Diet Soap Podcast #170: Money without Value?

The guest this week is the podcaster Tom O’Brien. O’Brien grew up in Athboy, Ireland and is now living in London and his From Alpha to Omega podcast was apparently partially inspired by this one. Being a regular listener to his show I’m glad to have had some claim to it. Tom O’Brien and I discuss Kliman’s value theory and the monetary theory of Mathew Forstater.

The next Talkshoe after party will occur this Sunday the 27th at 1pm PST or 4pm EST and I encourage everyone who is listening to participate. If you don’t want to talk you could just listen to the live stream and use the chat function to interject questions.

This week Andrew M made a generous donation and I’ve rebooted the original podomatic page for the podcast. So you can now find Diet Soap at and The podcast is also available via iTunes and I urge you to subscribe there and to consider donating to the podcast if you can.

In this episode O’Brien and I focus on a fairly narrow point about value and money, but I believe it is a question that has fairly far reaching implications. If one believes, as Forstater does, that the current economic crisis could be mitigated or even solved if we were to allow ourselves to live with ballooning deficits then a political project to unshackled the wallet of Washington, one demanding more social spending and job creation, would be adequate. If, on the other hand, you believe that the realm of production has to be changed if we’re to avoid recessions and depressions and that there are limits on what government intervention can accomplish then something more radical, even unthinkable, is required.

The music you’re listening to right now is a George Antheil’s Jazz Symphony, but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Tom O’Brien and I discuss money and value.


Diet Soap Podcast #169: A Time for Post-Marxism?

The guest this week is the author and professor McKenzie Wark. Wark is the author of the books the Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, Virtual Geography: Living With Global Media Events, and most recently The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International. This is McKenzie Wark’s second visit to the Diet Soap podcast and this time we discuss the late great Karl Marx and how one should properly worship him…I mean understand his work.

The next Talkshoe after party will occur on Sunday the 27th at noon PST or 3pm EST and I encourage everyone who is listening to participate. On the 13th we had Brendan Cooney participate and in the future I will try to get podcast guests involved with the Talkshoe conversation whenever possible. I also want to thank Caytlin G and Michael P for donating to the podcast and encourage everyone who likes the podcast to donate or become a monthly subscriber. I’ll be reinstating the Podomatic page soon, probably in February, and donations help to speed the reappearance of the Podomatic page along.

I should also point out that I recently discovered that the Marxist Humanist Initiative has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 entitled the “Impasse in Movements for Social Change and the Need for the ‘Organization of Thought’.” I mention the meeting because the MHI has suggested that participants listen to episode 165 of Diet Soap as preparation for the teleconference. Number 165 was the episode wherein C Derick Varn and I discussed Adorno’s essay “Resignation.” I’m quite pleased to have influenced people to think about the questions posed on Diet Soap.

Diet Soap Rerun: Capitalism’s System Failure

The guest was Marxist economist Andrew Kliman. Kliman is a professor at Pace University, the author of two books: Reclaiming Marx and The Failure of Capitalist Production, and he was a returning guest to the podcast.

Here’s a description of Kliman’s book “The Failure of Capitalist Production.”
The reasons behind the global financial crisis and the Great Recession are the subject of much debate. This is the first book to conclude, on the basis of in-depth analyses of official U.S. data, that Marx’s crisis theory can explain these events.

Marx believed that the rate of profit has a tendency to fall, leading to economic crises and recessions. Many economists, Marxists among them, have dismissed this theory out of hand, but Andrew Kliman’s careful data analysis shows that the rate of profit did indeed decline after the post-World War II boom. He shows that free-market policies have failed to reverse that decline. This fall in profitability led to sluggish investment and economic growth, mounting debt problems, desperate attempts of governments to fight these problems by piling up even more debt – ultimately ending in the Great Recession.

Kliman’s conclusion is simple but shocking: short of socialist transformation, the only way to escape the ‘new normal’ of a stagnant, crisis-prone economy is to restore profitability through full-scale destruction of the value of existing capital assets, something not seen since the Depression of the 1930s.

Diet Soap Podcast #158: Are Abstractions Necessary?

The guest this week is the youtube star and Marxist Brendan Cooney and we discuss Marx and Hegel. This is the second half of our conversation, slightly edited. You can find more from Cooney on his Kapitalism101 blog.

I am still planning on canceling the Podomatic feed for Diet Soap and moving the podcast to If you subscribe to podcast through podomatic you’ll need to change over to the new feed by the end of the month, that means that this podcast will be the last podcast on the podomatic website and next week you’ll find instructions on how to switch the feeds instead. When I make the switch I’m also going to restart the Diet Soap philosophy workshop and that workshop will continue weekly, or at least it will be a part of every episode. That means that while I’ll continue on discussing Hegel once a month, I’ve decided to expand the workshop to a weekly format. After each Diet Soap episode subscribers to the podcast will get a chance to participate in a conversation about that episode. So, yes, there will be regular Hegel episodes, but subscribers will also get a chance to discuss all the different subjects that we cover or bring up their own ideas. Finally, I am also going to start a monthly podcast with C. Derick Varn called Pop the Left. We’ll take a critical look at the politics of the Left from a Leftist perspective and, at first, that’ll be hosted through the same RSS feed as Diet Soap, but if a few more people donate or subscribe I’ll start a second feed for Pop the Left on its own. So, you can help me start a new podcast by donating today.