The Production of Plagues

A recent discussion on the intersection between pandemics and industrialization brought on by the Chinese collective Chuang’s excellent piece ‘Social Contagion: Microbiological Class Warfare’ encouraged me to look further into the circumstances in which COVID-19 and other resilient pathogens, arose from and the correlation with large scale agribusiness, high intensity industrialization and the capitalist mode of production. Similar to Chuang I’m not so much interested in engaging in the kind of vulgar Marxism which places the blame for all the worlds ills at the feet of capitalism, rather given the seemingly random nature of pandemics I’m more interested as to...

Neomalthusianism and Question Time

Once again the ugly spectre of Malthusianism slithered its way into the mainstream on an episode of the BBC show, Question Time, which over the last few months has shown itself rapidly losing any illusion it might have had of speaking to, or representing, the needs of the public writ large and instead has rapidly been transitioning into a bizarrely hyperreal circus and a conduit for an ever more divisive and populist message. From the rumours of Fiona Bruce prepping the crowd with information to unfairly bias them against certain members of the panel, to the continued inclusion of political...

Refusing Wage-Labour: From Practicality To Necessity

Historically there have been many reasons why the reduction of labour time and even the abolition of wage labour itself has been seen not only in a positive light but as an achievable concrete goal. In 1930 John Maynard Keynes in his famous paper ‘Economic Possibilities For Our Grandchildren’, wrote: I draw the conclusion that, assuming no important wars and no important increase in population, the economic problem may be solved, or be at least within sight of solution, within a hundred years. This means that the economic problem is not-if we look into the future-the permanent problem of the human race....

Recent Reflections On Value

In a recent television spot the economist, Mariana Mazzucato briefly touched on something which whilst hugely important is often left out of the public debate on economics. Whilst, unfortunately, she was unable to create the space to expound on it fully at 31:00 the following exchange takes place Jo Coburn: What don’t we value enough? Mariana Mazzucato: Well, first of all, we confuse price with value, it used to be that there were big debates about value and that turned into the theory of price, we only put into GDP things that have a price, if you marry your cleaner GDP will go down,...