Zero Squared #2: The Option that No Longer Exists

John Medhurst is a Trade Unionist and activist and we discuss his book That Option No Longer Exists: Britain 1974-’76. We also consider the possibility that the Labour party’s industrial policy was a real solution to economic crisis of the 70s.

Comment on the murder of the staff of the French comic magazine Charlie Hebdo:

As a radical publisher I am compelled to stand in solidarity with these French comrades and announce that “Je Suis Charlie.” More than that I’d want to point out that standing with liberty means precisely standing with the satirists and whether it’s Stephen Colbert, Stewart Lee, Jonathan Swift, or the Charlie Hebdo twelve the obligation is the same. Drawings of monkeys, prophets, or assholes should not stifle our outrage at religious terrorists any more than the crimes these reactionaries should push us into the arms of Le Pen.

The music and voices you’ll hear in this podcast include an amateur string quartet covering the 1979 hit “Funky Town” by Lipps Incorporated, the voice of Brendan Cooney, Esai Morales performing the Internationale on the piano, and Harry Partch’s “And On The Seventh Day Petals Fell In Petaluma,” and Chris Isto White’s “Six Composition in Pastel”.

Jasun Horsley’s first bout of liminalist musings closes out this episode.

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.