Archiv der Kategorie 'Interviews'

Interview with Jason Moore

Interview mit dem hier bereits erwähnten J. Moore:

I.
II.
III.

Auszug:

Sie betonen, wie wichtig niedrige Nahrungsmittelpreise für das Funktionieren des kapitalistischen Weltsystems sind. Gilt das auch für die neoliberale Phase seit den frühen 1970er Jahren?

Jason Moore: Der Kapitalismus beruhte bis in die 1980er, 1990er Jahre hinein auf einer Abfolge landwirtschaftlicher Revolutionen. Durch große Produktivitätssprünge in der Nahrungsmittelproduktion war es möglich, bestimmten entscheidenden Schichten der Arbeiterklasse im Zentrum des Weltsystems billige Lebensmittel zu verschaffen. Das wiederum ist entscheidend, damit die Löhne niedrig bleiben können. Der Kapitalismus war in diesem Sinne immer ein „System billiger Nahrung“, auch wenn viele Menschen auf dem Planeten von diesem System ausgeschlossen waren. Aber in gewisser Hinsicht „funktionierte“ das Weltsystem , insofern als es in den industriellen Zentren keine Hungersnöte oder Subsistenzkrisen gab. Die Kehrseite davon waren natürlich schreckliche Hungersnöte an den Rändern des Weltsystems, etwa in Südasien im späten 19. Jahrhundert, als Großbritannien Nahrungsmittel aus Indien importierte, während dort mehr als zehn Millionen Menschen verhungerten.
Die historische Phase ab 1973 war anders. Nahrung war zwar so billig wie nie zuvor – aber ohne dass die Produktivität der Landwirtschaft wuchs! Lebensmittel wurden verbilligt – nicht durch eine Revolutionierung der Landwirtschaft, sondern indem Nahrung aus dem globalen Süden in die Zentren umverteilt wurde und die Einkünfte der Bauern herunter gedrückt wurden. Handelsschranken wurden abgeschafft, durch die fortschreitende Liberalisierung entstand sozusagen eine globale Farm.
Überall auf der Welt wurden landwirtschaftliche Produzenten in eine Art Tretmühle eipannt. Durch die Schuldenkrise und mit politischem Druck wurden sie gezwungen, bei fallenden Preisen immer mehr zu produzieren. Beispielsweise stieg unter dem Schuldenregime der Strukturanpassungsprogramme in den 1980er und 1990er Jahre der Export von Agrarprodukten aus südlichen Afrika kontinuierlich weiter an, während die Einnahmen, gemessen in US-Dollar, gleich blieben oder sogar fielen!

(mehr…)

Paul Mattick (Jr.) in ‚Brooklyn Rail‘

In der aktuellen Brooklyn Rail-Ausgabe ist ein Interview mit P. Mattick zur globalen kapitalistischen Krise etc. erschienen – hier kann man übrigens eine noch immer sehr lesenswerte Artikel-Serie (2008-2009) nachlesen: I., II., III., IV.

Rail: Could you tell us what actually explains the long-term decline in the world economy since the 1970s?

That’s very complicated and contentious. Unfortunately, I believe that economics is a field in which the theories are mostly fake. Economics is more like a religion than a science. I think there is really only one explanation of the long term development of the capitalist system which seems to make sense, and which describes what has actually happened. This is the theory Karl Marx outlined Capital, which was published in the 19th century. This is a strange fact because today, for example in physics, no one would say we still have to read Newton. But the truth is that in the analysis of capitalism we have not advanced very far beyond Marx.
Basically Marx’s idea is that capitalism, like every society, is an organization of the human production process, which means that people work on their natural environment and transform it into forms that they can consume. Human beings are peculiar in that this process is culturally rather than biologically determined. In our culture today, social reproduction is dependent on the fact that access to natural resources is controlled by a small group of people, through the medium of money. Which means that the people who actually control the production process are interested not in production per se, but in an increase in their social control, which we call the making of profits. Goods are only produced if they can be produced in such a way that the owners of the production process—of capital—are able to make a profit. But since the human labor involved in the production process is the only source of the increase in social wealth, and since, under capitalist conditions, the attempt of owners of industry to compete with each other leads to a displacement of labor by machinery, this leads—in a way which is very hard to explain in a few minutes—to a decline in the rate of profitability. Marx thought that the cure for this tendency would be the recurrent phenomena of depressions. In a depression, capital investments are devalued, which allows the labor performed using the existing means of production to count for more. So depressions should lead to periods of prosperity. Roughly that seems to be what has happened in the history of capitalism. There has been a tendency for periods of prosperity to lead to depressions, and periods of depression to lead to renewed prosperity. This process has been going on, more or less, since the beginning of the nineteenth century. We are now in a renewed period of depression, due to the large expansion of capital that took place after the Second World War.
This is an almost meaningless description of an extremely complicated phenomenon, but the truth is there is no simple way to talk about it. It’s a very complex system, and it has to be analyzed in rather abstract terms. But as far as I can see, the history of capitalism as a system has pretty well confirmed Marx’s analysis, even though he made it very close to the beginning of capitalism. And I see no reason therefore to not accept that analysis as the explanation of what’s going on today.

Texte von Giovanni Arrighi

Hier einige Aufsätze/Essays/Studien etc. vom Weltsystem-Theoretiker Giovanni Arrighi (englische Originalversion):

Capitalism and world (dis)order (mit Beverly Silver)

Labor Movements and Capital Migration (auch mit B. Silver)

Hegemony unravelling I
Hegemony unravelling II

Towards a Theory of Capitalist Crisis

Workers of the World at Century’s End

States, markets and capitalism, east and west

Hegemony and antisystemic movements

Interview mit Paul Mattick, Jr.

Ein sehr lesenswertes Interview mit dem Sohn von Paul Mattick (gefunden bei Collective Action Notes)…..

An Interview With Paul Mattick, Jr. in New York, November 17 1991
by Hannu Reime

HR: Your father (l) belonged to the relatively little known tradition of council communism that was born after the First World War. What was, briefly, their analysis of the nature of Bolshevism?

PM: I would say that the basic analysis was that Bolshevism re- presented, as Lenin originally described it in his first writings, a revolutionary variant of social democracy, that is to say, social democracy in what are now called third world conditions, conditions of a very early stage of capitalism or nearly a pre- capitalist situation, in which the left-wing party, the social democratic party, could not even think of practically working to produce a socialist revolution, but had first to fulfill the function which the bourgeoisie was unable to fulfill in a backward country, and produce a capitalist system. So I would say that their fundamental analysis of Bolshevism was that it is the ideology of the development of a form of capitalism in parts of the world in which the slow development such as took place in England between, say, the 15th and the 19th century was no longer possi- ble, making use of an ideology derived from social democracy as a kind of cover for the actual creation of a form of wage labor and a form of capitalist relationships. There were many disagreements within what we could call the council communist or ultra-left position. For instance, some people believed very literally that a country like the Soviet Union should be analyzed as a form directly of capitalism, and that the state planning form was really a fairly superficial difference, that what was essential was the relation between wage labor and capital, and that the capital should be concentrated in the hands of the state rather than dis- persed among private entrepreneurs was a relatively unimportant difference. My father disagreed with that and believed that this represented a novel form of capitalism, that the absence of the dispersion of capital among private entrepreneurs and its concentration in the hands of the state represented a novelty, a new form. (2) I‘m actually very sorry that he’s not alive at the moment, because I think that this question has to be discussed at the present time, whether it wasn‘t a mistake of all the people, members of this ultra-left current, among whom I would include myself, to think of the Bolshevik form, the centralized, state cont- rolled economy, as a new form, which we should think of as coming after capitalism, as representing, say, a logical end point of the tendency to monopolization and centralization of capital, which is a feature of all private property capitalist systems, Instead, it seems to really have been a kind of preparation for capitalist, development, a pre-capitalist form, if you want. But nonetheless, the essential point of the critique was that Bolshevism, which claimed to be acting in the name of the working class, could not have been any such thing since the majority of the Russian population at the time of the Bolshevik revolution wasn‘t a proletarian population, but a peasant population, and that in practice the historical project of the Bolshevik Party was to organize the expropriation of the peasantry and the production of a wage earning proletariat in the Soviet Union, but one which was set against not, as I said, a group of private entrepreneurs, but the state functioning as the repository of the total social capital. (mehr…)

WORLD DISTEMPERS

In der vorletzten Ausgabe der New Left Review hat Eric Hobsbawm ein in zumindest bestimmten Abschnitten lesenswertes Interview gegeben. Da es auf der Seite der NLR kostenpflichtig ist, habe ich etwas recherchiert und es auf der Homepage irgendeiner linken Zeitschrift aus Brasilien ungekürzt und im englischen Original gefunden. Hier der Link.