Economics for Non-Sociopaths: An introduction

Economics-59

This is the first post in a new series about economics. Economics is earth-shatteringly important. And yet most people know practically nothing about it. This has had several unfortunate consequences over the years – perhaps most notably, the commanding heights of the modern economy being given over to a lawless cabal of white-collar sociopaths, who are currently in the process of sacrificing what little remains of civilised society in order to make themselves richer and more powerful.

I did 17 years in full time education, including a history degree at what’s supposedly one of the best universities in the world, and came away knowing almost nothing about economics. I emerged, blinking, into the harsh light of adulthood without ever having had a single lesson on the subject, and without a basic understanding of interest, inflation, where money comes from, and a whole host of other colossally important bits and pieces about the way the world works. Continue reading “Economics for Non-Sociopaths: An introduction”

Pretentious Ecological Doomsday Statement

climate change

2015, so far at least, has been a year characterised by me getting repeatedly distracted from banging on about the thing I need to be banging on about, which is the environment.

First there was the general election. And then there was Corbyn’s unexpected but delightful transition from pariah-status fringe parliamentarian to Labour leadership frontrunner. I sunk hours into writing about both.

Now Corbyn’s won, I can already feel myself being sucked in again – instinctively reaching for the keyboard to defend him with every new ludicrous slur or piece of borderline-criminal media impartiality. I’m at risk of becoming the political equivalent of one of those overcompensating macho boyfriends who hospitalises anyone who looks at their girlfriend a bit funny. Continue reading “Pretentious Ecological Doomsday Statement”

Modern Socialism: Marx, Marxism And Doing Things Differently From Now On

artist taxi frankie boyle
Frankie Boyle and the Artist Taxi Driver: Straight-talking luminaries of the New New Left

Marx is overrated, the Bolsheviks killed people and put socialism back decades, and the Marxism most worth with bothering with nowadays isn’t very Marxist at all. Thus concluded our whistle-stop intellectual coach trip through far-left political philosophy, now pulling in at its final destination.

It’s obviously been a very selective and simplified overview. I’ve tried to write it in such a way that people not massively acquainted with the ins and outs of radical philosophy could understand it. Continue reading “Modern Socialism: Marx, Marxism And Doing Things Differently From Now On”

Only Tories Allowed

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Reflecting on the anti-Corbyn media maelstrom of the last few weeks, I think we’ve reached a stage where the only party allowed to win general elections is the Conservative Party.

Now, obviously, when I say ‘allowed’, I don’t mean that I think the assembled lizards of the Illuminati High Council decide which government we get. It’s not quite that rigged. And as Corbyn’s victory has shown, the establishment isn’t as all-powerful as it and we often think.

But I reckon the only political force the corporate-financial elite won’t do everything in its power to squash are the Tories. Because the Tories are the corporate-financial elite. Cameron, Osborne and friends are just its parliamentary wing, in the same way that the colossally influential, criminally impartial news media is its public mouthpiece. Continue reading “Only Tories Allowed”

Marxism After Marx II: (Finally) The Good Bit

Gramsci
Gramsci

Marxism was originally billed as some grand, infallible, all-encompassing theory of everything – which it then went on to spectacularly fail to be. Unstoppable social and economic trends were supposed to spell the inevitable destruction of capitalism and guarantee that socialism would spring out of its ashes. As it turns out, just because a clever man with a beard says something is going to happen doesn’t mean it will.

Classical Marxism has been roundly trounced by history. Marx’s predictions haven’t come to pass. Messy reality just hasn’t unfurled in the neat, systematic manner he anticipated. And as a result, in the decades since, the best Marxism has abandoned attempts at cast-iron predictions and rigid socioeconomic frameworks, and instead concerned itself with pragmatically addressing two big questions: if capitalism is so abundantly awful – anarchic, crisis-prone, horrifically exploitative to an extent that limits and ruins billions of lives (which it is) – then 1) why do people not rise up and get rid of it? And 2) how can we bring about a situation where they do rise up and get rid of it? Continue reading “Marxism After Marx II: (Finally) The Good Bit”