Thursday, August 2, 2018

André Vltchek — The West has Performed ‘Philosophical Coup’ against the Left

André Vltchek is a "public intellectual." He is a genuine Leftist.

He is criticizing more than narrative control. In his view the elite has also commandeered the culture.

The West has Performed ‘Philosophical Coup’ against the Left
André Vltchek


Bob said...

Accurate enough, but genuine socialist governments no longer exist. It is difficult for self-professed "socialists" to admit that their policies are merely reforms to capitalism. They are not revolutionaries, they are working within the system.

The pop-culture definition of socialism and fascism has been watered down to meaninglessness.

peterc said...

To me, capitalism implies a system in which production is overwhelmingly subjected to Marx's 'law of value' in which production only occurs if expected to be profitable.

On the basis of MMT, I'd say that theoretically there is a spectrum from pure socialism, in which the law of value is overridden completely, to pure capitalism, in which the law of value is permitted to dictate all production.

Even under the gold standard, Bretton Woods or the euro, governments overrode the law of value to a considerable degree. Under fiat currencies, a government can override the law of value to whatever degree it wishes within resource limits, and can do so indefinitely.

The Chinese state overrides the law of value to a much more extensive degree than the US state, but both override it in varying degrees. The North Korean state would appear to override the law of value the most, though it is hard to know exactly what is going on there from western media reports.

I think the author of the linked article makes a good observation in suggesting that the western establishment may wish to paint China as capitalist because otherwise the public might infer that capitalism is floundering relative to socialism.

But I think some on the Marxist left in the west have also wished to characterize China as capitalist to distance themselves and Marxism from the Chinese system, especially in view of its human rights abuses. Similarly, some of the Marxist left distanced themselves from the Soviet Union by labeling it as "state capitalist".

Tom Hickey said...

To me, capitalism implies a system in which production is overwhelmingly subjected to Marx's 'law of value' in which production only occurs if expected to be profitable.

I have posted some links previously on Marx's law of value, but if you didn't read those posts and aren't otherwise up on it, here is a summary: Marx's law of value -Wikipedia

BTW, the details of Marx's stated position are controversial but the basics are pretty clear, as in the first paragraph of the Wiki article.

The sequel to MMT is Interesting. Surely, the MMT economists were aware of it.

The MMT JG anchors the currency to a unit of unskilled labor time, e.g., $/hr. Note that labor power is different from labor time and involves increase productivity owing to knowledge and skill. So the unit would be one time period of unskilled labor as 1 and this would be multiplied by the difference in knowledge and skill on productivity to arrive at different levels of labor power.

I think that Marx got the law of value essentially correct. Value implies a relation between valuing assignment and something valuable.

This relation is similar epistemologically to knower-knowing-known in experience, where the subjective pole of consciousness is linked to the objective pole through the act of knowing.

In valuation, the valuer is linked with the valuable by the process of valuing. Thus, there is a subjective aspect, and objective aspect and a judgment similar to a truth judgment in description.

A key question is whether people do look at value in terms of labor time and labor power? I am convinced that a good case can be made for this that goes beyond economics. It is also linked to the evolutionary trait of reciprocity that determined "fairness."

The scope of this lies far beyond a comment like this, but the issues involved are fundamentally socially, politically and economically.

Warren Mosler has said that there is always some anchor for a currency in relation to real value that grounds nominal value. Under the metals it is the fixed exchange rate, for example. In very ancient times, it was measures of grains.

However, the universally applicable measure is the labor involved in production. For Marx, this was socially embedded labor wrt economic theory. Wrt production this labor is of course real. When being dealt with as socially necessary labor in economic theory it becomes "abstract."

But this abstraction is concretized in actual production and the relations of production (following Hegel's dialectical method). It is not just an abstraction as a free-floating idea arrived at through introspection. Thus, it is the material for science.

I am not going to contend that Marx and Engels got it completely right or that it is obvious how to interpret the text, since that would require entering a debate with very smart people that know a lot more about Marx than I do, and they disagree among themselves over the details.

I am just saying that Marx, like the classical who preceded him, recognized that value was an essential to account for and that his version is sophisticated and nuanced. Much of the criticism that blows it off seems to me to be attacking a straw man.

And I don't buy that real value is nominal value as price determined in markets, for a number of reasons that seem to make this view superficial if not untenable. Moreover, this confusion of actual value with nominal value is one of the foundations of economic rent that enable rent extraction.

jrbarch said...

I might value things in the physical world and arrange this value system hierarchically. The value of a Rolls Royce to past African tribes is that they could beat the metal into spears. Labour time is one aspect of this value; there are others.

I might value things in the emotional world and arrange this value system hierarchically. The value I derive from a piece of music, an art work, literature. It all depends on how deeply the emotion reaches in to me.

I might value things in the mental world and arrange this value system hierarchically. The value I assign to a philosophic work, or a social ideology; quantum physics. It all depends upon how relevant is the thought to my existence.

I might value things in the realm of the heart; but I cannot arrange this hierarchically. How do you arrange love hierarchically? It is the most valuable thing to a human being although we may not realise that, because it puts us in touch with the self. Its value can only be made visible and hierarchical after it has ‘trickled down’ into the realm of the mind, emotions and physical world, and had an effect. It is the only solution, in six thousand years of modern man, we have not tried yet. Generosity!

We try and screw value out of everything in the lower world, when all the time, it is inside of us! Ha!