Paul Mason: 'the end of capitalism has begun'

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Chilli Sauce
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Apr 21 2016 13:07

I have to say, I've been reading Mason's Guardian blogs, and is he getting increasingly social democratic?

I mean, he argues a "left-wing case" for nuclear weapons, that Sanders can "break" the power of US capitalism, and even offers advice to companies about changing working practices to avoid what he sees as a potential strike wave.

Has that always been there and I just missed it? I seems to remember thinking he was more radical when I was reading his stuff about it kicking off everywhere.

wojtek
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Apr 21 2016 14:54

He's a radical social democrat now:
https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/mickeygate-the-truth-8145cf278b7a#.il406dp2j

doug
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Apr 21 2016 19:20

The other day he was on the BBC talking about revolutionary politics with Peter Taaffe from the Socialist Party (SPEW). Surreal and a bit cringeworthy to be honest.

Mark.
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Apr 21 2016 20:14
Chilli Sauce wrote:

I have to say, I've been reading Mason's Guardian blogs, and is he getting increasingly social democratic?

I mean, he argues a "left-wing case" for nuclear weapons, that Sanders can "break" the power of US capitalism, and even offers advice to companies about changing working practices to avoid what he sees as a potential strike wave.

Has that always been there and I just missed it? I seems to remember thinking he was more radical when I was reading his stuff about it kicking off everywhere.

I was wondering the same. I suppose working for the BBC there were restrictions on what political opinions he could express, and maybe to an extent this left his writing open to interpretation. I think I preferred it that way.

Spikymike
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Apr 22 2016 13:46

Thanks to wojtek for that link and Mason's straightforward admission and Chill's updates but we are treading water with this - see my earlier posts 18 and 23. Mason is not alone in efforts to present a more modern version of left social democracy adequate to recuperating the tender shoots of youthful rebellion in the internet age.

Maclane Horton
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Apr 27 2016 18:54

Paul Mason says technology has produced a new route out of capitalism. Apparently modern technology is going to make production so cheap that the material goods people consume will become available for all. That is all of us will be able to consume or use all the material goods we want and along the way profit taking from capitalism will wither away because it cannot control the new technology.

For what it's worth this sounds like deja vu. It sounds a lot like the situation Caesar found among the Germanic and the more remote Celtic nations of the first century BCE. There they had abundant goods which they shared freely and which required a minimum of effort to produce. Fruit grew on trees, vegetables grew in kitchen gardens, Animals fattened in enclosures or were hunted in woods and plains. Thus food and clothing were provided for. And for shelter, land and materials for housing were freely available.

Mind you, their wants were basic. Probably due to simple ignorance. Indeed some nations refused all contact with Roman traders – even going to the extent of using only their small weak native ponies rather than the new breeds of horses then being developped, much to the detriment of their cavalry.

Also, what's wrong with basic? In my twenties I lived in a house in rural Ireland without electricity or running water. We used rainwater for washing and walked every morning to the spring to collect two buckets of drinking water. Actually, those Celts in the first century had it good. They didn't have 60% of the population overweight, slumped in front of TV sets, brainwashed out of their minds.

But there was no happy ending to that idyllic or barbarous utopia of the first century. Aristocracies were even then on the rise in the Gallic and Germanic lands. First there were leaders and then the leaders required helpers and the helpers became servants and more servants were needed for bigger houses and a grander life style for the leaders, now called nobles. Soon, so many servants were needed that there was no longer an abundance and all the poor had to work longer hours to maintain the life style of the rich, and taskmasters were needed to maintain production.

Frankly I don't see why the same scenario should not be expected to develop in Paul Mason's utopia. If, that is, his proposed utopia were for real, which I don't for the moment accept.

What I do accept is that the word capitalism no longer describes the economic system in which we live. Ownership and power are not the same thing. On paper some people still own a whole lot of things, shares, properties, lands, businesses, copyrights and get a lot of money from them, but they don't control them. Contol is in the power of executives, managers, agents, administrators, senior civil servants, lawyers, accountants. With this power increasingly go obscenely fat salaries – dividends, profits, returns on capital go on falling while executive and higher professional incomes and bonuses keep on rising.

So the power of owners or capitalists is slipping away and contol is being administered by new authorities. However all is not clear sailing. This new authoritarian age is being actively opposed. Their new found wealth is coming under attack both from the envious remnants of the capitalist class and from from the middle classes which spawned the new authorities. Donald Trump in America attacks the gross salaries of top management while hacks in the normally subservient media expose fat cat pay.

My money, though, is on the new authorities. The whining of the capitalists will die away as they themselves die out and the media will be brought to heel by the new establishment. I do wish it weren't so. I wish we had hope. I wish I could say, “Come on lads. Let's start a campaign of fair shares for all. Fair pay for a fair day's work.”

Well, of course I just did say it. And whenever I get the chance in meetings or events I do go around spreading my anti-establishment bile bad-mouthing the obscene incomes of the new plutocrats. Maybe it will do some good.

One elephant in the room that nobody has commented on is the modern unbalanced economy. Historians talk about the unbalanced Victorian economy with 30% of the adult working population in domestic service and only 70% in production or essential services. Happy days. Now it's only 30% in production or essential services. The other 70% of us are in the equivalent of Victorian domestic services. Passing paper it's called. They use lots of job descriptions for it. Marketing, advertising, insurance, accountancy, legal actions, make-work education, elaborate taxation and benefit procedures. But it's still just passing paper. No goods are produced. No essential services are performed.

What will follow the authoritarian age? Authoritarianism bears an eerie resemblance to feudalism. Perhaps historical dialectics are circular. Will the next age be village communes?

wojtek
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Jun 16 2016 10:52

https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/remain-and-renegotiate-how-to-stop-the-brexit-bandwagon-fae8dda7e97e#.1rpgvixa6

Any thoughts?

Spikymike
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Jun 16 2016 11:23

wojtek, This linked item might be better on one of the other EU referendum discussion threads as it has only a thin connection to this one on the 'Paul Mason is a Social Democrat' point. As it stand this looks like a beefed up version of what Corbyn and other nominally pro-EU labour lefties are saying. It's more campaign presentation than substance as these reforms (even if not all bad) are taken together just 'pie in the sky' as far as as being a practical proposition. They certainly don't represent any way of dealing with the underlying causes of the present economic crisis of the system that is global rather than something resolvable within the confines of UK politics.

wojtek
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Jun 16 2016 11:48

Sorry spikymike smile the main eu referendum thread was locked.

Spikymike
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Jan 12 2017 16:54

Haven't seen anything from Paul Mason worth a read recently but this book is still worthy of discussion. I see that Manchester spgb are hosting a discussion of it on the 28th January 2017 which might be an opportunity to have another look at this. For anyone going along I'd recommend the earlier part of this discussion thread and reading the three texts linked in Posts 11, 27 and 28 above.
That spgb meeting is advertised here: www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/event/paul-mason-and-postcapitalism-manchester-2pm

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Jan 13 2017 10:58
Spikymike wrote:
Haven't seen anything from Paul Mason worth a read recently but this book is still worthy of discussion. I see that Manchester spgb are hosting a discussion of it on the 28th January 2017 which might be an opportunity to have another look at this. For anyone going along I'd recommend the earlier part of this discussion thread and reading the three texts linked in Posts 11, 27 and 28 above.
That spgb meeting is advertised here: www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/event/paul-mason-and-postcapitalism-manchester-2pm

I'd recommend RL's article on Paul Mason's Postcapitalism in NLR - https://newleftreview.org/II/100/rob-lucas-the-free-machine

Spikymike
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Apr 10 2017 19:31

Yes the NLR article was very useful. Don't know how I forgot about this much earlier very short comment already in the library: http://libcom.org/library/artificial-scarcity-world-overproduction-escape-isnt Sander ahead of the game again it seems.
And despite it's possibly misleading title the first part of this blog is very relevant to this discussion as well providing some much needed balance to some of the current extremes of interpretation amongst radicals:
http://libcom.org/blog/soldering-report-working-3d-printer-manufacturing-plant-london-24032017

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Rommon
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Apr 11 2017 07:59

Just want to put in my 2 cents.

Capitalism now is really mostly just a system of Capitalists competing over rents, rents paid for by a less and less profitable productive economy and a shrinking monetized demand, working People have less and less disposable Income. Nower days if you want to be profitable you either get into marketing, i.e. renting out attention, or you get into something like property or Finance. Most of the New Technology industries coming out, are really brought into Capitalism through marketing rents, advertisements; I don't see that lasting.

much of what is called the "sharing economy" is again, just a system of rent seeking, only making the working class provide their own Capital.

If Capitalism continues I basically see it going to less and less People fighting over amassing wealth through rent seeking, and a growing portion of the population left either excluded from the economy, or fighting to get the crumbs.

I'm all for these New non-market Projects, I think non-market thinking, and non market relationships are the key to get out of Capitalism ... but I think the big questions need to be addressed, Food, clothing, shelter, Healthcare and so on ... So much of Capitalism nowerdays is based on property, and the growing squeeze on workers to pay more in rents, forcing them to become self-entreprenoirs, i.e. sell themselves to the rent seekers NOT only as workers but ALSO as entreprenoirs or tiny Capitalists,

I don't know the answer, but I am funny supporting of anything that builds communities outside the market.

wojtek
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Nov 1 2018 13:42

https://inews.co.uk/opinion/jeremy-corbyns-ideas-have-become-mainstream-even-george-osborne-is-quoting-marx/amp/
I don't understand what the korea reference is specifically about. I don't think he is promoting the very long hours spent in education and work...

Mike Harman
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Nov 1 2018 13:59

I imagine the Korea reference is directly related to this plan:

Paul Mason wrote:
Is this strategy designed to allow the populations of the developed world to capture more of the growth projected over the next 5-15 years, if necessary at the cost of China, India and Brazil having to find new ways to break out of the middle income trap? Would it, in other words, flatten out and reverse the trends captured in Branko Milanovic’s famous “elephant graph” over the next two decades?

For me the answer is yes. This is a programme to save democracy, democratic institutions and values in the developed world by reversing the 30-year policy of enriching the bottom 60% and the top 1% of the world’s population.

It is a programme to deliver growth and prosperity in Wigan, Newport and Kirkcaldy – if necessary at the price of not delivering them to Shenzhen, Bombay and Dubai.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/kind-capitalism-possible-left-build/

wojtek
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Nov 1 2018 14:18

As long as Corbyn doesn't give state money to pop music and strangle any semblance of a domestic metal scene.