Book Review: Mick Brooks evaluates Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism: a Guide To Our Future’

Collage lightPublished: 29 August 2015.
Reviewer: Mick Brooks.

Paul Mason is the Economics Editor of Channel 4 News. As an ex-lefty, he offers a critical perspective on developments within capitalism. His latest book is not lacking in ambition: it promises nothing less than a guide to the future! It is indeed wide-ranging, and a challenging read for socialists.

What is Postcapitalism?
First the good news – according to Mason capitalism is likely to disappear off the face of the earth. Now the bad news – it will not be replaced by socialism, but by ‘postcapitalism’. What is this beast?

“Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values, behaviours and norms.” (Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism, p.xiv)

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Debate: American Presidential Elections – Culture War versus Freedom for All

Published: 21 August 2015.
Author: Paul Shepard.
Introduction by: TSN Editor.

The candidature of the 73-year-old self-styled ‘socialist’ Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders in the race for the US Democratic Party Presidential nomination has certainly brought the nomination contest alive. A huge number of people have been turning out to hear Sanders at rallies across America, with 28,000 crowding into a local Sanders rally in a basketball arena in Portland Oregon on August 10th and similar numbers attending a meeting in Los Angeles. Volunteers are queuing up to help the campaign with nearly 50,000 so far which is beginning to match Clinton’s professional campaign financed from her $2 billion war chest (provided mainly by the banks and the corporate elite) . All of this is now being reflected in the polls with support for Sanders among Democratic Party voters rising quickly – now at around 30% – while for front-runner Hillary Clinton it is falling at 47%.
…However, the participation of Bernie Sanders in this race is a controversial one on the America Left given the nature of the Democratic Party and the fate that has befallen past attempts of more progressive candidates to win the presidential nomination. A few months ago we carried an article opposing his campaign: ‘Is US Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders ‘sheep-dogging’ for Hillary and the Democrats?’ And we invited anyone who supported Bernie’s campaign to submit their views for publication. Thanks to Paul Shepard for responding to the challenge.

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China: Is It All Over?

China crashPublished: 8 August 2015
Author Michael Roberts
Intro by: TSN Editor

The stock market in China has had a mighty fall in the last few weeks. Does this imply a coming economic crisis or is it just another bump in the road for China’s economic miracle?

 

In recent weeks, the Chinese stock market has taken a massive plunge and in July shares suffered their worse month in six years, falling by 29% from the peak in June. This followed a humungous boom in stock prices since the beginning of 2015. Indeed, since August of last year, the market index in Shanghai has risen 160%. And even after the collapse in the last month the index is still nearly 80% higher than this time in 2014.

This stock market bubble is of the proportion of the US in the 1920s that led to the crash of 1929 and the subsequent great depression. Is this what is in store for the Chinese economy as well?

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Greece: ‘To Euro or Not to Euro’ is Not the Question We Should be Asking

Euro and GreecePublished: 7 August 2015
Author: Jonathan Clyne

In the face of the brutal blackmail of the Troika, the Syriza government broke its anti-austerity promises. Much of the debate since then has focused on whether the government could have avoided this by leaving the Eurozone. It is a debate that risks tearing Syriza apart. Many on the left believe that leaving is a decisive step towards resolving the Greek crisis. Leading Keynesian economists of various shades, such as Krugman and Stiglitz, and many British conservatives agree. They are wrong. As are those on the Left that argue that Greece must stay in the Euro. If Syriza splits on this question, both parts will end up in a dead-end.

The left and the right in Syriza and internationally are ignoring the most important means for resolving the Greek crisis – raising the level of productive investment in the Greek economy. In the last weeks before the climb-down, former Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis outlined a plan to do precisely that. It has not been commented on since. That is the most tragic thing about the present discussion. Varoufakis’s plan ought to be at the centre of discussion about how to end the crisis, not only in Greece, but also throughout the capitalist world. Staying in or leaving the Euro is a secondary question.

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