Mises Without Embarrassment

by Bob Layson

http://www.la-articles.org.uk/mises.htm

When this philosophy student eventually encountered the writings of Ayn Rand, circa 1977, he was immune to her, how should it be put, banalysis of the central problems of philosophy and her Mr Toad like dismissal of ‘those gentlemen up at Oxford’. Indeed, I felt rather embarrassed on her behalf. Rather as one feels when watching someone in a karaoke bar putting on a great show and never hitting a note in the middle. With Mises the experience was quite different. Admittedly, his claims for the ‘apodeictic certainty’ and empirical content of a priori reasoning in economics seemed so much to run full tilt into the arguments of Hume that – even with the aid of Kantian philosophy, neo and otherwise – he seemed certain only to choke on what he had bitten off. Nevertheless, the house that von Mises built struck me as an imposing one with or without its so-called foundations. I even had a suspicion that what Mises regarded as truths synthetic, empiric and a priori would prove more palatable to philosophers and others if taken to be analytic, tautological and, in all practice, indispensable. Continue reading

A Post-Post-Politics

The post-politics of consensus infects the modern world of discourse, even with the recent rises of populism and the increasing inability to see legitimation flowing from a wide variety of peoples caught up in these post-political processes. Post-politics is the regimentation of democracy and the incrementalism of centralisation, constantly moving toward higher degrees of authority while trying to mask the naked political power that lies beneath. It is political violence wrapped in a velvet glove, that talks of the beneficence of taxation and the humanism of the state, anthropomorphising such structures as the innate figures of progress. When one questions the coercive nature of statism, a supporter of post-politics (normally self-identifying with the tribe of centrism) responds with the idea that consent is found through the ballot box. Continue reading

Central Bank’s Ideational Construction

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.

The study is linked here: Central Bank’s Ideational Construction Continue reading

Constructing the Household Economy

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 study is linked here: Constructing the Household Economy Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn is a Victim of Ideology

Since the general election has been called, the turgid slogan of strong and stable has been trotted out by the Conservatives, supposedly contrasting with a ‘coalition of chaos’ represented by Jeremy Corbyn. In this regard, Corbyn is seen as a useless and failed opposition leader. Such a view seems to be widely held by other elements of the political and media classes, as a quick Google search shows. Thus every political proposal in this election, despite their innate popularity, is kept within this narrative of uselessness. Even with internal party disparity, the lack of an electoral infrastructure and a young, inexperienced base, every electoral problem and Labour Party debacle is firmly placed on Corbyn’s shoulders. This seeming uniformity of opinion can cause concern amongst Corbyn’s supporters, posing the question: why is Corbyn consistently portrayed in this manner? Is it a rational perspective, or are there other narratives that belie this view. Continue reading

Kropotkin, Self-Valorization and the Crisis of Marxism

by Harry Cleaver

https://libcom.org/library/kropotkin-self-valorization-crisis-marxism

Kropotkin, Self-valorization And The Crisis Of Marxism Options
Abstract The collapse of the socialist states and the ongoing crisis of Western capitalism -both brought on by pervasive grassroots opposition- demands a reconsideration of the issue of the transcendance of contemporary society by anarchists and Marxists of all stripes. Such a reconsideration should include a reexamination of the thinking of earlier revolutionaries as well as of their experiences within past social upheavals. Continue reading

Privatised Keynesianism and Social Reproduction

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”[1] 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

The Precariatisation of Work

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

The NAP is a Social Construct, and Nothing More

The libertarian conception of the non-aggression principle is lauded as the prize universalist idea. Above all else, and above all other philosophy, is said to sit the foundational NAP, which situates all individuals and collectivities. From it come the critiques of the state, governance and collectivism, and the support of unhindered individualism and natural rights. Continue reading

The Civil Society/State Dichotomy

Gramsci rightly identifies that in the modern political environment, simply recognising actors as either public or private, in the realm of states or markets respectively, is problematic. Unfortunately the crux of international political economy has accepted this modernist doctrine, tacitly deifying the rationalist discourses of action and modernity which underlie such conceptions. For a large bulk of IPE, as well as other social sciences such as economics and political science, this is the held belief. Rationalism guides human action, which inevitably means a continuous desire for capital accumulation, the expansion of capitalist cultural doctrines, and the belief that the individual is entirely the scope of investigation. Continue reading