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Daily Archives: April 2nd, 2010

Global Crisis

GLOBAL CAPITALISM IN CRISIS: KARL MARX AND THE DECAY OF THE PROFIT SYSTEM

A new book by

Murray E.G. Smith

 

http://www.fernwoodpublishing.ca/Global-Capitalism-in-Crisis-Murray-EG-Smith/

    • ISBN: 9781552663530
    • Price: $24.95 CAD
    • Publication Date: Mar 2010
    • Rights: World
    • Pages: 172

The world economy is currently experiencing a devastating slump not seen since the Second World War. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing and salaries are plummeting in the developed world, while astronomical food prices and starvation ravage the developing world. The crisis in global capitalism, Smith argues, should be understood as both a composite crisis of overproduction, credit and finance, and a deep-seated systemic crisis. Using Marx to analyze the origins, implications and scope of the current economic slump, this book argues that the crisis needs to be understood structurally, as the result of a system prone to crisis, rather than as an aberration.

CONTENTS:
The Global Economic Crisis: A Marxist Perspective • A Summary of Marx’s Theories of Value, Capital and Crisis • The Necessity of Value Theory: Brenner’s Analysis of the “Long Downturn” and Marx’s Theory of Crisis • Class Struggle and Socialist Transformation: Beyond the Law of Value • The Global Crisis, Marxism and the Malaise of the Anti-Capitalist Left • Appendix 1, The Controversy Surrounding Marx’s Theory of Value • Appendix 2, Socially Necessary Unproductive Labour in Contemporary Capitalism • Bibliography • Index

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Murray E.G. Smith is Professor of Sociology and Labour Studies at Brock University

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Jean-Paul Sartre

UNFINISHED PROJECTS: DECOLONIZATION AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF JEAN-PAUL SARTRE
By
Paige Arthur

A major rereading of the life and work of Jean-Paul Sartre, published on the 30th anniversary of his death (April 15, 1980)

Sartre’s anticolonialism proves, in Paige Arthur’s sophisticated rendition, far richer and more complex than snide dismissals of his ‘totalitarian’ impulses have allowed.” –— Samuel Moyn, Columbia University

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In this major rereading of Sartre’s life and work, Paige Arthur traces the relationship between the philosopher’s decades-long commitment to decolonization and his intellectual thought. Where other commentators have focused on the tensions between Sartre’s Marxism and his account of existential freedom—usually to denigrate one in favor of the other—Arthur shows that Sartre’s political engagement with global liberation movements and his philosophical framework were inextricably intertwined.

Closely following the postwar movements for decolonization, and then supporting the war of independence in Algeria, Sartre proposed an influential and uncompromising view of imperialism. Analyzing the Western attitude to the “subhuman” colonial subject, he offered an account of the social constraints applying to both ruler and ruled, and came to argue that political violence—on both sides—was a systematic consequence of the colonial order. Arthur’s rich and nuanced book locates Sartre within the political discussions of his time, while also looking forward to contemporary debates about new forms of imperialism and resistance.

“Since the late 1970s, anti-totalitarian discourse has reduced Sartre to an unwitting casualty of the Cold War split. Now, Paige Arthur counters the hysteria and moralizing of the last thirty years with a carefully reasoned and erudite study that reveals Sartre for what he was: a profound and consistent thinker of liberation and decolonization.”—Kristin Ross, author of May’68 and its Afterlives

“Overcoming today’s amnesia about Sartre as a founding spirit of ‘postcolonialism,’ Paige Arthur shows his relevance for our own encounters with ‘globalization.’”—Ronald Aronson, author of Sartre’s Second Critique and Camus and Sartre

Paige Arthur is Deputy Director of Research at the International Center for Transitional Justice. She has taught at both UC Berkeley and the New School University.

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FOR INTERVIEWS & REVIEW COPIES PLEASE CONTACT CLARA HEYWORTH: clara@versobooks.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Clara Heyworth
Publication: 15th April, 2010 clara@versobooks.com
ISBN: 978-1-84467-399-5 Tel. 718-246-8160
20 Jay Street, Suite 1010
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: +1 (718) 246 8160
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Piero Sraffa

THEORIES OF VALUE FROM ADAM SMITH TO PIERO SRAFFA

A new book by Ajit Sinha

Ajit Sinha’s Theories of Value from Adam Smith to Piero Sraffa exemplifies the best characteristics of proper scholarship. Sinha has combined critical yet sympathetic analysis of primary sources with keen understanding of the secondary literature. He has definite points of view which are always established by deep analytical arguments combined with careful attention to the relevant evidence. His book is a splendid example for all those interested in the best ways of understanding the relevant links between the past of our discipline and the present. — G.C. Harcourt, Emeritus Reader in the History of Economic Theory, University of Cambridge, Professor Emeritus, University of Adelaide, Emeritus Fellow, Jesus College, University of Cambridge

The excess confidence of contemporary economists in the strength of the existing body of their knowledge has been struck by the recent crisis. The same excess confidence had often fed the belief that the history of ideas did not matter. In fact, the understanding of the limits of any knowledge in the field of social sciences cannot be separated from the understanding of the conditions of its construction. The work of Ajit Sinha, as conveyed in the present book, provides a brilliant illustration of the fact that the history of economic thought, on the one hand, and economic analysis, on the other, are neither antagonistic, nor substitutes, but necessary complements.– Roger Guesnerie, Chair, Economic Theory and Social Organisation, Collège de France, Paris 

OUTLINE:

This book presents a comprehensive account of more than 200 years of controversy on the classical theories of value and distribution. The author focuses on four, perhaps most critical, classics, viz., Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy, Karl Marx’s Capital and Piero Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. The book highlights several significant differences in the theories of the four authors as it searches for the ‘classical standpoint’ that separates them from the ‘moderns’. It throws fresh light on some old questions while introducing new, controversial interpretations in the literature surrounding it. It is unique in its organisation as it first presents the author’s close reading of the theories of value and distribution in the four classics and then critically engages with the major alternative interpretations and criticisms of the theories discussed therein.

Bringing original insights on theoretical positions, the book challenges canonical interpretations so as to discuss and analyse the flaws and weaknesses, in addition to the already obvious strengths, of widely celebrated theories. The theories discussed here emerge from questions like: what role does demand or human psychology play in the determination of value in classical theory? Do classical economists determine the distribution of income within the context of a theory of prices and resource allocation? What role does the notion of ‘equilibrium’ play in classical theory and the theory of Sraffa?

It will appeal to academics and students of economic theory and philosophy, as well as to the general reader.

Ajit Sinha is currently Visiting Professor at Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai. He has published extensively in the area of history of economic theory. 

ISBN: 978-0-415-56320-8, Pages: 368, Edition: Hardback, Price: INR 895/USD 95/GBP 55

For orders from the UK, Europe and the Middle East, please e-mail: book.orders@tandf.co.uk

For orders from North America, please e-mail: orders@taylorandfrancis.com

For orders from India and South Asia, please e-mail: bookorders@tandfindia.com

Taylor & Francis Books India Pvt. Ltd., 912, Tolstoy House, 15–17 Tolstoy Marg,  Connaught Place, New Delhi 110 001,
Tel.: +91 (11) 4315 5100, Fax: +91 (11) 2371 2132. For general enquiries: marketing@tandfindia.com

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STAFF AND STUDENTS RECLAIM KING’S COLLEGE LONDON

Last Tuesday’s (30 March) strike in defence of education at King’s exceeded all expectations. More than 250 people joined loud and vibrant picket lines on all four King’s campuses. Security guards at one campus indicated that numbers entering their building were as much as 75% down. At the main building on the Strand only a small trickle of students and staff went in.

Support for the strike was boosted after the latest hapless intervention by senior management, who refused to allow non-UCU staff to take annual leave yesterday. This prompted more than sixty of those obliged to work on the Strand to sign a card expressing solidarity with the pickets. Members of other unions on all sites brought refreshments out to colleagues on strike and stood with them during breaks. Local cafes displayed UCU material explaining our reasons for striking. Students brought cakes for pickets, played musical instruments, set up stalls and hung a huge banner over the entrance to the Strand: ‘Education massacre: do not enter.’

Messages of support have flooded in from King’s alumni, students and non-UCU staff, as well as from universities and colleges across the country. Colleagues brought solidarity greetings and donations in person from UCL, Westminster, QMW, London Metropolitan University, the Institute of Education, Southwark College, City and Islington College, Tower Hamlets College, the University of the Arts and the London Nautical School. Supporters also came along from local workplaces, including the National Theatre and the National Gallery, and from other unions, including the NUT, PCS, Unite and Unison.

Around 50 people attended a lunchtime rally at Waterloo, while more than 200 students joined pickets for a rally on the Strand, which took place in an electric atmosphere. The huge crowd heard speeches from UCU representatives at King’s and elsewhere, from members of other unions and from a Sussex student who told of their struggles with their own management. Many students heard for the first time of the appalling treatment of our colleagues in Engineering by King’s management. The ‘We Support our Teachers’ campaign was a lively presence throughout the day. Dozens of students expressed their disdain at the way the College’s senior management addresses them in Orwellian ‘Newspeak’. Many have written to the Principal and Vice-Principal complaining that they feel patronised by senior management.

Our campaign in defence of education at King’s is partly about our colleagues’ livelihoods, and about the lack of regard shown to them by senior management. But it is clear that it is also about much more than this. The creeping culture of managerialism in universities is also an issue. The support we have received from students, and from colleagues who are either members of other unions, or not yet members of UCU, is an indication that this campaign is also about defending the values that underpin education at King’s and elsewhere, which include collegiality, respect for individuals, cooperation, intellectual integrity and academic independence.

The verve, humour, creativity and imagination of yesterday’s pickets offered us all a glimpse of the potential that exists within this institution for staff and students to make education at King’s more rewarding and more enjoyable. All too often this potential is either stifled or by-passed by the dead hand of senior management.

Our thanks and congratulations go to all who took part yesterday, and to everyone who showed their support for our campaign. Senior management teams across the country are offering no resistance to government cuts. They are determined to follow the example set by King’s and impose redundancies and department closures on their staff and students. The magnificent collective response to these attacks that we have seen at Leeds, Sussex, Kent and King’s is a powerful reminder to all that if we stand together we can defend our education system from the ministers and managers who want to turn it into a marketplace.

Jim Wolfreys

President KCL UCU

Please continue to send donations and messages of support to: ucu@kcl.ac.uk

For more information on our dispute see: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ucu

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