The Marxian Interpretation Of History

Marx’s interpretation of history constitutes an integral part of Marxian doctrine. It was his intent to peer into the future and to determine what historical fate was in store for the capitalist system. Only by understand­ing the forces that had caused historical events could the forces that would cause future events be envisioned. For this reason Marx sought the ulti­mate or basic causes of historical events.

To seek out the creative forces in history was somewhat more novel and daring in Marx’s day than it is now, when so many historians are vitally interested in studying the causes of historical events. Marx at­tempted to do something neither historians nor economists had done. His­torians had recorded events and economists had explained causes of eco­nomic events in specific historical settings without analyzing the creation of those settings. Lenin has summarized as follows the questions Marx felt had to be answered:

People make their own history; but what determines their motives, that is the motives of people in the mass; what gives rise to the clash of conflicting ideas and endeavors; what is the sum total of all of these clashes among the whole mass of human societies; what are the ob­jective conditions for the production of the material means of life that form the basis of all the historical activity of man; what is the law of the development of these conditions?

If history may be presumed to have a significant economic slant, it might be supposed that the economists would have sought out the laws of historical development, particularly in the field of economic phenom­ena. Marx found this not to be the case. He expressed this deficiency in “The Poverty of Philosophy” when he wrote: “Economists explain how production takes place in the above-mentioned relations, but what they do not explain is how the relations themselves are produced, that is, the his­torical movement which gave them birth.”

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Who Runs the World ? – Network Analysis Reveals ‘Super Entity’ of Global Corporate Control

Top 50 Control-Holders Ranking:

{source: the following is quoted directly from the research paper]

This is the first time a ranking of economic actors by global control is presented. Notice that many actors belong to the financial sector (NACE codes starting with 65,66,67) and many of the names are well-known global players.

The interest of this ranking is not that it exposes unsuspected powerful players. Instead, it shows that many of the top actors belong to the core. This means that they do not carry out their business in isolation but, on the contrary, they are tied together in an extremely entangled web of control. This finding is extremely important since there was no prior economic theory or empirical evidence regarding whether and how top players are connected.

Shareholders are ranked by network control (according to the threshold model, TM). Columns indicate country, NACE industrial sector code, actor’s position in the bow-tie sections, cumulative network control. Notice that NACE codes starting with 65,66, or 67 belong to the financial sector.

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First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

In this short RSA Animate, renowned philosopher Slak investigates the surprising ethical implications of charitable giving.

Corporate Rule of Cyberspace

Part of the global push towards the privatization of the “general intellect” is the recent trend in the organization of cyberspace towards so-called “cloud computing.” Little more than a decade ago, a computer was a big box on one’s desk, and downloading was done with floppy disks and USB sticks. Today, we no longer need such cumbersome individual computers, since cloud computing is Internet-based, i.e., software and information are provided to computers or smartphones on demand, in the guise of web-based tools or applications that users can access and use through browsers as if they were programs installed on their own computer. In this way, we can access information from wherever we are in the world, on any computer, with smartphones literally putting this access into our pocket.

We already participate in cloud computing when we run searches and get millions of results in a fraction of a second — the search process is performed by thousands of connected computers sharing resources in the cloud. Similarly, Google Books makes millions of digitized works available any time, anywhere around the world. Not to mention the new level of socialization opened up by smartphones: today a smartphone will typically include a more powerful processor than that of the standard big box PC of only a couple of years ago. Plus it is connected to the Internet, so that I can not only access multiple programs and immense amounts of data, but also instantly exchange voice messages or video clips, and coordinate collective decisions, etc.

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The Commons

In a just world, the idea of wealth–be it money derived from the work of human hands, the resources and natural splendor of the planet itself–and the knowledge handed down through generations belongs to all of us. But in our decidedly unjust and imperfect world, our collective wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. There is be a better way–the notion of the commons–common land, resources, knowledge–is a common-sense way to share our natural, cultural, intellectual riches.

In this innovative animation, filmmaker Laura Hanna, writer Gavin Browning and video artists/animators Dana Schechter and Molly Schwartz examine the concept of “The Commons” as a means to achieve a society of justice and equality.

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HAYEK & KEYNES Rap is a place to learn about the economic way of thinking through the eyes of creative director John Papola and creative economist Russ Roberts

In Fear the Boom and Bust, John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek, two of the great economists of the 20th century, come back to life to attend an economics conference on the economic crisis. Before the conference begins, and at the insistence of Lord Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and sing about why there’s a “boom and bust” cycle in modern economies and good reason to fear it.

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The Common in Communism

Michael Hardt
The common must be the foundation of any communist hypothesis today. This is true due primarily to two interconnecting and conflicting conditions of the common with respect to capitalist production. First, contemporary capitalist production relies ever more centrally on the production and productivity of the common. And, second, the common, since it must be shared and open to free access, is antithetical to property. In other words, the common and its productivity are destroyed when relations of property (private or public) are imposed on it; and, in turn, the affirmation of the common implies the destruction of property. The dynamics of class struggle today and the project to overcome class society develop on the terrain of the common.

I generally agree with the efforts of Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek to renew the idea of communism and the communist hypothesis. The concept of communism, like that of democracy, has been corrupted so that today in standard usage it has come to mean its opposite, that is, state control of economic and social life. I would like to shift the discussion slightly, however, or recenter it from Badiou’s and Zizek’s focus on the political decision to the critique of political economy and the project for the abolition of property. To realize the communist hypothesis for our times we need to move, so to speak, from Lenin to Marx. Indeed one of the reasons that the communist hypotheses of previous eras are no longer valid is that the composition of capital – as well as the conditions and products of capitalist production – have altered. Most importantly the technical composition of labor has changed. How do people produce both inside and outside the workplace? What do they produce and under what conditions? How is productive cooperation organized? And what are the divisions of labor and power that separate them along gender and racial lines and in the local, regional, and global contexts? In addition to investigating the current composition of labor, we also have to analyze the relations of property under which labor produces. Along with Marx we can say that the critique of political economy is, at its heart, a critique of property. “The theory of the Communists,” Marx and Engels write in the Manifesto, “may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”1

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Deuda externa y tercer mundo – Eric Toussaint

Deuda externa y tercer mundo – Eric Toussaint from AttacTV on Vimeo.

Entrevista realizada por AttacTV a Eric Toussaint, presidente del CADTM-Bélgica (Comité por la Anulación de la Deuda del Tercer Mundo), miembro del Consejo Científico de Attac Francia y miembro del consejo internacional del Foro Social Mundial, hablando de la deuda externa.

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Seminário com Maurizio Lazzarato – UFRGS


Seminário com Maurizio Lazzarato – UFRGS – Trabalho imaterial e subjtevididade

De la connaissance à la croyance, de la critique à la production de subjectivité

Maurizio Lazzarato

Deutsch English Español

Je ne suis pas sûr que le problème politique de notre présent soit celui de l’art de la critique, puisque c’est le concept même de critique qui pose problème.

Foucault à déjà démontré que dans l’œuvre de Kant nous pouvons trouver deux concepts de critique : le premier « qui pose la question des conditions sous lesquelles une connaissance vraie est possible » et le deuxième qui pose la question « Qu’est-ce que c’est notre actualité ? Quel est le champ actuel des expériences possibles »[1]. Le premier pose la question d’une critique théorique des « limites que la connaissance doit renoncer à franchir » et le deuxième pose la question d’une critique pratique des « franchissement possibles » qu’il qualifie ailleurs comme l’art de ne pas se faire gouverner ou de se gouverner soi-même.

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Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in economics


Dr. Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in economics on October 12th, 2009, just four months after speaking at the Frankfurt School on the same topic in which she was awarded the prize.

Renowned political scientist, Dr. Elinor Ostrom, from Indiana University – Bloomington, gave a lecture on Friday June 19th, 2009, outlining her latest research and outcomes regarding the problem of “the commons.”

In the lab, she had simulated conflicts concerning the allocation of the commons and had derived a complex theoretical framework that exploits the various elements (e.g. leadership, trust and reciprocity) of this process.

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