Commentary on Political Economy

Monday 8 December 2014

Coming Soon....

 I am dedicating a long study here to "the role of the State in economic theory" that seeks to reconstruct the theoretical origins of the "bourgeois" separation of "public" and "private" - that is, the reduction of what is inevitably the organic division of "social labour" to the "contractualism" of the marketplace society that has become the fallacious locus of "economic science". All friends who are interested are invited to read the first instalment (from Aristotle to Hobbes), with the second on liberalism (Locke and Constant) and its extreme confutation by Hobbes and then Hegel coming next. Essentially. my thesis is that just as there are no "individual labours" but only "social labour", so the State does not emerge (organically or mechanically) from a mythical-hypothetical "civil society" as is envisaged by the liberal creed. Rather, it is the State itself (Weber's centralised use of violence) that channels social resources and utilises "crises" with the aim of preserving the established order - and in the process "trans-forming" it from the institutions of Absolutism to those of "parliamentary liberal democracy".

Of course, this is not to say that the State does this unilaterally: but its trans-formations serve only to perpetuate social antagonism precisely by reducing "social labour" to a contractual morass of "individual labours".It is the impossibility of countering the growing "socialisation" of human needs at the planetary level by means of "contractual" remedies that poses the ultimate barrier to the reproduction of capitalist rule.


  1. The role of the state in economic theory? What about war?

    From my perspective (applying geopolitical constraints on economic systems), the government develops as a tool of warfare.

    Let's suppose a world with no concept of civilization. If I can beat the shit out of you, you're my bitch. Similarly, if I have more guns, more money, more people, better technology, etc. than you, I can choose to control exactly what you do. From my perspective, it seems obvious how the state develops.

    When the liberals term civil society, I think they have a point. It's not that it magically develops (I haven't read enough philosophy or any of that stuff to talk about who said what); it's that it develops to preserve a system whereby we don't have to act like brutes to those in our group.

  2. Even if you have trade, you need to protect your trade routes and supply lines. In a trade network, there are (not surprisingly) network effects on security and transport costs. If you control the entire trade network, your security and transport costs drop through the floor. This gets exacerbated when we add in the construction and development of infrastructure.

    From my perspective, it seems obvious the liberals were right (and the Marxists are completely wrong), but their reasoning may not have been correct.