Gianmarco de Pieri: Commons and Debt: Polar Opposites in a New Paradigm

The aims of the paper are to introduce the new role of the debt, family and state ones, as a general key tool useful for the ruling class to structure the so called austerity political economical european trend, and to highlight the great opportunity of the commons theory to give us the chance to imagine a new way to work over the pincers “private or statecontrolled”. Ecological critical theory could provide an helpful toolbox. More

Patrick Bond: Debt and the Historical Geography of South Africa’s Uneven and Combined Development ‘Varieties of Capitalism’ versus Dynamics of Capital Accumulation

1. Introduction
The Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) school may one day be judged yet another of those traditions of political economy imported to South Africa – such as Articulations of Modes of Production (early 1970s), Fractions of Capital (mid-1970s), Social History (1980s) and Regulation Theory (late 1980s-early 1990s) (about which see Bond 2011 for a review) – that at the time provide new insights worth considering, but that fail as a framing strategy because they are not ambitious enough or, alternatively, they say too much and hence too little. More

Patrick Bond: Ecological Debt and Reparations: Can the ‘Green Economy’ Incorporate Litigative Justice and Eco-Debt Payments, or Do we Need Environmental Justice and a Redistributive ‘Basic Income Grant’?

South Africa and Namibia are sites for the most important debates in history surrounding reparations. Usually the context for such discussion is recovery from race-related crimes against humanity, apartheid and South African racist colonialism, respectively. However, since the December 2011 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the
Parties 17 in Durban, attention has turned to whether the ‘Green Economy’ allows the concept of ‘natural capital’ to manage new environmentally-financialised markets aimed at codifying fees for ‘ecosystem services’ (an example of which is carbon trading), on the one hand – or on the other, retributive payments for ‘ecological debt’ based on environmental justice, so that the valuing of nature is limited to fines for damages and then prohibitions on further pollution. More

Patrick Bond: Debt, Uneven Development and Capitalist Crisis in South Africa – From Marikana Microfinance Mashonisas to Moody’s Macroeconomic Monitoring

The power, vulnerability and destructiveness of financial markets have spiraled out of control in a South Africa that by 2012 was amongst the most unequal, economically volatile and protestintensive in the world. The scourge of debt made itself felt in many sites, but of interest in both criticizing and promoting solutions is the ‘scale jumping’ required from SA’s national insertion
into the world financial system, entailing the Reserve Bank setting interest rates at a level amongst the world’s highest over the past two decades, in turn leading to unpayable levels of unsecured consumer debt at a time microfinance was suddenly discredited as a development strategy. More

Jack Reardon: What Should We Teach about the Role/Function of Debt in Capitalism?

In Ivan Turgenev’s short story, “The Loner,” the main character, a peasant overseer of a forest owned by an absentee landlord, zealously practices his craft to such an extent that “there wasn’t a better master of his job in the world:  ‘[The Loner] won’t let you take so much as a bit of brushwood! It doesn’t matter when it is, even at dead o’ night, he’ll be down on you like a ton o’ snow, an’ you best not think of puttin’ up a fight . . . An’ you can’t bribe him, not with drink, not with money, not with any trickery” (Turgenev 1976 p. 175).

In the short story, the peasant hears an axe felling falling and immediately confronts the would- be thief. “Let me go” cries the peasant. . . It’s been hungry . . . my little horse  . . . let ‘er go, she’s all I got.” More

Asta Vrečko, Sašo Slaček: Answers on the Workshop Questions

a. Neoclassical economics and the debt issue

Neoclassical economics is blind not only to the political dimension of debt (as a way of disciplining workers and a crucial element of an imperialist global order) but also to its economic one. The idea that aggregate levels of debt do not matter is underpinning current austerity measures. As deleveraging is taking place in the private sector, attempts at fiscal consolidation are further decreasing aggregate demand and aggravating the crisis.

b. The issue of ecological debt

Although it is coming generations that will bear the brunt of ecological devastation, we should not fall into the trap of thinking about the issue as primarily generational – as a lot of critical ecological discourse tends to do – while ignoring the class dimension. Weiterlesen

Sergio Tzotzes: Expropriation/land grabbing and the role and function of finance: Insights from the Greek case

In classical Marxist terms the expropriation of economic and social activity by “dysfunctional forms of finance in which the appropriation of surplus takes undue, even some sort of systemic, precedence over its creation” (Fine 2010a) is key in understanding financialisation in its current manifestation. The implosion of the finance-ridden debt crisis in the Eurozone periphery has intensified a process of wholesale expropriation/grabbing of public assets, citizens’ income, pensions, social and environmental rights and standards. Starting from the ‘bailout” countries the expropriation/grabbing exercise spreads out to all member states under the auspices of the EU.  Insights from the Greek case are indispensable in rethinking the European project and advancing a progressive left outlook. The grabbing process examined here as regards Greece rests on three pillars: More

Catherine Sifakis – Kapetanakis: Financial market boom and changes in the financial structure of European industrial companies

The relationships between the financial sphere and the real economy have been an important theme in theoretical debates since the crisis in the 30s and have been among major concerns in implementing economic policies.

The expansion of financial markets and financial activities in the context of financial globalisation and the new problems resulting from it during the last twenty years have revived this debate. It concerns notably:

–   the link between financial market boom and financial instability;

–   the consequences of the financial market boom on the balance of power among stakeholders involved in the ownership, financing and management of companies and;

–   the impact of financial activity boom on production, and notably on productive investment. More



EU Experts Discussion 2.-4.11.2012: Program

Second EU Experts’ Discussion:

The Debt Issue and a New Stage of Neoliberal Transformation of the European Union. Consequences for the Left, Alternatives of the Left.

The workshop is the first highlight of the project “Debt”, “land grabbing” and “property”. The strategic question to be tackled here will be, if the left will be able to use the political debate on the debt issue for

– enlightening the multitudes of people about social and political contexts and connections behind the processes they are exposed to,

– critically dealing with neoliberal ideologies and mainstream economics and developing our own understanding and thinking … More

Workshop Organizers: Some Ideas on the Five Workshop Questions We Have Asked

a. What is new in the EU after “entering into the complex crisis” and what does this mean for the approach of modern left/modern socialist politics? 

– Whole generations of the population have grown up or are growing up under neoliberal hegemony. They learned thinking as individual, singular human beings, but they suffer a lack of thinking in terms of real self-determination, solidarity and justice.

– The technological basis of mass social isolation has been broadly established in modern societies. But at the same time this technological basis is intimately linked to a rising, already extremely high degree of cooperation and of the ‘socialization’ of practices.

– The natural conditions of life are continuously diminishing. Global warming and shrinking biodiversity have become irreversible. The consequences for the globally weakest are brutal. More