Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

2

This is not, however, a book of prescriptions. No glorious blueprint for the left resides within its pages. Rather it brings together crucial perspectives for understanding capitalism and the world we inhabit. While the assessment of capitalism and its opponents may seem bleak, the conclusion of the book is not. The way forward is to be found by arming ourselves with unsparing analysis of the predicament we find ourselves in, while having the fortitude to once again think ambitiously about broad emancipatory change.

just inspiring

—p.2 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 2 years, 3 months ago

This is not, however, a book of prescriptions. No glorious blueprint for the left resides within its pages. Rather it brings together crucial perspectives for understanding capitalism and the world we inhabit. While the assessment of capitalism and its opponents may seem bleak, the conclusion of the book is not. The way forward is to be found by arming ourselves with unsparing analysis of the predicament we find ourselves in, while having the fortitude to once again think ambitiously about broad emancipatory change.

just inspiring

—p.2 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 2 years, 3 months ago
4

[...] the call remains for a return to the type of regulatory system of the Keynesian postwar welfare state, which ostensibly held the depredations of capital at bay. The rationale runs along these lines: in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, corporations were kept in their place by a state that imposed checks on banking and manufacturing. Starting in the late 1970s, the state retreated and let the market run wild. If we could only return to the heyday of American capitalism, all would be well.

But is a return feasible, and if it were, would all be well? The present crisis and the limitations of such alternatives may be best grasped by examining the roots of neoliberalism in the crisis of capitalism in the 1970s, afflicting the system's vaunted postwar "Golden Age." The era that many on the left look back to with longing, combined a welfre state (to a greater extent in Europe and Canada and a lesser extent in the U.S.) and a Keynesian commitment to full employment in the Global North and varying degrees of state planning in the Global South. It was shored up by the international financial stability of Bretton Woods, which regulated the international monetary system with the U.S. dollar at its center. During its zenith, it delivered relative economic prosperity in the Global North and moderate development in the Global South.

Yet by the late 1960s the welfare state system was running out of steam. As the 1970s arrived, it sputtered out. The costs of the Vietnam War and domestic spending put significant strain on the U.S. dollar. [...]

not exactly new but it's useful to hammer that story in my head

—p.4 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 2 years, 3 months ago

[...] the call remains for a return to the type of regulatory system of the Keynesian postwar welfare state, which ostensibly held the depredations of capital at bay. The rationale runs along these lines: in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, corporations were kept in their place by a state that imposed checks on banking and manufacturing. Starting in the late 1970s, the state retreated and let the market run wild. If we could only return to the heyday of American capitalism, all would be well.

But is a return feasible, and if it were, would all be well? The present crisis and the limitations of such alternatives may be best grasped by examining the roots of neoliberalism in the crisis of capitalism in the 1970s, afflicting the system's vaunted postwar "Golden Age." The era that many on the left look back to with longing, combined a welfre state (to a greater extent in Europe and Canada and a lesser extent in the U.S.) and a Keynesian commitment to full employment in the Global North and varying degrees of state planning in the Global South. It was shored up by the international financial stability of Bretton Woods, which regulated the international monetary system with the U.S. dollar at its center. During its zenith, it delivered relative economic prosperity in the Global North and moderate development in the Global South.

Yet by the late 1960s the welfare state system was running out of steam. As the 1970s arrived, it sputtered out. The costs of the Vietnam War and domestic spending put significant strain on the U.S. dollar. [...]

not exactly new but it's useful to hammer that story in my head

—p.4 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 2 years, 3 months ago
6

Neoliberalism also entailed the dispossession and incorporation of massive numbers of new workers into the waged labor force [...] The expansion of the global pool of labor has eroded labor's bargaining power, making it much harder for workers to demand higher wages without capital going elsewhere. [...]

—p.6 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 2 years, 3 months ago

Neoliberalism also entailed the dispossession and incorporation of massive numbers of new workers into the waged labor force [...] The expansion of the global pool of labor has eroded labor's bargaining power, making it much harder for workers to demand higher wages without capital going elsewhere. [...]

—p.6 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 2 years, 3 months ago
11

[...] the recognition of capitalism's bankruptcy does not ineluctably translate into anticapitalist politics [...]

The obstacles to conceiving a new emancipatory politics are formidable [...] Neoliberalism has meant a gloves-off form of class war, borne out by the assault on militant unions, relentless restructuring of employment, speed up, wage slashing, and intentional unemployment as a means of disciplining workers and breaking organinzed labor. [...] the increasing precariousness of employment has put a damper on workplace militancy, as workers are hesitant to take actions when they may easily be put out on their ears.

Yet neoliberalism has operated in other ways, which are subtler, but no less destructive. The enormous growth of finance over the past three decades and the integration of the working class into financial circuits, through pensions, mortgage, and credit card debt, have bound people into the system [...] This has been significant for the recent trajectory of capitalism, as more and more people kept the system afloat by borrowing money [...] it has caught workers up in the system, giving them a stake in its survival. The hope of individual advancement within the system, or simply hanging on, has become in many cases a substitute for collective social change. [...]

—p.11 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 2 years, 3 months ago

[...] the recognition of capitalism's bankruptcy does not ineluctably translate into anticapitalist politics [...]

The obstacles to conceiving a new emancipatory politics are formidable [...] Neoliberalism has meant a gloves-off form of class war, borne out by the assault on militant unions, relentless restructuring of employment, speed up, wage slashing, and intentional unemployment as a means of disciplining workers and breaking organinzed labor. [...] the increasing precariousness of employment has put a damper on workplace militancy, as workers are hesitant to take actions when they may easily be put out on their ears.

Yet neoliberalism has operated in other ways, which are subtler, but no less destructive. The enormous growth of finance over the past three decades and the integration of the working class into financial circuits, through pensions, mortgage, and credit card debt, have bound people into the system [...] This has been significant for the recent trajectory of capitalism, as more and more people kept the system afloat by borrowing money [...] it has caught workers up in the system, giving them a stake in its survival. The hope of individual advancement within the system, or simply hanging on, has become in many cases a substitute for collective social change. [...]

—p.11 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 2 years, 3 months ago
16

[...] Neoliberalism depended on drawing women into wage work, often low-wage service jobs, as falling salaries meant that the "family wage" of a single (male) wage earner could no longer support a family. [...] feminism left behind the social justice dimension of its earlier agenda to focus on women getting a leg up in the job market, breaking the glass ceiling, and finding emancipation through entry into the market. Undoubtedly this gave women a new sort of power, as members of the waged working and middle classes with the ability to act collectively in the workplace - as white- and blue-collar workers, women had a potential strength that differed from the atomized unwaged work of the home. But such priorities were no longer framed within an anticapitalist agenda or struggle, and overlapped easily with the drive to tap into a pool of labor hitherto outside of the market.

drawing on Nancy Fraser

something i just realised: how analogous is this to 'free software' getting co-opted (or overtaken, superseded, destroyed) by 'open source'? is that a useful comparison?

—p.16 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] Neoliberalism depended on drawing women into wage work, often low-wage service jobs, as falling salaries meant that the "family wage" of a single (male) wage earner could no longer support a family. [...] feminism left behind the social justice dimension of its earlier agenda to focus on women getting a leg up in the job market, breaking the glass ceiling, and finding emancipation through entry into the market. Undoubtedly this gave women a new sort of power, as members of the waged working and middle classes with the ability to act collectively in the workplace - as white- and blue-collar workers, women had a potential strength that differed from the atomized unwaged work of the home. But such priorities were no longer framed within an anticapitalist agenda or struggle, and overlapped easily with the drive to tap into a pool of labor hitherto outside of the market.

drawing on Nancy Fraser

something i just realised: how analogous is this to 'free software' getting co-opted (or overtaken, superseded, destroyed) by 'open source'? is that a useful comparison?

—p.16 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 1 year, 3 months ago
23

[...] It appears increasingly obvious that the ecological systems on which life depends cannot endure the ravages of capitalism indefinitely. To be sure, we need to guard against seeing the crises we are living through as automatically auspicious moments for radicals - after the deluge, us. Crises unleash many things, a great deal of them not the least bit amenable to the left, much less to an overarching radical vision of social transformation. Capital is in the process of resolving the crisis by imposing ever more neoliberal austerity, which ensures that the type of capitalism ahead will be a particularly unstable one. The triumphalism of capitalism, however, has crumbled away and pessimism may be lifting. The future is unwritten. One can only hope that a route out of the darkness will be navigated, where the discontents are finally able to seize control of their collective destinies.

pretty!

—p.23 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] It appears increasingly obvious that the ecological systems on which life depends cannot endure the ravages of capitalism indefinitely. To be sure, we need to guard against seeing the crises we are living through as automatically auspicious moments for radicals - after the deluge, us. Crises unleash many things, a great deal of them not the least bit amenable to the left, much less to an overarching radical vision of social transformation. Capital is in the process of resolving the crisis by imposing ever more neoliberal austerity, which ensures that the type of capitalism ahead will be a particularly unstable one. The triumphalism of capitalism, however, has crumbled away and pessimism may be lifting. The future is unwritten. One can only hope that a route out of the darkness will be navigated, where the discontents are finally able to seize control of their collective destinies.

pretty!

—p.23 Introduction (1) by Sasha Lilley 1 year, 3 months ago
27

[....] The whole capitalist system is operated by market imperatives, the compulsions of competition, profit-maximization, and capital accumulation.

Why don't commerce or trade in goods constitute capitalism, as some might assume?

EMW: I make a distinction between market opportunities and market imperatives. And I think it’s only in capitalism that you have a system in which people are obliged, are compelled, to enter the market simply to guarantee their own existence and their own self-reproduction. There have been markets throughout history in which people have brought their surpluses to sell, but there’s never been a system before capitalism in which producers and appropriators both were absolutely dependent on the market for their most basic conditions of life and therefore compelled to follow the dictates of the market in order to sustain themselves.

—p.27 Empire in the Age of Capital (27) by Ellen Meiksins Wood 1 year, 3 months ago

[....] The whole capitalist system is operated by market imperatives, the compulsions of competition, profit-maximization, and capital accumulation.

Why don't commerce or trade in goods constitute capitalism, as some might assume?

EMW: I make a distinction between market opportunities and market imperatives. And I think it’s only in capitalism that you have a system in which people are obliged, are compelled, to enter the market simply to guarantee their own existence and their own self-reproduction. There have been markets throughout history in which people have brought their surpluses to sell, but there’s never been a system before capitalism in which producers and appropriators both were absolutely dependent on the market for their most basic conditions of life and therefore compelled to follow the dictates of the market in order to sustain themselves.

—p.27 Empire in the Age of Capital (27) by Ellen Meiksins Wood 1 year, 3 months ago
49

What was the chain of events that helped facilitate the process of developing countries becoming beholden to institutions like the IMF and the World Bank which dictated neoliberal policies—starting with the OPEC oil crisis of the early 1970s and the petrodollars that were produced by those countries in the Middle East that had oil?

DH: There’s a very interesting story to be told about that and I’m not sure it has been fully elaborated upon yet. With the OPEC oil price hike in 1973, a vast amount of money was being accumulated by the Saudis and other Gulf states. And then the big question was: well, what’s going to happen to that money? Now, we do know that the U.S. government was very anxious that that money be brought back to New York, to be circulated back into the global economy via the New York investment banks, and persuaded the Saudis to do that. Why the Saudis were persuaded to do it remains a bit of a mystery. We know from British intelligence sources that the U.S. was actually prepared to invade Saudi Arabia in 1973, but whether the Saudis were told: recycle the money through New York or you get invaded … who knows?

Now, the New York investment banks then had vast amounts of money. Where were they going to invest it? The economy wasn’t doing very well at all in 1974–75, as, all over, it was in depression. Citibank head Walter Wriston came up with the comment that the safest place to invest the money is in countries, because countries can’t disappear—you always know where they are. And so they started to make the money available to many countries like Argentina, Mexico—Latin America was very popular—but also places like Poland even. They lent a lot of money to those countries.

That worked out quite well for a while, but then in 1982 there was this general fiscal crisis, particularly after Volcker had raised the interest rate. What this meant was that the Mexicans who had borrowed money at 5 percent were now having to pay it back at 16 percent or 17 percent, and they found they couldn’t do it. Mexico was about to go bankrupt in 1982. That was the point at which neoliberalism kicked in. The U.S. via the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury said: we’ll bail you out, but we’ll bail you out on condition that you start to privatize and open up the country to foreign investment and start to adopt a neoliberal stance. Initially the Mexicans really didn’t do that very much, but by the time you get to 1988 they start to do it sort of big time.

But here’s the interesting thing: it’s unreasonable to think that actually the U.S. imposed neoliberalization on Mexico. What happened was that the U.S. was putting neoliberalizing pressures on Mexico and an elite inside of Mexico seized the opportunity to say: yes, that’s what we want. So it was a coalition between the elite in Mexico and the U.S. Treasury/IMF that put together the kind of neoliberalization package that came to Mexico in the late 1980s. And actually, if you look at the pattern, it’s very rare for there to be a straight imposition of neoliberalizing policies through the IMF or the U.S. It’s nearly alwaysan alliance between an internal elite, as it had been in Chile, and U.S. forces that put this thing together. And it’s the internal elite who are as much to blame for neoliberalization as the international institutions.

shieeet

—p.49 The Rise of Neoliberalism and the Riddle of Capital (43) by David Harvey 1 year, 3 months ago

What was the chain of events that helped facilitate the process of developing countries becoming beholden to institutions like the IMF and the World Bank which dictated neoliberal policies—starting with the OPEC oil crisis of the early 1970s and the petrodollars that were produced by those countries in the Middle East that had oil?

DH: There’s a very interesting story to be told about that and I’m not sure it has been fully elaborated upon yet. With the OPEC oil price hike in 1973, a vast amount of money was being accumulated by the Saudis and other Gulf states. And then the big question was: well, what’s going to happen to that money? Now, we do know that the U.S. government was very anxious that that money be brought back to New York, to be circulated back into the global economy via the New York investment banks, and persuaded the Saudis to do that. Why the Saudis were persuaded to do it remains a bit of a mystery. We know from British intelligence sources that the U.S. was actually prepared to invade Saudi Arabia in 1973, but whether the Saudis were told: recycle the money through New York or you get invaded … who knows?

Now, the New York investment banks then had vast amounts of money. Where were they going to invest it? The economy wasn’t doing very well at all in 1974–75, as, all over, it was in depression. Citibank head Walter Wriston came up with the comment that the safest place to invest the money is in countries, because countries can’t disappear—you always know where they are. And so they started to make the money available to many countries like Argentina, Mexico—Latin America was very popular—but also places like Poland even. They lent a lot of money to those countries.

That worked out quite well for a while, but then in 1982 there was this general fiscal crisis, particularly after Volcker had raised the interest rate. What this meant was that the Mexicans who had borrowed money at 5 percent were now having to pay it back at 16 percent or 17 percent, and they found they couldn’t do it. Mexico was about to go bankrupt in 1982. That was the point at which neoliberalism kicked in. The U.S. via the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury said: we’ll bail you out, but we’ll bail you out on condition that you start to privatize and open up the country to foreign investment and start to adopt a neoliberal stance. Initially the Mexicans really didn’t do that very much, but by the time you get to 1988 they start to do it sort of big time.

But here’s the interesting thing: it’s unreasonable to think that actually the U.S. imposed neoliberalization on Mexico. What happened was that the U.S. was putting neoliberalizing pressures on Mexico and an elite inside of Mexico seized the opportunity to say: yes, that’s what we want. So it was a coalition between the elite in Mexico and the U.S. Treasury/IMF that put together the kind of neoliberalization package that came to Mexico in the late 1980s. And actually, if you look at the pattern, it’s very rare for there to be a straight imposition of neoliberalizing policies through the IMF or the U.S. It’s nearly alwaysan alliance between an internal elite, as it had been in Chile, and U.S. forces that put this thing together. And it’s the internal elite who are as much to blame for neoliberalization as the international institutions.

shieeet

—p.49 The Rise of Neoliberalism and the Riddle of Capital (43) by David Harvey 1 year, 3 months ago
52

DH: Accumulation by dispossession is, to me, a very important concept. And it doesn’t simply apply in the periphery of the global capitalist economy. For example, in Mexico, the reform of the land system there, privatizing land, has forced many peasants off the land. The result is the land has gone into few people’s hands. So you get concentration of wealth and power in agriculture in Mexico going on very fast and the creation of a landless proletariat asa result. Now, in this country we have analogous things going on in terms of what’s happening to family farming. That lot of family farmers can no longer make it and they’re being taken over by agribusiness. One of the mechanisms there, of course, is through indebtedness, that people borrow, they get into debt, they can’t pay off their debts, and in the end they have to sell out sometimes at rock bottom prices.

Accumulation by dispossession takes many local forms. I think, for example, the whole use of eminent domain in this country to dispossess people of their housing is a very good example of this. But then also we have the loss of pension rights. People who thought they had very good pensions with United Airlines suddenly find they don’t, because the company went bankrupt and then shed its pension obligations. The same thing happened through Enron and the like. So there’s a tremendous amount of dispossession of wealth and assets going on around the world. And then when you ask yourself the question, how is it, for instance, that healthcare has become less and less affordable in this country, more and more people are being dispossessed of the right to healthcare? You ask yourself the question, who is getting rich in this situation? Well, it’s those very, very small elite who are getting so much money they don’t know what to do with it. You look at the Wall Street bonuses, or something of that kind, you say, how come they’re getting bonuses of millions of dollars when people are losing their healthcare? And I want to say we have to connect those things.

—p.52 The Rise of Neoliberalism and the Riddle of Capital (43) by David Harvey 1 year, 3 months ago

DH: Accumulation by dispossession is, to me, a very important concept. And it doesn’t simply apply in the periphery of the global capitalist economy. For example, in Mexico, the reform of the land system there, privatizing land, has forced many peasants off the land. The result is the land has gone into few people’s hands. So you get concentration of wealth and power in agriculture in Mexico going on very fast and the creation of a landless proletariat asa result. Now, in this country we have analogous things going on in terms of what’s happening to family farming. That lot of family farmers can no longer make it and they’re being taken over by agribusiness. One of the mechanisms there, of course, is through indebtedness, that people borrow, they get into debt, they can’t pay off their debts, and in the end they have to sell out sometimes at rock bottom prices.

Accumulation by dispossession takes many local forms. I think, for example, the whole use of eminent domain in this country to dispossess people of their housing is a very good example of this. But then also we have the loss of pension rights. People who thought they had very good pensions with United Airlines suddenly find they don’t, because the company went bankrupt and then shed its pension obligations. The same thing happened through Enron and the like. So there’s a tremendous amount of dispossession of wealth and assets going on around the world. And then when you ask yourself the question, how is it, for instance, that healthcare has become less and less affordable in this country, more and more people are being dispossessed of the right to healthcare? You ask yourself the question, who is getting rich in this situation? Well, it’s those very, very small elite who are getting so much money they don’t know what to do with it. You look at the Wall Street bonuses, or something of that kind, you say, how come they’re getting bonuses of millions of dollars when people are losing their healthcare? And I want to say we have to connect those things.

—p.52 The Rise of Neoliberalism and the Riddle of Capital (43) by David Harvey 1 year, 3 months ago
83

[...] Has globalization become a euphemism for imperialism or are these distinct phenomena?

LP: I think one should try to retain these terms in somewhat of a separate way. I don’t think that we should transfer all the meaning that the word capitalism or global capitalism or even globalization has to the term imperialism. I think imperialism is very much a state thing. It is associated with the stage of capitalism we’re in, and its global nature, but it’s not quite the same thing.

I think globalization or global capitalism is about some of the things that Doug referred to at the beginning, this massive increase in the proportion of world gross national product that is traded internationally—the enormous flow of capital, including foreign direct investment, both of which entailed therefore the need for the flow of money for financial capital to grease the wheels of trade and foreign direct investments and of course on the basis of that, one gets a whole lot of financial capital feeding on itself. Not all of which is speculation. Some of it is risk management and so on. So you get this enormous body of financial capital at a global level, always centered primarily on Wall Street, to some extent, and the City of London. And a lot of the surplus of what is produced in the world ends up back in those places where it’s reallocated, even if it’s produced in China or wherever.

So I think globalization is a real thing and I think it’s also associated to some extent with this fourth industrial or technological revolution we’re living through—the digital revolution or the computer revolution. I don’t think it’s caused by it but it’s an element in it that is part of this process of globalization. And a lot of people point to that calling it things, like Manuel Castells does, the “network society” and so on, which may be going too far, but it’s an important element in it.

—p.83 Demystifying Globalization (78) by Doug Henwood, Leo Panitch 1 year, 3 months ago

[...] Has globalization become a euphemism for imperialism or are these distinct phenomena?

LP: I think one should try to retain these terms in somewhat of a separate way. I don’t think that we should transfer all the meaning that the word capitalism or global capitalism or even globalization has to the term imperialism. I think imperialism is very much a state thing. It is associated with the stage of capitalism we’re in, and its global nature, but it’s not quite the same thing.

I think globalization or global capitalism is about some of the things that Doug referred to at the beginning, this massive increase in the proportion of world gross national product that is traded internationally—the enormous flow of capital, including foreign direct investment, both of which entailed therefore the need for the flow of money for financial capital to grease the wheels of trade and foreign direct investments and of course on the basis of that, one gets a whole lot of financial capital feeding on itself. Not all of which is speculation. Some of it is risk management and so on. So you get this enormous body of financial capital at a global level, always centered primarily on Wall Street, to some extent, and the City of London. And a lot of the surplus of what is produced in the world ends up back in those places where it’s reallocated, even if it’s produced in China or wherever.

So I think globalization is a real thing and I think it’s also associated to some extent with this fourth industrial or technological revolution we’re living through—the digital revolution or the computer revolution. I don’t think it’s caused by it but it’s an element in it that is part of this process of globalization. And a lot of people point to that calling it things, like Manuel Castells does, the “network society” and so on, which may be going too far, but it’s an important element in it.

—p.83 Demystifying Globalization (78) by Doug Henwood, Leo Panitch 1 year, 3 months ago