Lives or livelihoods?

There are now two billion people across the world living under some form of lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s a quarter of the world’s population. The world economy has seen nothing like this. Nearly all economic forecasts for global GDP in 2020 are for a contraction of 3-5%, as bad ifContinue reading “Lives or livelihoods?”

Engels on nature and humanity

In the light of the current pandemic, here is a rough excerpt from my upcoming short book on Engels’ contribution to Marxian political economy on the 200th anniversary of his birth. Marx and Engels are often accused of what has been called a Promethean vision of human social organisation, namely that human beings, using theirContinue reading “Engels on nature and humanity”

Engels’ pause and the condition of the working class in England

On this day, 15 March 1845, Friedrich Engels published his masterpiece of social analysis, The Condition of the Working Class in England.  This year is the 200th anniversary of Engels’ birth.  Below is a short (rough) extract from my upcoming book on the contribution that Engels made to Marxian political economy.  Engels was just 24Continue reading “Engels’ pause and the condition of the working class in England”

It was the virus that did it

I’m sure when this disaster is over, mainstream economics and the authorities will claim that it was an exogenous crisis nothing to do with any inherent flaws in the capitalist mode of production and the social structure of society.  It was the virus that did it.  This was the argument of the mainstream after theContinue reading “It was the virus that did it”

Disease, debt and depression

As I write the coronavirus epidemic (not yet declared pandemic) continues to spread.  Now there are more new cases outside China than within, with a particular acceleration in South Korea, Japan and Iran.  Up to now more than 80,000 people infected in China alone, where the outbreak originated. The number of people who have been confirmedContinue reading “Disease, debt and depression”

Marx’s law of profitability at SOAS

Last week I gave a lecture in the seminar series on Marxist political economy organised by the Department of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).  The Marxist Political Economy series is a course mainly for post-graduates and has several lecturers on different aspects of Marxian economics. Course Handbook – MarxistContinue reading “Marx’s law of profitability at SOAS”

Coronavirus: nature fights back

As I write, the new deadly coronavirus 2019-nCoV, related to SARS and MERS, and apparently originating in live animal markets in Wuhan, China, is starting to spread worldwide. According to the latest data as of today, there are just under 10,000 cases globally with just 130 or so outside China.  So far, there have beenContinue reading “Coronavirus: nature fights back”

The value in GDP

At the recent ASSA 2020 conference there was a session on whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the ubiquitous measure of national output, was adequate as a gauge of “well-being or social welfare”. Various proposals have been put forward for attempting to measure social welfare, including “dashboards” of economic and social indicators as well as approachesContinue reading “The value in GDP”

Minsky and socialism

Recently, the Levy Institute, the think-tank centre for post-Keynesian economics (and in particular the theories of Hyman Minsky, the radical Keynesian economist of the 1980s), published a short video that that shows Minsky explaining his theory of crises under capitalism in his own words at an event in Columbia University, November 1987. It is aContinue reading “Minsky and socialism”

ASSA 2020 – part three: currencies, climate, china and crises

In this last part of my review of ASSA 2020, I want to cover some other issues discussed at ASSA, especially one big issue: the economics of climate change; and finally, look at the papers in the sessions organised by the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE) – the main association covering Marxist economics. OneContinue reading “ASSA 2020 – part three: currencies, climate, china and crises”