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The Struggle to Save Social Security

Jacob Morris has effectively exposed the attack on Social Security for what it is, and he has done this within the framework of the existing system. The underlying assumption is that Social Security must be paid for out of an accounting reserve supported by payroll taxes. Based on this premise, generally accepted by liberals and conservatives alike, the financial integrity of the reserve is taken as equivalent to the integrity of Social Security itself. But the real questions are different. Why use an accounting reserve and why apply the test of financial integrity? No such tests are applied to any other part of the federal budget, surely not to the enormous armaments expenditures. Basically, what is at issue here is not a financial but a social problem. | more…

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Discovering Das Kapital

This talk by Issac Deutscher was originally published in Monthly Review on December 1967 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Karl Marx’s Capital. We are making it available here on the occasions of the 150th anniversary of Capital. In the original editors’ note to this article, 50 years ago Leo Huberman and Paul M. Sweezy wrote: “This is the text of a talk given last summer on the BOO’s Third Programme. It is reproduced here by permission. Isaac Deutscher is the author of distinguished biographies of Stalin and Trotsky, and at the time of his death at the age of 60 last August he was working on a biography of Lenin.” —The Editors | more…

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The Commitment of the Intellectual

What is an intellectual? The most obvious answer would seem to be: a person working with his intellect, relying for his livelihood (or if he need not worry about such things, for the gratification of his interests) on his brain rather than on his brawn. Yet simple and straightforward as it is, this definition would be generally considered to be quite inadequate. Fitting everyone who is not engaged in physical labor, it clearly does not jibe with the common understanding of the term “intellectual.”… in the public consciousness there exists a different notion encompassing a certain category of people who constitute a narrower stratum than those “working with their brains.” This is not merely a terminological quibble. The existence of these two different concepts rather reflects an actual social condition, the understanding of which can take us a long way towards a better appreciation of the place and the function of the intellectual in society. | more…

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