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 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.

Diet Soap Podcast #155: The Charlie Rose Abstraction

The guest this week is the filmmaker Andrew Fillipone. Andrew Filippone Jr. is the filmmaker in New York City made the short film ‘Charlie Rose’ by Samuel Beckett. Some of Andrew’s other works include: The Status Films, an all-text, 4-part, 80-minute documentary film cycle made from real-time searches of public Facebook status updates; Happy Monday, a film-sculpture hybrid that he describes as a “documentary film object;” and The Auroras of Autumn, a silent, abstract short that screened at the 8th Berlin International Director’s Lounge, but in this episode we discuss two other films the first being his mock conspiracy film No! Gabba, Gabba and the other an experimental film entitled 999.

In this episode there is a point where I explain the idea of a concrete abstraction, and I thought it would be worthwhile to explain that idea here at the outset.

The other day I was asked to define the idea of a concrete abstraction and I said that this was the idea that reality is inexorably both conceptual and sensual. One can’t separate out the idea of what it is to be something from the sensual qualities one encounters upon meeting that something. An apple is both an idea and an experience. Once you’ve grasped this the question isn’t “What is a concrete abstraction?” but rather “What isn’t a concrete abstraction?”

Couple of announcements. First, the Philosophy Workshop has been on hiatus over the summer I will be restarting that project in September and I want to encourage people to join up. Subscribing to the workshop is really a way to support the podcast and if you enjoy Diet Soap you should consider subscribing or making a one time donation. So, in September we’ll pick up with Hegel’s phenomenology, and I think I’ll try to use Google Plus to host the online conversations.

Another announcement is that soon I’ll be launching a second, monthly, podcast called Pop the Left. C Derick Varn and I have been recording conversations for this and this coming podcast will be an examination and critique of the left from the left. Along those lines I recently received an email from TJ Clark accepting an invitation to come onto Diet Soap. Clark is an art historian and former member of the Situationist International and his latest essay “For a Left with No Future,” for all it’s flaws, is a valiant effort and really required reading.