41 thoughts on “May Day Monday Message Board

  1. I like May Day.

    Anyway, just for those who are interested;

    In addition to the references on more recent Marxism I posted earlier, this link to US Professor Harvey (CUNY) is worth looking at.

    Marx’s Capital

    From a Marxist view, the Austrians generally only observe symptoms and their level of explanation for adverse trends, ultimately does not go deeper.

    All varieties of Keynesian theory do not explain the tendency for general macroeconomic imbalances to increase in the long-run. I do not think many have even admitted this fact. Although some OECD economists have depicted this problem – at page 40-41 (ISBN 0-7102-0600-3). This is the real problem.

    I expect that some part of Marxist crisis theory is overdue for a renaissance. Though much maligned and though loaded up with half-understood (and false) canards, the basics of Marx’s analysis, centred on surplus value, rings true. Properly understood, Marx’s work, if applied in modern circumstances, resolves both the problems of the Austrians (by converting their concerns into anti-capitalism) and fills in the gaps in Keynesian thought (through Marx’s crisis theory).

  2. John, according to the International Energy Agency, the price tag for the worldwide “green revolution” in halving emissions by 2050 is going to be approximately $45 trillion give or take a few cents.

  3. Chris Warren, the International Socialists are big on talking about the declining rate of profit as being one of the essential problems of capitalism. Do you agree? Can you give me a thumbnail sketch of that part of the theory or some handy links?

  4. Michael, in the absence of discounting, and ignoring growth, that’s about 1 year’s global GDP, or about 2 per cent amortised over the entire period, which sounds about right. But I’d need to see the original numbers to get a more exact interpretation.

  5. From their left sectarian position the International Socialists, including one of their splinters “Socialist Alliance”, are active in this area at the activist level. Has anyone looked for declining profits in Australia?

    Rick Kuhn and Tom O’Lincoln contributed a analysis of declining rate of profit in Journal of Australian Political Economy, 25, October 1989, covering associated explanatory issues.

    For high school students there is Jonathan Wolff’s “Why Read Marx Today” (OUP, 2002) p80-81.

    For undergraduates there is “The New Palgrave – Marxian Economics” ed Eatwell, Milgate, and Newman, p27f.

    For graduates and higher Wikipedia is quite good.

    NB The declining rate of profit is subject to so-called ‘countervailing tendencies’ viz: increase debt, population increase, colonialism/imperialism. Our present global crisis is currently at the level of contradictions within these countervailing tendencies.

    Real profound declines in profits are yet to hit.

  6. China’s manufacturing expanded for the first time in nine months after declines in export orders moderated and investment surged because of the government’s 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package.

    The CLSA China Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to a seasonally adjusted 50.1 in April from 44.8 in “March, CLSA Asia- Pacific Markets said today in an e-mailed statement. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion.

    An official manufacturing index released on May 1 also showed growth, adding to signs that China’s economic recovery is gaining pace and global demand is stabilizing. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 3.3 percent higher, extending its increase this year to 41 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 5.5 percent.


    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its estimate last month for China’s economic growth this year to 8.3 percent from 6 percent, citing “determined and persistent” government stimulus measures and a pickup in domestic demand.

    The economy expanded 6.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, lagging behind growth of 9 percent for all of 2008 and 13 percent for 2007. Growth may be 7 percent in the second quarter, the State Information Center said today in a report published in the China Securities Journal. ”


  7. and also the May Day/Labour Day holiday here in Brisbane

    Ahhh … so that’s why we were invaded by Banana Benders over the weekend.

  8. For those in Canberra, this debate should be entertaining:

    Dr Rick Kuhn vs Professor Tim Hatton on The Causes and Implications of Economic Crisis.

    venue and Time

    From memory, I think Hatton taught later year ANU economics courses – ie Samuelson stuff.

    Rick Kuhn is/was associated with International Socialists and was unjustly kicked out of the ALP in Canberra by some rightwing and fake left hacks.

  9. Dscssn plcy – pls rd bfr cmmntng
    1. Ths s frm fr dscssn. pblsh t t my wn xpns nd n my wn tm. t s nt pblc plc. Thr s n tmtc rght t cmmnt hr.”

    bsltly hlrs. Prvt prprty htr, stnds by prvt prprty! Hhh.. nd ‘ll njy rdng whtvr ttmpts t jstfctn, y try t prsnt.

  10. PM – I wasnt speaking to you (and Id prefer to leave it that way thanks). Conza’s comment was rude.

  11. Conza88, IP, consider yourself permanently banned. Yet another Austrian school defender of absolute property rights who has no respect for those of anyone else and gutlessly hides behind a pseudonym. With a Youtube site revealing a Ron Paul fan – what a surprise.

    PML, I’ll let it slide this time, but even an implicit defence of this kind of troll scores negative points.

  12. Hi John,

    You seemed surprised at big pharma corruption so I’m wondering what your thoughs are on intellectual property?

    Thanks again to Alice for the information.

  13. JQ, that was not a defence of that commenter, it was a low key reminder to Alice of how she herself behaves (and not only towards me). “He who comes to equity must come with clean hands”.

  14. PM – it is you who has insulted me twice in the past week without any provocation.

    I dont want or need your comments PM. I dont direct comments to you ever (and I dont need you to act as some sort of referee over my comments).

    If Im making a comment it is to other people and they will reply. Your comment on my posts is neither invited nor wanted. I dont want to speak to you (for the 3rd time) and Id prefer you not run a rude commentary on what I say in any post.

    I couldnt be any clearer.

  15. Pm – if you really want to know how sophisticated Austrians or libertarians debate in this blog go to Johns other post and get rid of your personal attack (chip on shoulder) style.
    You can learn some manners as well.

  16. In the unlikely event anyone is interested, Alice’s continued posting on this blog is a principal reason why I seldom bother to post here anymore.

  17. Twice? Unprovoked? Readers, surely it is hardly unprovoked to remark on it when I see someone who has herself been abusive and insulting (consistently rather than occasionally) presume to pontificate on standards of etiquette, and surely it is not insulting her to point out her actual behaviour.

    Readers, you need merely look at her diatribes directed at this to see what I mean. If you look around you will see other getting the same treatment – it’s not just me, as Ian Gould’s comment shows.

    And, of course, this comment isn’t directed at her, but at other readers who may not yet know this sort of thing is going on.

  18. OK, could everyone please stop the metacommentary, reread the comments policy and cool down.

    Alice, please take note that your tone is upsetting people, and moderate accordingly. PML and IG, if you could contribute by avoiding flamewars, I’d be very grateful.

  19. Will do JQ but I really would appreciate it if PM Lawrence did not address any comments to me at all. He insults me at every opportunity he gets. I dont want to have anything to do with him or his supporters. I dont speak to them. I know who they are and they have similar views and they are taking a political stand. This is not a genuine complaint.

  20. JQ, do you see what I am getting thrown at me here?

    Alice says:-

    – “Will do JQ” and promptly accuses me of various things, mostly false but part of a repeated pattern.

    – “but I really would appreciate it if PM Lawrence did not address any comments to me at all”. And, JQ and other readers, it is for your benefit that I am calling her out on these things.

    – “He insults me at every opportunity he gets”. That is untrue, and she knows it or ought to know it unless she has sonme sort of block. Rather, I pull her up on this sort of thing whenever she does it.

    – “I dont want to have anything to do with him or his supporters. I dont speak to them. I know who they are and they have similar views and they are taking a political stand.” Oh? Who? I do not have supporters, and this is completely made up. Again, she knows it or ought to know it…

    I do, however, have some people with whom I share common interests, like the mutualist Kevin Carson, and some Libertarians have helped me by posting a guest post – but then again, you have done that yourself, JQ.

    – “This is not a genuine complaint”. Rubbish. I do not like the slurs and insults Alice directed at me and my original submission to the Henry Tax Review, nor the fact that when you asked for cooling it she returned to the fray with even more vitriol in another thread. So now, when I see her staking out a position of moral superiority about matters of etiquette, I feel it is very important to point out the inconsistency. Let her confine herself to other things, and there will be no inconsistency to point out – but if I don’t point it out, casual readers will come away with the unchallenged assertions she makes that I have been insulting her. The fact of the matter is, it is no insult to point out that she has done these things to me and to others.

    And yes, I know that this is going on despite being requested not to – but how can I simply leave Alice saying she won’t do these things and in the same breath yet again accusing me of insulting her?

  21. PM and Alice,

    Can you both just shut it for a bit? Honestly your hissy fits are pathetic. Why don’t you not address each other for a week and cool down. Start acting like adults and stop running to ProfQ all the time.

  22. PM – I mean it. If you took offense at my response to your submission to the Henry tax review then I am sorry. To cause offense wasnt intended. I just didnt like your suggestion to extend the retirement age to 70. Im entitled to my opinion on that. Can we move on in eveyone’s interests and in the interests of JQs blog.

  23. I’d endorse that suggestion. You’ve all made useful contributions here, so I’d prefer that you stay, but stay out of each other’s way for a while.

  24. “I just didnt like your suggestion to extend the retirement age to 70. Im entitled to my opinion on that.”

    While I accept the apology, I cannot accept the same pattern as before of repeating a false accusation at the same time as asking for calm. To do that would be, as I pointed out, to let it stand unchallenged.

    Look, I never made that suggestion – ever. Furthermore, I denied it repeatedly, pointing out that I was actually after retirement funded in other ways than through the state-provided age pension before that age (which would only rise to a suggested 70 after other arrangements could cut in), only to receive the same accusations over and over, and a refusal to look at what I offered in support of my position.

    Opinion is one thing, but refusing to go and look for facts to inform that opinion when offered sources, or to accept good faith descriptions of where I am coming from, is quite another. As they say, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts” – and here the facts relate to what I actually recommended. It is a perfectly sound opinion that wanting a retirement age of 70 is a bad thing. It is not an opinion, but a fact, that I never, ever, recommended that.

    So while I accept any apology, I again deny the accusation that is bundled with it. What sort of apology points back to the same behaviour all over again?

  25. heres another interesting one

    An emerging structural feature of the capitalist information economy is thus that value is less based on direct command over a productive process, and more founded on the ability to organize and appropriate an external production process: to tap into the ethical economy and subsume it. This is true for Web 2.0 successes like MySpace or Google who do not primarily found their business models on the valorization of intellectual property, but on the organization of productive networks. Michel Bauwens (2005) calls this form of capital ‘netarchic’ in that it primarily exploits the formation of networks. The same model applies to less obvious cases, like the pharmaceutical company that constructs an online forum for health practitioners in order to siphon off their knowledge and innovations; the market research company that mines the data consumers freely supply in their online movement for marketable patterns; the advertising agency that lives of its ability to read new trends and forms of cool, or even the struggling ‘creative’ that acquires market value by capitalizing on her personality and network in an effort to ‘self-brand’. In this situation, value becomes increasingly based on the ability to translate the products of one, ethical economy to the standards of another, monetary economy.


  26. Oh Pm – OK maybe I misinterpreted your submission. Im only human. If my misinterpretation has offended you then another olive branch is fine by me. Why dont you post the submission again and let others interpret it to get a wider view? Throw it open to other readers comments.

    Im just an old nurse PM. I know your submission moots or hints at a retirement age of 70 (and if you post it again that would be good). It does have qualifiers in it – I know that. It may have choice in it, inn terms of what individuals can do, but even you have to be careful with submissions like that. It may not be your idea that it is enforced or that lack of free choice is part of it, but you have to consider what happens if governments took your suggestions on board. What happens if someone after you…some bureaucrat or economist searching for further efficiencies, decides that those further efficiencies can be gained by enforcing a 70 year age before people can claim their retirement benefits with no choice?. You cant prevent that risk. As an ex nurse I find the idea abhorrent because Ive nursed people in their 40s and 50s that were too old to work. No one knows what is around the corner in life, nor what state one’s health may be in by the age of 70 and even whether one is going to live that long.

    I agree with efficiencies being gained but when it is at the expense of labour being treated as simply a resource, a factor input, a cost equation I consider our economic direction has lost its way. Cut employees a little slack from time to time…give some rope. If a person has worked hard all their life then they are entitled to some period of reitrement where life is less pressured even if that period comes early for some due to illness. I doubt many would disagree with this. That age for some may not come until 80 for others. That is life.

    Pm it is not so much your submission but where it can be taken to by others later. It is one thing to reward the entrepreneurs who hire employees in our society – its is quite another to really look at the missed contribution or greater productivity that labour may be capable of when treated a little kindly.

  27. http://lewrockwell.com/woods/woods113.html

    The above is essentially directed at you too JohnQ.

    Your “attack” on the Austrian business cycle theory (ABCT) was amusing. I suggest you read the rebuttals linked, to EVERY article you linked to. They’ve ALL been refuted.


    P.S Keynes was more of a witch doctor, than an economist. ‘Animal spirits’ hardly qualifies as coherent theory.

  28. 37# Truth. Glad you like him. Per wiki, a witchdoctor is someone who uses traditional healing over contemporary medicine.

    Give me the traditional healing then because the contemporary medicine isnt working.

  29. Alice, you have suggested that I post my retirement income submission again. Rather than tie up space that way, I will just provide that link to it and only put clarifications here.

    It was quite understandable that you should initially suppose that the submission was driving at raising retirement ages; you were not the only one replying on that thread who did so. However, I thought my clarifications should have sorted that out – at any rate, the others seemed satisfied. For instance I tried to clear things up here (and in what that quotes and links to), and here, which includes “Again I tell you, the 70 thing isn’t a work-until thing, it’s when the age pension would kick in and take up the load from private arrangements – private arrangements that become practical with this”.

    The confusion may have come from the jargon that the Henry Tax Review is using. Naturally, I wrote the submission for that audience and used their jargon. Obviously I haven’t cleared it up enough for this blog. They speak of three “pillars” of retirement income:-

    – the age pension pillar, which people can draw on after an entitlement age;

    – the superannuation pillar, which people can draw on after a preservation age (roughly speaking); and

    – the voluntary saving pillar, which people can draw on at any time because it is under their full control (but subject to tax consequences and being in a position to save).

    With all three pillars around, retirement age isn’t the same thing as the age pension entitlement age. What I was after was rearranging the loads carried by each pillar to achieve a better all round result – “better” both in terms of what people get and in terms of how soundly based it all is.

    Alice, you have outlined a current concern: “It may not be your idea that it is enforced or that lack of free choice is part of it, but you have to consider what happens if governments took your suggestions on board. What happens if someone after you – some bureaucrat or economist searching for further efficiencies, decides that those further efficiencies can be gained by enforcing a 70 year age before people can claim their retirement benefits with no choice?”

    The thing is, though, they have already got those ideas; they’ve been circulating among the planners in various countries for at least ten years. Showing that is why I provided a link showing how the IMF is already pressing for it. And you can see the same from the way the current budget is pretty much implementing it right now – clearly it’s been in the works for some time, from earlier than my submission. It’s because I knew it was already on the horizon that I started my recommendations with “For present purposes, I am assuming that there will be an increase in the entitlement age for age pensions”. At least with my recommendation (1.) the blow would be cushioned better than with what the IMF was after – and that’s actually how the budget is doing it, phasing in an entitlement age rise from 65 to 67 between 2017 and 2023. To help further, I gave my other recommendations – but according to Laura Tingle’s article on page B3 of the Australian Financial Review of 13.5.08, the Henry Tax Review is foreshadowing going in the other direction, raising the superannuation preservation age to 67 as well! It’s all aimed at helping the government’s financial position, not the people who the government is supposed to be helping, the reason it is there in the first place. My recommendations are supposed to head that off.

    Anyhow, I was offended not by the original mutual failure to communicate but partly by the repeated insistence that I was after raising the retirement age, more by the claims that I was coming from a particular ideological position I don’t have and the speculative personal descriptions, and most of all by the refusal to go and check except to misquote things, e.g. “You dont want to know what I really think of your views based on your own links and you are dead right – I cant be bothered to find out” and misquoting Kevin Carson’s blog. I read the first failure of communication as quite understandable and something to clear up, the later ones as some kind of barrier to overcome, but that last as showing deliberate and conscious distortion. Once that happened I stopped trying to get the message across and started keeping an eye out for anything else of the same sort. But, Alice, if you are willing to read these clarifications, well, here they are.

  30. PM – well its been done now by Rudd hasnt it and it will of course be raised again.
    Did you see the picture (cartoon on the front page of the telegraph today? Its not at all flattering). I dont know how they are going to eradicate ageism by employers and I dont know how it will help youth unemployment when the unemployment rate is expected to be 8.5% as Ikonoclast notes on another thread.

    I also cannot help wondering PM whether there are vested interests involved in keeping the flow of money going into superannuation, that may not have altruistic motives. Its a tax revenue stream for governments and its a source of commission and profit fees for many financial firms and there is not a thing the original owner can do about it before retirement (it must go somewhere and some is extracted by third parties, and the individual does not have unfettered free choice over how they save – thus it is a government directed redirection – on the matter of savings for retirement I am libertarian – completely). Individuals should choose and you could say I am partially in agreement with some of the Austrians. I feel that the excessive liquidity in the financial system created excessive lending ie “malinvestment” and contributed to the GFC.

    I will read your clarifications PM but not now.. a bit later – Im completely buried under a horrendous pile of marking. Is that our truce PM?

  31. Pm – re that link to the IMF article
    it says (extracted)
    “THE Rudd Government should immediately consider lifting the retirement age and cutting healthcare entitlements to combat rising welfare costs because of the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned.”

    “In a staff paper prepared for the fund’s executive board, the IMF warns of a blowout in Australian pension costs from the collapse of superannuation savings.”

    “The IMF data shows Australian superannuation funds have about 80 per cent of their assets allocated to equities and mutual funds. Most countries have less than 10 per cent of their pension savings invested in shares and mutual funds.”

    “The IMF warning on pension costs is not restricted to Australia but its research shows Australian retirees are the most heavily exposed to the financial crisis of any country.”

    There is something very wrong with this picture PM.

    Why were our retirees and pre retirees in equities and mutual funds so deeply compared to most other countries such that our retirees are the most heavily exposed???

    Is that not the result of exceptionally poor economic policy management of retirement savings streams?

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