Commentary on Political Economy

Monday 26 September 2011

Our Aim Re-stated on the 10,000th Visit!

As this blog nears the 10,000 visits (in just three months!), it may be well to review what our aims are here. We want to change the world. But how? Well, first of all by understanding how and why it is what it is. An article in the NYT just two days ago covering the "indignados" demonstration in Wall Street claimed that its participants did not understand what they were protesting against. We beg to differ: indeed we wonder whether the NYT writers and editors knew what our indignado friends were protesting against!

In reality, we all know intuitively, "viscerally", what is wrong with this world - and a lot of it is under the heading of "capitalism"! So the aim of this site is to understand how capitalism functions and why. To do that, we are not going to go into very "technical", we could call them "econometric" details because those "econometric measurements" are part of the problem in that they "assume" what they mean "to explain"!

The trick that orthodox bourgeois economists perform is simple enough (just look at Paul Krugman for a well-intentioned if insidious illustration): we take "reality" for what the immediate perceived "manifestations" or "phenomena" of the world are - "prices", "markets", "competition", "corporations", entrepreneurs", "profits", "wages", "democratic liberal institutions", "money". Then, from these simple "perceived facts" we move on "to measure" their inter-relation - that is, whether there are "observable regularities and predictabilities" between these "observable facts". Finally, we draw some "causal links" between them! Voila'. C'est tout. The trick is performed! There is nothing left to explain!

What this means is that if we are born in a world with slavery, then we proceed to measure slave labour and institutions as if they were eternal aspects of "human nature" - without questioning why there is slavery in the first place! If you look at how bourgeois "pigs" examine the present "crisis" you will see this pattern of behaviour - capitalism as "human nature" - in full abominable display. That is why on this site we pay a lot of attention to the more "philosophical" aspects of capitalism that help us understand why it works in a certain way, so that we may understand better "how" it actually works and "what we can do about it"!

To paraphrase and re-phrase Karl Marx's Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach, "the aim of philosophy was always to excuse the world; the point now is to change it". Cheers to all.

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