This study examines the ideational construction of independent central banks, understanding them as ideologically constituted socio-economic variables that are not some form natural progression toward a neoliberal economy. The concept of central bank independence (CBI) receives legitimation through a number of discourses and academic conceptions, combining with particular distributional coalitions and interest groups that form an integrated epistemic community of policy production and governmental regulation. Such an epistemic community does not develop naturally, but is constructed through particular historical understandings of the economy and polity, that promote a general framework favourable for CBI to grow and hegemonically stabilise.
This study looks at the issues surrounding the organisation of home-based workers, and how through new ideational and ideological lenses home-based workers can construct a household political economy that rivals the dominant hegemonic positions of neoliberalism and its discourses of marketisation, privatisation and precariatisation.
The mantra of Brexit has been ‘take back control’. As seen with Nick Clegg’s piece on Brexit voters in Ebbw Vale, Wales a few months ago, such a mantra still holds significant importance. In this ‘dying town’, as it was described, we see the real effects of deindustrialisation and the limitation of employment opportunities that have come from this, as residents feel that their woes are due to the spectre of EU bureaucracy, which is faceless and unaccountable. Taking a wider perspective, I think many of these voters see the move from deindustrialisation to a “wage-subsidy” economy (that is fixated on flexible work, the decoupling of wages from productivity and the use of the welfare state to subsidise low-wages) as blameable upon the developments of globalisation, of which the EU happens to be the most representative case to many of these people. The new Speenhamland system that has been developed removes control from both the worker and the self-employed person, favouring a cartelised economy where employers are subsidised either through tax credits and a multiplicitous welfare system, or through the minimum wage which acts as a technocratic barrier to entry (favouring larger employers who can afford this overhead cost). Continue reading
by Nick Ford
You’ve likely heard of Elon Musk, he’s a huge venture capitalist who helps run companies such as Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity. Being such a huge name in the tech industry and especially Silicon Valley the things he has to say about the future of…well anything, is likely to garner some attention.
Back in November, Musk stated that:
“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” says Musk to CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”
Nominal libertarians regularly invalidate their own claims to support the socio-economic understanding of subjective valuation when they focus simplistically on profit (in the capitalist context) as the main axiomatic goal of economic exchanges, and talk of systems of private property as pure enclaves of individuality. These two systems, which seemingly define modern libertarian thought, are taken to be foundational and static in their conceptual makeup, rather than as constituted systems which involve political and social wrangling. They become conceptually conceived as positively anti-state, which is nonsensical rubbish when looking at the historic developments of these systems. Private property is not just simply protected by the state, but also created through processes of enclosure and the purposeful privatisation of ground rent. That is not to say private property cannot exist in a stateless society, but that it cannot exist outside a social context. Similarly, profit can be something developed through generally consensual means as the product of one’s labours, but its existence as a subjective axiom means it is realisable via the state. Our modern rentier economy is a testament to this inconvenient truth. Continue reading
The effective privatisation of social reproduction and the creation of mechanisms of debt and marketisation have meant that the burden of crises have been placed on those responsible for the reproduction of society: households and the families and women that inhabit them. “The privatisation of the economic crisis” has led to the legitimation of structural adjustment programs, purposeful ‘deregulation’ and the smashing of social commons in favour of marketised systems. The welfare state, engendered as an imperfect form of commons, provided the means toward shared social reproduction between the family and the community, with the costs of childcare and healthcare offset by communalised subsidies. However, neoliberal doctrine has ended such a general system, pushing instead debt-based safety nets that have created a form of privatised Keynesianism, whereby consumer-debt instruments have overtaken communal provision. Continue reading
“Basic income – in both the north and the south – all depends on how we frame it. Will it be cast as a form of charity by the rich? Or will it be cast as a right for all?”. This quote encapsulates both the promise and potential consequences of a basic income. Much has been made of the radical potential that a universal basic income inculcates in our sclerotic neoliberal societies, supposedly able to end the necessity of work and make wages a tool of social policy rather than simply an economic consequence of the labour market. It is easy to see the potential when labour markets are extremely sticky, with low-pay staying low and wages continuing their decoupling from productivity gains. Technological unemployment presents the dystopia of a world where further productivity that is reaped from machines is controlled by a transnational capitalist class of international investors and corporate megaliths, continuing the monopolisation of the economy and entrenching a precarious form of wage labour relation. Continue reading
This essay presents an interesting pathway for radical politics that has both directionality and purposeful action, something rarely seen in modern discursive practice. A plurality of future-oriented technological paradigms of production and consumption is important when thinking of a postcapitalist future, as is the social purpose of technology in its integrable capacities. Berger offers a lot in the way of a direction for postcapitalist political economy and how technology as an innovation of the social can lead us in that direction. (by the blog author)
by Edmund Berger
Libertarians seem to believe that the semantic debate over capitalism is settled by the use of one term, corporatism. The highly complex nature of capital accumulation, based around different structures that involve both competitive and planned dynamics, is made simple by differentiating between corporatism, a bastardised form of crony capitalism where monopoly dominates and the state’s regulatory apparatuses are at their most coercive, and a pure capitalism, “a world of perfect competition among enterprises who are all market price takers (none has the power or size to shape markets), where no advertising enables producers to shape the desires of consumers, where all workers bargain individually for their wages, and so on”. Continue reading
With changes in work and employment patterns in 21st century there has been a precariatisation of work, where employment contracts are de-securitised, low-pay dominates and there is an increasing individuation of work-life, alongside a blurring of work and leisure. Developments like the sharing economy and the move toward a self-employment in-name-only represent a significant economic reorganisation of work. While this precariatisation has certain elements that have become universalisable amongst developed and developing nations, this essay will focus primarily on workforces in the post-industrial West. Continue reading