24 January 2013

Jacobin Mag

I just discovered Jacobin Mag, a far left publication of essays put on by what I would call "kids". The quality of the output, while sometimes overly academic, is quite high. I really like some of the possibilities is imagines for society and they largely seem to have found ways to escape the "hippy" ambience I find so common in leftist popular literature.

Here's a great paragraph by Seth Ackerman in a treatise on how socialism might fare under modern economic theory. The paragraph is a critique of social democratic economies (EU and to a lessening degree the US).

But the social democratic solution is unstable... There’s a fundamental contradiction between accepting that capitalists’ pursuit of profit will be the motor of the system,  and believing you can systematically tame and repress it through policies and regulations. In the classical Marxist account, the contradiction is straightforwardly economic: policies that reduce profit rates too much will lead to underinvestment and economic crisis. But the contradiction can also be political: profit-hungry capitalists will use their social power to obstruct the necessary policies. How can you have a system driven by individuals maximizing their profit cash-flows and still expect to maintain the profit-repressing norms, rules, laws, and regulations necessary to uphold the common welfare?

His answer is intriguing: socialize the capital markets. I've not yet formed an opinion of this solution, if it might work and how it might play out. Nor am I an economist by any stretch of the imagination. But I find the possibility intriguing and it could point a way out of our current world-wide economic crisis.

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