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Yes, this conclusion
SYRIZA is in power today precisely because of the flaws in the European Union -- precisely because Keynesian policies don't work in the euro. Which means, the neoliberals have no way to exit from this crisis, folks. They are trapped and can be killed off.

Whatever happened to "Capitalism has suffered a major historical failure; so, let's try to kill it, starting in Greece."

begs the question of what exactly the Greek government should do to "kill off capitalism" in Greece. In any case, I think Jehu advocates the Abolition of Labor, starting with a reduction of working hours and an increase in wages.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2015 at 12:32:12 PM EST
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Abolition of labour looks like an interesting idea. Can't see how to get there from current Greece, unless one the first steps is to get some policy space for the government, leading back to Keynesianism.

In fact, I think real work hours went down in western economies during the heyday of Keynesianism, and then up some in most of them during the neoliberal decades. If so, then fewer work hours can best be pushed within a reformatist framework.

by fjallstrom on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 07:48:44 AM EST
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If you mention "abolition of labor" to undergraduates at a top American university, some of them will begin to cry. Some will drop the class. They have worked so hard to get there, they are prepping to become doctors or lawyers. And I found this to be true especially of immigrants or lower/middle class students who do not have Mommy or Daddy's spoils as a backup.

I am not exaggerating this. The opposition to such an idea is visceral.

by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 09:39:39 AM EST
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That sounds likely, abolishing a hierarchy looks bad not only for those on top, but for all those who have invested in their position in it.

The beauty of abolition of labour as a goal is that it can be approached step by step by shortening the work year/week/day, and while that is going on the relative position in the heirarchy are to a large extent kept while everybody who are employed benefits materially form the shorter time spent working. But that beauty is also its weakness, it does not work well as a rallying cry for revolution and is not suited for taking advantage of a crisis of capitalism.

by fjallstrom on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 10:55:50 AM EST
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And 'undergraduates at a top American universitlies' are precisely those who, if they become largley in favor of radical changes to our social structure, will be best able to bring this about, along with those everywhere in whose interests it is to see and then to change the core drivers of the current economic disaster. I concluded back in the '60s that the society was going to HAVE to implement a minimum standard of living due to reduced demand for labor from automation, etc. It took me 20+ years to see that we could and would just disparage and dismiss those who couldn't find jobs and blame the victims. It is the American Way.

So, if we 'abolish labor' what, besides core human compassion, is to prevent a society that, today, sees a social safety net as an alternative, from seeing death camps as a superior alternative in a decade? And the higher you go the less compassion you see in this society, the top rungs of banking and business being the natural goal of such people? I find the idea to be very dangerous. We have seen and are seeing what time and conservative governments can do to social safety nets.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:09:11 AM EST
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More from Jehu: Capitalism Without A Capitalist: Why SYRIZA probably will fail
Lebowitz explains why a close reading of Marx will show capital "produces a worker who looks upon its requirements as `self-evident natural laws'?
"When we think about the dependence of the worker on capital, is it difficult to grasp why capitalism keeps going? After all, Marx not only proposed that capitalism "breaks down all resistance" he also went on to say that capital can "rely on his [the worker's] dependence on capital, which springs from the conditions of production themselves, and is guaranteed in perpetuity by them" (899). Capitalism tends, in short, to produce the workers it needs."
Both essays go a long way toward explaining why SYRIZA, although it now has in its hands management of the largest single employer in Greece, likely will never consciously exploit this position to advance the emancipation of society from labor.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:16:07 AM EST
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I don't think it is at all impossible. It is primarily a problem of bringing the unconscious presumptions into consciousness where they can be discredited and dismissed. This is best accomplished by those who are already critical of the existing system because they identify more with the victims than the beneficiaries of that system.

But Jehu's analysis DOES coincide with that of Nitzan and Bichler in "Capital as Power" in that the essence of capitalism is the ability of the capitalist to creatively reorder society to meet the needs of capitalist production. There is no reason, other than the success of the 'Government can't do anything right!' mantra of the appologists for the current order along with the string of disasters THEY have themselves deliberately created to make their point, for Syriza leadership to think that they can not  creatively reorder that part of Greek society they need to change in order to help those people. The problems will come from the predictable, ruthless attempts to destroy Syriza and all it stands for by those serving those benefiting from the current order

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:28:59 AM EST
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So what we have to do is re-educate the high achievers?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:20:12 AM EST
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Only a significant portion thereof. And, in Greece, that appears to already have happened and they do have power. That is precisely why this government is viewed as being so dangerous. If they can create a serious counter example that works TPTB fear it will be game over. May it be so. Fiat justicia ruat caelum.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 11:36:33 AM EST
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Well, my problem with "reeducate the high achievers" is that it is too close for comfort to Pol Pot's government program.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 12:41:41 PM EST
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And decidedly not what I was thinking. But it might seem that current efforts to keep them in the neo-liberal mental box might be failing in many places. That is where I see opportunity. The Pol Pot approach is more likely from those dodo is describing in his No Students for politics diary.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2015 at 06:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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