VALUE THEORY AND THE CHINESE WORKER
A Reply to Geoff Mann
Geoff Mann raises some vital issues in this comment, and notwithstanding his generous characterization of my argument in ‘The Subprime Crisis’, on some important points he actually misconstrues it. I agree with him, firstly, that value theory, properly understood, supplies an essential conceptual framework for analysing the crisis; and, secondly, contrary to what he suggests, I do not think that regulation alone has any hope of providing a solution. While the measures that I very briefly referenced in the last few paragraphs of my article were far from fully socialist, nor were they simply aimed at rescuing capitalism. I prefer to put them in the framework of transitional measures that address the deep crisis in effective ways—reviving credit by specific acts of expropriation which would benefit new collective and democratic institutions, in the shape of a network of social funds. By itself such a network does not suppress capitalism; yet it aims to use capitalist property forms in order to transcend them and socialize capital.
’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’
Also available in:
By the same author:
Robin Blackburn on Richard Huzzey, Freedom Burning. Victorian Britain’s anti-slavery crusade as accomplice of imperial expansion.
Stuart Hall, 1932–2014
Founding editor of NLR, pioneer of Cultural Studies, early analyst of Thatcherism, theorist of Caribbean identities, nuncio of New Times—Robin Blackburn remembers Stuart Hall.
Finance for Anarchists
Robin Blackburn on David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Anthropological enquiry into the fluctuating forms of money and credit over the longue durée.
Alexander Cockburn, 1941–2012
A tribute to Alexander Cockburn—director of CounterPunch, Marxian environmentalist, long-standing editor of New Left Review. Robin Blackburn traces his path from County Cork to Soho, Havana to Manhattan, the Florida Keys to California’s Lost Coast.
Atlantic economies remain mired in unemployment and stagnation three years on from 2008. Diagnosing the underlying causes of the crisis as global over-capacity, deficient demand and anarchic credit creation, Robin Blackburn explores proposals for a genuine exit from it to the left.
Reclaiming Human Rights
Robin Blackburn on Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Demystifying the origins and ideological ascendancy of human-rights discourse.
State of the Union
The fate of post-bellum attempts to extend egalitarian impulses across race lines and factory floors, amid the sharpening class struggles of the Gilded Age.
The Philosopher and his Blacks
Robin Blackburn on Louis Sala-Molins, Dark Side of the Light. Polemical assault on the French Enlightenment’s record on slavery—Condorcet’s contradictions, Diderot’s compromises, Montesquieu’s motivations.
The Subprime Crisis
As reverberations from the stricken mortgage market reach the real economy, Robin Blackburn reveals the origins of the crunch in the shadowy realms of financialization. Precedents from the bubbles and crash of the 1920s, warnings from pioneers and venture capitalists, and proposals for how to turn the crisis to socially redistributive effect.
Plan for a Global Pension
On current projections, a fifth of the world’s population will be over 60 by 2050. With old-age poverty set to increase across the planet, Robin Blackburn presents a plan for funding a universal pension of a dollar a day.