Sunday, July 4, 2010

Food for thought animation

The crises of capitalism, and their inescapable conclusion

Radical but influential anthropologist David Harvey exposes the flaws in our ways of thinking about the financial crisis in this brilliant animated video. Harvey is a Marxist theorist, but don’t let that put you off – this is cogent and entertaining stuff, whether or not you agree with its conclusions.

Posted by novice pete @ 05:33 PM (1686 views)
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18 thoughts on “Food for thought animation

  • Very good. I like that.

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  • I liked it too. But not convinced it shouldn’t read: The crises of the financial industry. Wouldn’t the single most effective and simple control be the elimination of credit?

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  • Interesting video. He almost gets it when he talks about land and property bubbles, but then he skirts around it. Marx talked a lot about capital and labour, but he didn’t talk about land. That was his big omission. Until we look at taxing land properly, the boom and bust cycles will continue.

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  • the number cruncher says:

    Drewster – I agree, it was a very good video – but just lacked the georgist economic slant

    Mrs Number Cruncher and myself went out for dinner last night – she has just finished reading Fred Harrison’s ‘The Silver Bullet’ and she told me she finally got what I have been banging on about all these years about LVT and geogism. She said it was like taking the blue pill in the matrix.

    She now understands the why LVT is essential if we are every to tackle poverty and unfairness in our society. It also means she probably will not divorce me because I have not bought us a house yet. Thanks Fred!

    Marx did talk about the state receiving land rents and not just treating land as capital in some not widely published work, I still have a soft spot in my heart for Marx but my head tells me Henry George was right. I do hope one day people will realise his works are the greatest economics works ever to be published.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgism

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  • TNC,

    I’ve read Harrison’s The Inquest and it’s quite heavy going. Do you recommend The Silver Bullet as a good introduction to the subject? In particular I’m trying to find something for friends / family / etc.

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  • ‘Money Masters’ (utube) for me.

    2. rumble. Governments should issue the money supply according to ‘National’ needs. SIMPLES!

    It is the national debt interest owed to Central banks (mention no names) that is killing your wages through taxation and inflation.
    Yes that interest causes inflation. A vicious circle.

    When they create/print the money they don’t create the interest.

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  • shipbuilder says:

    I can thoroughly recommend ‘The Silver Bullet’ as well – I found it quite readable. It’s Georgism in a more international economic context and very convincing.

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  • Sorry, I have to disagree, the state is the problem, they ironically enable rouge private parties to do more damage, the more they legislate!

    The chief culprits are corporations, which are a Socialist, not a Capitalist, invention, which should never have been allowed to become the permanent amoral undead; they now have so much power that they now tell countries what to do, which is why they keep getting bailed out, and why we have (un)free trade agreements like the WTO etc.!

    Proper Capitalism would fell bad business, not reward it, thus result in far less poverty.

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  • Urbanbear, yeah, the socialists like the little jump: financial system has failed therefore capitalism has failed.

    “potlucks ended”

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Urbanbear, you can say what you like about the state, but its core function, and something that a small efficient state in a low income tax country would do even more than a large inefficient state in a high tax country, is to create higher land rental values (because the economy is doing well and it’s a nice country to live in)

    Now, remember that “land ownership” and “the state” are more or less synonymous – one flows from the other (even in a communist country where all land is nominally state-owned).

    So as long as most land is owned ‘freehold’ by private individuals and those rental values are not taxed (see Drewster above) then the more efficient and less intrusive a state, the larger will be the transfer of wealth from the productive sector (which includes productive workers in public sector, of course, and there are many) to land owners.

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  • letthemfall says:

    A lucid explanation of capitalisms problems – the power and control of finance. We have seen exactly what Marx predicted: lending money as a subsititute for income. Hence the problems we see today. It is not about land per se, but wealth in total. And the solution proposed by the Govt? To squeeze incomes further, transferring more wealth to those who hold financial power.

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  • the number cruncher says:

    drewster at 5

    I personally love Fred’s work – but your best bet is the silver bullet as his most accessible for family and friends. I have met Fred a few times and he is an intellectual colossus, – Soldier on with them – they are worth it.

    You can even read the original work by Henry George

    Also you can google renegade economist and watch all his little videos which are brilliant. I have showed his videos in you-tube HD on our big telly at dinner parties and they have gone down very well. I also share his videos on facebook – and I have got quite a following amongst friends who have had their eyes opened by his videos who would have not wanted to wade through one of his books

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  • the number cruncher says:

    Rumble

    I think you may be confusing capitalism with the free market – they are not the same thing, unfortunately most left wing people confuse the two and accuse the ‘free market’ with the sins of capitalism. (these left wing people are of course just a bit thick and should go away and study economics a bit harder before venting their opinions)

    Adam Smith, David Ricardo, or even Karl Marx did not use the word “capitalism”. Marx wrote extensively of capital and capitalists. The word came into common use only in the early 20th century. Here is the first defination I have come across in the 1902 book Modern Capitalism [1902, Werner Sombart]:

    “an economic organization of exchanges, in which basically two different groups of people, the owners of the means of production … and the workers with no property, cooperate in a rational process of production, joined by the market.”

    Proper socialists love the free market, as it is efficient at allocating resources but hate capitalism, which naturally creates monopoly and rent seekers, as the first thing capitalists do is to try and use their power to distort the fair, cooperative process of exchange of goods in the process of production.

    To me capitalism is a monster whereby the wealthy subvert government and law for their own advantage.
    To me the free market is a mechanism which allocates capital efficiently devoid of such distortions (this is something we probably agree on) and as such should be embraced by socialism as well as libertarians.
    To me the state – no matter how inefficient is our only protection from vested interests and the powerful. (this is the crux of our disagreement)
    To me the only solution is to make the state less corrupt and change it to a LVT based system and stop rich people/corporations getting access to decision making. To your good self you see the state as the mechanism of corruption of the free market and not the capitalists.

    Chicken and egg….

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  • Harvey’s comment that home ownership has been promoted since the 1930s to tacitly reduce labour unrest is perceptive — ‘debt incumbent home owners don’t go on strike,’ as he phrased it.

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  • novice pete says:

    Thank you for your intersting comments all. All I know is that we need change somewhere along the line.
    I tend to agree with LTF & TNC. Sorry I can’t really comment in depth, not well read enough.

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  • shipbuilder says:

    TNC, completely agree with post 13. What grates about socialist-bashing is the ignorance around it, as you say on both sides. To me socialism has no clash with the free market and nothing to do with the control, centralisation and other nonsense that should be labelled statism.
    To me the fundamentals of socialism (after much debate I would consider myself 100% a socialist) are the common ownership of land and the workers owning the means of production – fundamentally linked by the concept of employment – any man who cannot use the resources of the land for food and shelter (as they are owned by someone else) must submit to employment and therefore the exploitation of his labour.
    Where private ownership of land and natural resources exists, labour is exploited and that is the simple basis of capitalism, ironically lauded as the essence of freedom. It is in fact the opposite of a free market in labour. A free labour market would naturally lead to co-operatives and much smaller differences in earnings.
    How socialism should look now, in my opinion, would be co-operatives trading in a free market and LVT with a citizen’s wage the proxy for common ownership, with some essential services still provided by state-owned organisations organised to be free from government control, although even state ownership would be up for debate – I could be convinced otherwise.
    Markets I have no problem with and I share many similar views to libertarians.
    What bugs me is that I will undoubtedly be repeatedly told that, despite me being a socialist, others know better the true nature of socialism.

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  • Cooperation is fine, up to a point, but without the incentive, structure, and ironically the protection, which Capitalism (Trade etc.) provides, the market degrades.
    Socialism inexorably leads to statism, because some are “more equal” than others (see “Animal Farm”).

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  • shipbuilder says:

    urbanbear, I think you missed my points altogether. Can you point out where forced equality is inherent in socialism?
    Can you also point out where freedom is inherent in you having to work for someone else just to eat?
    As for co-operation, it is a natural consequence of a truly free association of labour. The market, any market, provides the structure and incentive, not ‘capitalism’.

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