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I certainly think that there's something of the distinction that Marx makes between money and capital.

Money, despite what Pink Floyd had to say on the subject, is not the root of all evil today.  Capital is. It's that distinction that Marx makes between industrial and and financial capitalism.

Money simply facilitates transactions, capital requires a return.

I understand what you are saying about the system discrediting itself, but I think that there among the people at the top in the United States, neo-liberalism has become nothing short of a religion.

You have to break their gods, in order from them to get it, because their beliefs are based in faith not reason.

Even people who spout the rhetoric of change, aka the incoming president, are agents of the status quo. Obama is talking about cutting public pensions and healthcare, that hardly strikes me as the sort of change that we need.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Jan 10th, 2009 at 06:46:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ManfromMiddletown:
Money simply facilitates transactions, capital requires a return.

I would say firstly that unsecured credit facilitates transactions, and has a cost consisting of shared system costs and defaults.

Secured credit and conventional Equity in a Corporation are the conflicting financial claims (financial capital) over productive assets (industrial capital) which require a return.

However, this return is paid for from the sale of production/ use value of the relevant productive assets.

Ther is nothing wrong with a cost of credit or a return on capital per se.

The key problem lies in the fact that interest-bearing credit currently is money.  The increasing inequalities in access to this credit combine with exclusive ownership of productive assets - and particularly the Commons of land, non-renewable resources and knowledge - to create a continuing and finally unsustainable transfer of wealth.  

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Jan 10th, 2009 at 07:19:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Add to that that a vast pool of capital, much of it backed with claims on real assets, was betrayed into hopelessly unproductive uses and the present system starts to come into focus.  What is needed is an intelligent and highly selective repudiation of such debt.  Let the losses, where appropriate, be recouped from the personal assets and estates of the perpetrators.  The biggest obstacle to this is lack of will.  When a better understanding of what has happened begins to spread I suspect that the will will appear.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 10th, 2009 at 11:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
What is needed is an intelligent and highly selective repudiation of such debt.

I think it is possible to transform the vast pools of unrepayable property-backed debt to a form of finance which does not have to be repaid ie Equity - just "not Equity as we know it, Jim".

We may achieve this Unitisation within a framework based upon Partnership law (%age shares or "nth's"), rather than Trust law (Units in Unit Trusts) or Company law (conventional shares).

The result is not so much repudiation as transformation.

The holder of distressed (ie unrepayable) debt exchanges his bonds for Units. He has no right to get his capital back from the user of the capital (the Occupier) but he can get some or all of his Capital back from other investors by selling to them his Units in the resulting "Rental Pool".

The amount he gets back depends on the rate of return on Capital investors require.

Since we index-link the Occupier's rental a rate of 2 to 3% is good in the current climate. The crucial point is that because the resulting rental is genuinely "affordable" (in large part because the obligation torepay Capital has been removed) it is therefore more likely it will be paid and the lower risk justifies the lower rate of return.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jan 11th, 2009 at 07:14:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This may well be the best way out of the mortgage backed security fiasco.  But such a solution will only come after the market has capitulated to the decline and there still seems to be no solution in sight.  That will probably take at least a year.  Right now many probably still think or hope that they will get most of their money back.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 04:43:10 PM EST
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