract exchange value of a definite amount. Moreover, the individual commodity contains within itself all the natural and social processes which brought it into being as a discrete product, from the growth, in this case, of the rubber-producing tree, to its harvesting, transport and manufacture into commercial rubber.
Undoubtedly, Stephen Jay Gould is one of the great thinkers of the Twentieth Century. Gould was a leading figure in the fields of evolutionary biology and paleontology, and made important theoretical and empirical contributions to those fields over his accomplished career. The Science and Humanism of Stephen Jay Gould, by sociologists Richard York and Brett Clark, broadly examines the philosophical underpinnings of Gould’s work, and its application for understanding the interweaving relations among and between natural and social systems. This book provides a concise, yet remarkably thorough, survey of key aspects of Gould’s powerful worldview and philosophy, applying a rich overarching analysis of a scientific perspective that reveals numerous insights into the complexity of nature and, compellingly, society.
Listen to the author of The Devil’s Milk discuss the social history of rubber on This Way Up with Simon Morton.
Ecological degradation is the elephant in the room for many people; they are aware of its presence yet would prefer to ignore it rather than be forced to consider both its severity and possible remedies. This practiced ignorance occurs despite numerous problems, such as global climate change, species extinction, deforestation, overfishing, and dramatic disasters such as the recent oil “spill” from offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the radiation releases from nuclear power plants in post-tsunami Japan. This elephant is enormous, destructive, and cannot be imagined away. John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York have been taking on the elephant for years.