Profit Hotel (dirty gossip about the capitalist mode of production!)

November 4, 2013
Burj-Khalifa

Power cannot speak truth anyhow Taking the moral high ground is so-o-o easy! Politicians, leaders, governments — they know all the tricks. Kaiser Wilhelm first taught the capitalist class the value of making “national defense” a synonym for “foreign conquest.” When a Johnny-come-lately like Vladimir Putin comes along and whines about the danger of war in Syria, he is following a well-beaten track: Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the...
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WHOSE Right to Life?

September 30, 2013
WHOSE Right to Life?

On June 25th Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D) filibustered an anti-abortion bill that has the intended consequence of shutting down as many Planned Parenthood women’s health clinics as possible. In addition to restricting the used of the RU-486 abortion drug and banning abortion after the twentieth week of pregnancy, the proposed anti-abortion bill — SB5 — will require abortion facilities to meet ambulatory surgical-centre standards in addition to requiring the doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges — an almost impossible burden to meet in Texas with public and even most private hospitals.  In 2011 the Republican legislature under Governor Rick Perry’s leadership cut State funding for Planned Parenthood which led to shutting down fifty-six health centres...
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Who are ‘the poor’?

September 11, 2013
Who are ‘the poor’?

Socialists are reluctant to talk about ‘the poor’ as a distinct social group. In a certain real sense, all of those excluded from ownership and control of the means of life – the large majority who make up the working class – are poor. All the same, there are degrees of poverty. Being homeless or trapped in a rat-infested tenement is very different from living in a comfortable house (however heavily mortgaged) in a clean suburb. My focus here is on the people conventionally regarded as poor in the United States. Socialists might prefer to call them ‘the extremely poor’. The US government defines a ‘federal poverty line’ (FPL) – currently an annual income of $19,530 for a family...
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Are workers better off today than they were in 1900?

July 12, 2013
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Rick: Can anyone argue with a straight face that workers today are no better off than workers at the beginning of the twentieth century? Does anyone really think that the reforms that have been acheved since that time have had no positive effect? We have weekends, overtime pay, child labor laws, environmental regulations, and a host of other ‘reforms’ that have improved life for workers. Sure, socialism would be best, but in the meantime I would say that those things are decent steps in the right direction. Karla: It is very easy for me to keep a straight face and argue that workers were better off before the family farm disappeared, before there were holes in the ozone layer...
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Profit Hotel (dirty gossip about the capitalist mode of production)

June 20, 2013
att

J. EDGAR, I HARDLY KNEW YA You will never hear an economist argue that increases in productivity are bad. But where do you think the government ever got all that nifty surveillance technology from? From the surveillance industry, of course. If you’re wondering why there was no surveillance industry in 1917 (Pinkertons, yes! police spies, yes!), it’s because the capitalist class then didn’t have all the lovely surplus value floating around looking for investment opportunities that it does now. All the wages employers figured those overpaid workers didn’t need have gotten funneled increasingly into first building a National Security State and then developing an elaborate Riot Control Establishment to enforce it. Why did “international terrorism” waste no time in...
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Big Pharma: pushing harmful drugs

June 12, 2013
Dev_Pharma

Last year I wrote about the rebellious teenagers ‘diagnosed’ with the newly invented Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and the highly profitable industry that has grown up to ‘treat’ – that is, abuse – them (MW, January 2012). The American Psychiatric Association has included ODD in the latest edition of its authoritative handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), together with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, for people who get angry too often, and Hoarding Disorder, for people who don’t like to throw things away. The biomedical model In early May the Division of Clinical Psychology of the British Psychological Society called for a halt in the process of defining all sorts of deviant or inconvenient behaviors as...
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Book Review. The Alternative to Capitalism

May 26, 2013
AltCap

Adam Buick and John Crump, The Alternative to Capitalism (Theory and Practice, 2013) This short paperback is a concise introduction to basic Marxian concepts concerning the current system of society – world capitalism – and the alternative to it – world socialism. The texts are carefully written to be fully accessible to readers with no previous knowledge of Marx’s ideas. Apart from the preface, the book consists of three chapters reproduced from two other books that were published in the 1980s and are now unfortunately out of print.* Although there is a note of this fact on the page just after the title page, under copyright and ISBN, it is not mentioned anywhere else, and this may confuse the...
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What we are up against

May 20, 2013

The most vicious enemies of the working class in the United States are bourgeois pseudo-democracy and the combined power of congress and the courts. Just prior to each election cycle a hidden primary is held by the corporate elite behind the voters’ backs. It is through this informal primary that the funders of the election campaigns determine which potential candidate to fund and in effect purchase. Unless the potential candidate is a self funding millionaire or billionaire (who represents corporate interests ipso facto), the one selected through the hidden primary becomes bought property. Many times, especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court case legalizing anonymous corporate campaign contributions to political campaigns (in the US), corporate titans hedge their bets and...
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PROFIT HOTEL
 (dirty gossip about the capitalist mode of production!)

April 24, 2013
Donald_Trump

The dismal art? After the socialist revolution, will economics be demoted to an art form? Is economics even “soft science”? There is one small problem … A recent article in Science News notes: Annual forecasts of currency values from December 2001 to December 2010, which guided banks’ investment decisions, missed the mark nine out of 10 times, says psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Banks incorrectly foretold the fates of the dollar and the euro in the years leading up to, during and after the recent financial crisis. Politics must now cede place to economics as the only phase of capitalism where everything is completely...
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North Korea: Is the Crisis Real?

April 13, 2013
473px-North_Korea_Flags

It is hard to tell what is real in the ongoing Korean ‘crisis’ and what is contrived. Up to a point – after all, it is in no one’s interest to frighten the markets too badly – it suits both sides to foster a sense of crisis. For Kim Jong-un and his generals a crisis atmosphere is a way to exert pressure for full admission to the nuclear club. For the American rulers and their allies it is also a way to exert pressure – and push North Korea firmly out of the club. Of course, a good external scare always comes in handy on the domestic front, especially at times when mass misery might otherwise fuel rebellion. It...
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