» Archive for 2008


Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 by Darin Robbins

The following is part one of a series that explores various current economic aspects in a way that illustrates the possibility for new alternatives rather than mapping out detailed new plans.

Each economic system has internal parts that circulate value along with objects and ideas. This implies that use value through production must always be transformed into exchange value and that this exchange is the only method for an economy to meet human needs. The examination of value in its relationship with being reveals a structural aspect to exchange value that in turn limits and determines the possibilities of human action. An economy as an example of finite systems will appear as an infinite universal structure. This appearance would also give the impression that the economic system is both natural and eternal and can not be changed or taken apart. But regardless of the economic system, there is the common phenomenon of a method of production and a consumption that is mediated by some sort of distribution. An economy that emulates cultural creation would have the arrangement of an individual production and a collective use of structures. These structures can either manifest themselves as objects or ideas in an economic sense. The externalization of structures in production through the expression of desire can be an authentic process, but the internalization of structures in use through structural alienation can redirect desire toward a drive for commodities. Therefore, use or consumption in an economy can not be divorced from a process of production, or else it would be a method of control that restricts choices.

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Sunday, December 7th, 2008 by Darin Robbins

Both the culture war and the class war reveal the importance of the political in social life, as well as a broader political spectrum beyond just liberal and conservative.

For the past twenty years or so, there has been two accusations directed toward liberals and conservatives in various media and public debates. The liberals accuse the conservatives of waging culture war, while conservatives accuse the liberals of waging class war. Liberals have been afraid to engage in the culture war since that would require taking an oppositional stance to what has been considered traditional and therefore wholesome. Conservatives are reluctant to engage in the class war since that would reveal a complicity in the current economic drawbacks and exploitation through the various stages of capitalism in the modern era. From an impartial perspective, the two conflicts reveal that there are radical and traditional poor people as well as radical and traditional rich people. The term radical in a cultural sense can be aligned with the new and the avant garde, and the term traditional can be seen as a reluctance toward cultural change or even a direct atavism. For clarification, it should also be noted that the use of the terms rich and poor would imply a difference of opinion on how the benefits of an economy should be distributed and who are the most important actors in an economy. Being poor would imply a collective distribution and action, while being rich would imply an individual distribution and action. In other words, the poor might be inclined to form groups to achieve economic goals, considering their conditions, and the rich would emphasize rugged individualism, also considering their conditions.

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Monday, November 24th, 2008 by Darin Robbins

Workers owning the means of production is still a valid idea, and can support the growth of authentic democracy.

In the last month of the presidential election, Barack Obama’s tax plan was characterized as a redistribution of wealth by conservatives and the Republican Party. This claim was incorrect for two reasons. First, it did not reflect the reality of the platform of the Democratic candidate which was in fact very similar to the approach of John McCain’s platform. Second, the perspective offered on any kind of redistribution of wealth as something negative obscured the actual facts of such an endeavor. A redistribution of wealth, either through taxes or other ways, can only be a short-term solution to issues of wage disparity and economic injustice. Both candidates of the two-party system fail to address the issue of disempowerment in economic terms that can severely limit democracy in political terms. The very idea of a redistribution of wealth points to a structural flaw in capitalism that both candidates agree to ignore, assuming that the overall economic system is sound. But a redistribution of wealth is not as effective as a redistribution of the means of production. This concept, originally advocated by Marx, can extend beyond a strict doctrine of Marxist communism to become an integral component of a new economic method that is more aligned with what American citizens expect of democracy in their society.

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