Leftwing critiques of philanthropy are not new and so it is unsurprising that the Effective Altruism movement, which regards philanthropy as one of its tools, has been a target in recent years. Similarly, some Effective Altruists have regarded anti-capitalist strategy with suspicion. This essay is an attempt at harmonizing Effective Altruism and the anti-capitalism. My attraction to Effective Altruism and anti-capitalism are motivated by the same desire for a better world and so personal consistency demands (...) reconciliation. More importantly however, I think Effective Altruism will be less effective in realizing its own ends insofar as it fails to recognize that capitalism restricts the good we can do. Conversely, insofar as anti-capitalists fail to recognize the similarity in methods which underlie Effective Altruism thinking about the world, it too risks inefficiency or worse, total failure in replacing capitalism with a more humane economic system. I first argue that Effective Altruism and anti-capitalism are compatible in principle by looking at similarities between Effective Altruist theory and some Marxist writing. I then go on to show that the theoretic compatibility can be mirrored in practice. I demonstrate this by considering and replying to objections to anti-capitalism as they might be raised by Effective Altruists and by replying to objections to Effective Altruism as they might be raised by anti-capitalists. I conclude by suggesting that their reconciliation would lead to better outcomes from the perspective of a proponent of either view. In short, an “Anti-Capitalist Effective Altruism” is not just possible, it’s preferable. (shrink)
ABSTRACT I link the fundamentalist zeal of Trumpism to its romantic anti-capitalist ideology, and I argue that Trumpism and its European counterparts have appropriated the imaginative plot of romantic anti-capitalism from its place in the Leftist lexicon. The creed-makers of Trumpism now announce that the machinery of capital, which was supposed to belong to the common person, is managed by career politicians and over-educated apologists on behalf of a class that will do anything to keep others from (...) its ranks. I make the case that the ideological successes of Trumpism attest to the continued draw of romantic anti-capitalism and to the Left’s mistake of leaving the romantic imagination unfortified by enfranchising political initiatives. I cite a number of recent speeches by right-wing pundits and politicians, and I analyse them as inheritors of an expanding nationalism tied to romantic anti-capitalist ideologies. I turn to Agnes Heller’s approach to assessing populism and romanticism, both as part as her seminal evaluations of modernity and justice, and in the popular opinion pieces, essays, and lectures delivered during the last years of her life. (shrink)
The anti-capitalist debate has traditionally drawn up battle lines between oppressed individuals on the one hand, and an oppressive system on the other. While this has high rhetorical value, it is based on imprecise use of language. The language confuses an amoral system with im/moral agents but at the same time uses anthropomorphic language to lend capitalism moral agency. This inevitably leads to a confused debate. Given that all opponents of capitalism want the reformation of what they (...) see as a flawed system, precision in the use of the language employed would move the debate into arenas of action, and thus the debate is more likely to generate change. (shrink)
This book examines the origins of philosophy in Greek Antiquity and considers key moments of philosophic history as related to revolutionary change, from the French Revolution of 1789 to the May Events of 1968 and beyond. David Black reads Hegel’s philosophy—which seems to come to the fore at various “birthtimes in history”—as anticipating Marx’s critique of capital, in which the logic of the system intimates a realm beyond it.
A critique of neo-liberal academia and platform cultures, Knowledge, Spirit, Law: Book 2, The Anti-capitalist Sublime closes the "Knowledge, Spirit, Law" project (2014-2016). The project included the conclusion of PhD studies in Australia, in 2014, and subsequent post-doctoral activities in Europe and the USA, 2014-2016.
I map a queer reading of Toni Morrison’s novel Paradise at the intersection of sexuality, gender, race and class. Both poststructuralist and materialist in its approach, the analysis reads the identity formations reflected in the 8-Rock men and the Convent women as discursive fictions of stable subjectivity that, despite their apparent differences, actually constitute each other in capitalist networks of power.
This book discusses how rational choice theory grew out of RAND's work for the US Air Force. It concentrates on the work of William J. Riker, Kenneth J. Arrow, James M. Buchanan, Russel Hardin, and John Rawls. It argues that within the context of the US Cold War with its intensive anti-communist and anti-collectivist sentiment, the foundations of capitalist democracy were grounded in the hyper individualist theory of non-cooperative games.
This article reviews Alex Anievas and Kerem Nişancıoğlu’s How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism. It argues that the book offers a stimulating and ambitious approach to solving the problems of Eurocentrism and the origins of capitalism in growing critical scholarship in historical sociology and International Relations. However, by focusing on the ‘problem of the international’ and proposing a ‘single unified theory’ based on uneven and combined development, the authors present a history of international (...) relations that trades off methodological openness and legal complexity for a structural and exclusive consequentialism driven by anti-Eurocentrism. By misrepresenting the concept of social-property relations in terms of the internal/external fallacy, and by confusing different types of ‘internalism’ required by early-modern jurisdictional struggles, the book problematically conflates histories of international law and capitalism. These methodological problems are contextualised by examples from the Spanish, French and British empires’ conceptions of sovereignty and jurisdiction and their significant legal actors and processes. (shrink)
This article focuses on applying some of Žižek’s theoretical work to a specific space within the capitalist conjuncture, the pub. Jürgen Habermas’ influential conception of the public sphere has shown the important role of the caffeine-centric cafés of the past in producing a lively democratic movement. As most any trip to a post-modern coffeehouse will attest, however, such locations have become little more than outlets for free and always individualized Wi-Fi. But the local pub, in the current political climate, has (...) attained something more. The central argument here is that pub culture, built on neither action nor reaction, is the last bastion of anti-capitalism. Indeed, if Bartleby’s “I’d prefer not to,” was an effective response to the demands of capitalism in the work place, then “I’d prefer another” does such duty with even more resistance and relevance for the present. To make this case, and explore its implications, I will turn to key insights from theorists such as Žižek, Lawrence Grossberg, and Deleuze and Guattari, while also comparing and contrasting today’s global pub culture to that of the historical role of the café. (shrink)
Islamic sociologist Ali Shariati is a leading figure of the reconstruction of religious thought in the Islamic world known especially for his anti-capitalist stance and leftist reading of Islamic history. In the philosophy of history that he developed, he classified religions as religions of tawheed and religions of shirk. According to this new reading of history, the main struggle is not between religion and secularism but between religions of tawheed and of sheerk. The issue of the gaining and the (...) distribution of the property is central to his classification. Shariati argued that followers of tawheed and of sheerk can be found in all religions including Islam. To support his argument Shariati explored how capitalistic understanding of Islam has been developed and legalised while anti-capitalist messages and orders of Islam were marginalised and illegalised just after the death of the Prophet Mohammed. He analysed the rivalry between his close companions over the content of a proper Islamic economic order and how this rivalry gave way to two contradicting understanding of Islam, marks of which can be seen today in the contemporary Muslim world. He coined the term ‘abluted capitalism’ to define the economic policies of Muslim sovereigns to make Islam compatible with capitalist economic principles. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I Philosophical Methods and Capitalist Processes: -- Means, Definitions, Intentions -- 1. The Evasiveness of Corporate Capitalism -- 2. The Political State -- 3. The Capitalist Corporation -- 4. The Contradictions of Capitalism -- 5. Intentional Systems --Part II Reasons, Causes and Practices in Contemporary -- Corporate Capitalism -- 6. Classical Sociology andManagerialism -- 7. Management Discourses -- 8. The Macro Issues Behind Executive Pay -- 9. Corporatism and the Corporate Capitalist State (...) -- 10. Corporate Capitalist States and International Relations --Part III The Disabled Political Will and Anti-Political -- Philosophy -- 11. The Mechanics of Disablement -- 12. The Anti-Political Self-Defeat of Mannheim -- 13. Popper's Anti-Political Philosophical Tendencies -- 14. Hayek and the Mature Anti-Political Philosophy -- 15. Nozick's Anti-Political Philosophy -- 16. Fukuyama's Anti-Political Philosophy -- 17. The Need for Rational Utopian Thinking. (shrink)
What capitalist economics call business or trade cycles with their recessions and depressions, and Marxists, in terms of surplus value and exploitation, call crises are fundamental misunderstandings of what Bernard Lonergan conceives as the true intelligibility of the rhythms of production and monetary circulation of the advanced exchange economy. In his circulation analysis he expresses the intelligibility of macroeconomic dynamics in terms of a pure cycle that involves the anti-egalitarian flows proper to new surplus or productive goods expansion and (...) the egalitarian flows proper to basic or consumer goods expansion, which Marxists correctly complain are not fully carried out. Crucial to the smooth expansion are (1) the crossover payments between surplus and basic monetary circuits in harmony with the phases of economic development, (2) the re-understanding of profit not as a criterion of economic activity but as involving a group interest that does not strictly 'belong' to capitalist entrepreneurs, and yet cannot be negotiated by a socialist bureaucracy. The issue is not greed on the part of either capitalists or workers but ignorance, which this analysis tries to correct. /// O presente artigo mostra de que modo aquilo que na economia capitalista é considerado como um ciclo de negócio ou de comércio com as suas respectivas reces-sões e depressões, e os Marxistas, interpretando o fenómeno em termos de mais-valia e de exploração, chamam de crises, é concebido por Bernard Lonergan nos termos de uma verdadeira inteligibilidade dos ritmos de produção e da circulação monetária próprios à economia de mercado avançada. Lonergan exprime na sua análise da circulação económica a inteligibilidade da dinâmica macroeconómica em termos de um puro ciclo que envolve as cadências anti-igualitárias próprias a novos excedentes comerciais ou expansão dos bens produtivos e as cadências igualitárias próprias à expansão dos bens básicos ou de consumo, o qual os Marxistas, com justiça, consideram que no capitalismo não são completamente cumpridas. Lonergan mostra, assim, que crucial para uma expansão equilibrada é necessário (1) o cruzamento de pagamentos entre excedentes e circuitos monetários básicos em harmonia com as fases do desenvolvimento económico, (2) uma nova compreensão do lucro não como critério da actividade económica, mas como envolvente do interesse grupal que não pertence estritamente a empresários capitalistas, e contudo não pode ser negociada por uma burocracia socialista. Deste modo, mostra-se que o problema fundamental da economia não é o egoísmo da parte dos capitalistas ou dos trabalhadores, mas sim a ignorância, problema este que Lonergan, mediante a sua análise, tenta corrigir. (shrink)
Discourse on food ethics often advocates the anti-capitalist idea that we need less capitalism, less growth, and less globalization if we want to make the world a better and more equitable place. This idea is also familiar from much discourse in global ethics, environment, and political theory, more generally. However, many experts argue that this anti-capitalist idea is not supported by reason and argument, and is actually wrong. As part of the roundtable, “Ethics and the Future of (...) the Global Food System,” the main contribution of this essay is to explain the structure of the leading arguments against this anti-capitalist idea, and in favor of well-regulated capitalism. I initially focus on general arguments for and against globalized capitalism. I then turn to implications for the food, environment, climate change, and beyond. Finally, I clarify the important kernel of truth in the critique of neoliberalism familiar from food ethics, political theory, and beyond—as well as the limitations of that critique. (shrink)
In Anti-Oedipus, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari maintain that nature is a process in which there is neither nature nor human being, except as a single reality produced in the processes of production, distribution and consumption, where distributions are immediately consumed and the consumptions immediately reproduced. In its historical realization, this is the process of capitalism, which must be an effect of such processes, processes of nature and human nature. This gives rise to this question: given the rules (...) governing nature, including human nature, how much contingency is there and how much determinism? And ultimately, is capitalism inevitable? (shrink)
Cedric J. Robinson and others have criticized “Marxism” for “its inability to comprehend either the racial character of capitalism…or mass movements outside Europe.” Whatever the merits of this criticism for “standard Marxism,” Marx’s own thought is neither “economistic” nor Eurocentric, it does not deny historical agency to the struggle against anti-black racism in its own right, and it does not reduce that struggle to the European class struggle. By exploring Marx’s Civil War journalism and correspondence as well as (...) his critique of political economy, this essay demonstrates that Marx’s philosophy of liberation conceptualizes the revolutionary struggle to abolish slavery as an epoch-making worldhistorical freedom struggle, both as a Black liberation movement and also as a necessarycondition for the development of the international working class. A little known Blackled revolt in Bolivar, Missouri in 1859 is Marx’s clue to the meaning and significance of the American Civil War. (shrink)
Seventy years ago James Burnham was a well-known American intellectual figure. Burnham’s 1941 book The Managerial Revolution, a cause célèbre, provided some of the conceptual framework for George Orwell’s 1984. Cornelius Castoriadis at the time was an obscure Greek-French political intellectual, writer and small-group organizer. He co-founded the left-wing Socialisme ou Barbarie in Paris in 1949 while Burnham was already on a rightward intellectual trajectory. The two, though, shared certain traits. Both emerged from Trotskyist milieus as critics of bureaucratic collectivism. (...) Both were anti-communists. Both were gifted writers and thinkers who were distinctly unorthodox in their approach, notably their scepticism about 20th-century managerial society and bureaucratic forms of capitalism. Then there were the divergences. At its inception in 1955 Burnham joined National Review, the principal organ of modern centre-right conservative opinion in the United States. Castoriadis became a leading figure of the French self-management left. Based on his Christian Gauss Seminar at Princeton, Burnham’s 1964 book Suicide of the West offered the most potent intellectual critique of left-liberalism ever produced. In ‘Proletariat and Organization 1’, Castoriadis referred to Burnham’s ‘pseudoanalysis’ of bureaucracy. Burnham was not a self-management advocate. As he abandoned Marxism his social philosophy drew on Vilfredo Pareto and other Machiavellian social theorists. The paper explores the affinities and the divergent political trajectories of two of the 20th century’s most interesting anti-bureaucratic thinkers. (shrink)
Este artículo estudia afinidades no exploradas entre la teoría del capitalismo de El Anti-Edipo y algunas discusiones sobre la reproducción social en el marxismo feminista. Por un lado, el capitalismo, con su movimiento de decodificación de flujos, tiende a disolver a la familia bajo movimientos desterritorializados. Por el otro, supone una reterritorialización edípica en cuanto separa el parentesco de las relaciones de producción, fundando una escisión históricamente novedosa. La distinción entre axiomática y reterritorializaciones capitalistas, en este contexto, aparece como (...) una forma conceptual adecuada para analizar la relación entre familia y capitalismo en términos feministas-marxistas. (shrink)
A User's Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia is a playful and emphatically practical elaboration of the major collaborative work of the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. When read along with its rigorous textual notes, the book also becomes the richest scholarly treatment of Deleuze's entire philosophical oeuvre available in any language. Finally, the dozens of explicit examples that Brian Massumi furnishes from contemporary artistic, scientific, and popular urban culture make the book an important, perhaps even central text (...) within current debates on postmodern culture and politics.Capitalism and Schizophrenia is the general title for two books published a decade apart. The first, Anti-Oedipus, was a reaction to the events of May/June 1968; it is a critique of "state-happy" Marxism and "school-building" strains of psychoanalysis. The second, A Thousand Plateaus, is an attempt at a positive statement of the sort of nomad philosophy Deleuze and Guattari propose as an alternative to state philosophy.Brian Massumi is Professor of Comparative Literature at McGill University. (shrink)
This article highlights the impasses of anti-racist struggles that understand racism as an opinion or a prejudice and use education as their only means for addressing it. Racism should rather be understood as a socio-historical subjective structure rooted in the process of constitution of the division of labour on a global scale through colonialism, a process that was crucial to the institution of capitalism. This is why we will put forth the importance of rejecting the narrations that camouflage (...) colonization with the idea of civilization, and the necessity to produce decolonial counter-histories. We will thus claim that such an endeavor should start from the struggles of racialized peoples against the different forms of coloniality—that is, from the refusal by racialized peoples of the representations that are imposed on them, and from their repositioning on the basis of their alterity. Only the position of a powerful alterity can in fact make possible a real equality.Cet article met en évidence les impasses des luttes antiracistes qui conçoivent le racisme comme une opinion ou un préjugé et utilisent l’éducation comme le seul moyen d’y remédier. Le racisme devrait plutôt être compris comme une structure socio-historique subjective qui s’enracine dans le procès de constitution de la division mondiale du travail par le colonialisme, un procès qui a été décisif pour l’institution du capitalisme. C’est pourquoi nous mettrons en avant le caractère problématique des récits qui recouvrent la colonisation de l’idée de civilisation et la nécessité de produire des contre-histoires décoloniales. Il s’agira alors de montrer que, pour ce faire, il faut partir des luttes des racisés contre les différentes formes de colonialité—c’est-à-dire du refus par les racisés des représentations qui leur sont adressées et de leur repositionnement à partir de leur altérité. Seule la position d’une altérité puissante peut, en effet, rendre possible une égalité réelle. (shrink)
Contemporary German anti-Americanism is not a continuation of earlier anticapitalist, antimodern, and often anti-Semitic anti-Americanism. Rather, since the late 1960s a political anti-Americanism, which accepts capitalism and the extensive Americanization of German society, has emerged. It is a response to specific American foreign policies, but its roots lie in the uneven Americanization of twentieth-century Germany. Anti-Americanism has been fostered by Germany’s nonliberal variety of capitalism, by its more egalitarian social policies, by its greater (...) secularism, by its more influential environmental movements, and by memories of World War II. Political anti-Americanism is likely to last beyond the current Iraq War crisis. (shrink)
This paper argues that the Qur’an must be understood as an anti-capitalist text. The Qur’an contains many verses that declare unequivocally the accumulation of wealth and monopoly ownership, either by the one person or one group, to be highly problematic ethically and socially. Qur’anic verses attend frequently to the issues of ownership and the accumulation of wealth. In the first years of the revelation and particularly before the Prophet’s migration to Mecca, the Qur’an discusses frequently the issue of ownership. (...) Before the migration, the Qur’an taught mainly about the exploitative nature of the existing economic system while, in the post-migration era, the Qur’an laid the foundation of a new system in which the accumulation of wealth and ownership monopoly are central causes of ethical and social degeneration. The Qur’an regards the redistribution of wealth to be both a religious duty and an ethical obligation. (shrink)
"The unconscious is not a theatre, but a factory," wrote Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in Anti-Oedipus, instigating one of the most daring intellectual adventures of the last half-century. Together, the well-known philosopher and the activist-psychiatrist were updating both psychoanalysis and Marxism in light of a more radical and "constructivist" vision of capitalism: "Capitalism is the exterior limit of all societies because it has no exterior limit itself. It works well as long as it keeps breaking down."Few (...) people at the time believed, as they wrote in the often-quoted opening sentence of Rhizome, that "the two of us wrote Anti-Oedipus together." They added, "Since each of us was several, that became quite a crowd." These notes, addressed to Deleuze by Guattari in preparation for Anti-Oedipus, and annotated by Deleuze, substantiate their claim, finally bringing out the factory behind the theatre. They reveal Guattari as an inventive, highly analytical, mathematically-minded "conceptor," arguably one of the most prolific and enigmatic figures in philosophy and sociopolitical theory today. The Anti-Oedipus Papers are supplemented by substantial journal entries in which Guattari describes his turbulent relationship with his analyst and teacher Jacques Lacan, his apprehensions about the publication of Anti-Oedipus and accounts of his personal and professional life as a private analyst and codirector with Jean Oury of the experimental clinic Laborde. (shrink)
In this paper I critically engage with Hennie Lötter’s impressive book, Poverty, Ethics and Justice. I discuss his conception of poverty, and offer an interpretation of his claim that poverty is a uniquely human scourge. I exam the various harms of poverty that Lötter discusses. I consider two reasons that he offers for why we have a moral duty to end poverty, and I argue that the reason based on what we can justify to others if we take their human (...) dignity seriously is most compelling. Finally, I argue that Lötter overemphasizes of the moral importance of aid and downplays in the importance of the justice of institutional and structural change. I close by considering the prospects for social equality given our experience of capitalist development as a means for poverty eradication. I consider the moral importance of limits to the achievement of robust equality. (shrink)
Some years ago Ed Freeman and William Evan wrote an article offering a Kantian stakeholder theory of corporate responsibility. Ed was kind enough to allow Tom Beauchamp and me to publish that previously unpublished piece in the second edition of Ethical Theory and Business. That article has appeared in every subsequent edition. But a Kantian theory of stakeholder relationships is not, I believe, a complete Kantian theory of the modem corporation. I believe Ed originally intended to expand that paper into (...) a larger project but Ed’s philosophical interest in pragmatism has distanced him from Kantianism and his writings in stakeholder theory have gone in a different direction. Indeed in this postmodem feminist anti-foundationalist age, Kant is very much out of fashion. Since I am always out of fashion I had no trouble promising Ed I would complete the Kantian piece of the project. This essay is the condensed version and a partial fulfillment of my promise. A Kantian always keeps his promises. (shrink)
This paper seeks to answer the following question: does it still make sense today to speak of political emancipation, in particular in the sense bequeathed to us by Marx, as emancipation from capitalism? I consider three serious objections to this possibility: the objection that reference to “capitalism” is unduly essentialist in view of the multiplicity of historical situations; the anti-utopian objection according to which the programme of emancipation from capitalism lacks any precise, practical content; and the (...) normative objection that emancipation in and of itself does not specify the norms of the putative post-capitalist society. In the final section of the paper, I attempt to respond to these three objections, and seek to outline the different levels at which something like an emancipatory project, understood as a surpassing of capitalism, can still make sense today. (shrink)
This article traces a line of theorisation regarding the state-civil society relationship, from Marx’s early writings to Gramsci’s conception of the integral state. The article argues that Marx developed, through his critique of Hegel, a valuable understanding of the state-civil society connection that emphasised the antagonism between them in capitalist societies. Alternatively, Gramsci’s conception of the ‘integral state’ posits an interconnection and dialectical unity of the state and civil society, where the latter is integrated under the leadership of the former. (...) The article argues that while Marx and Gramsci’s positions are, at first, seemingly incongruous ideas – as to the ‘separation’ in Marx and ‘integration’ in Gramsci – this tension can be bridged when the integral state is understood as being always necessarily unstable. The article argues that this framework can help us understand the contemporary breakdown of political rule in the phenomenon known as ‘anti-politics’. (shrink)
Economics is the only established discipline that is regularly charged not just with including ideologically motivated research programs and hypotheses, but with actually being (at least in its institutionalized mainstream form) an ideology. As Coleman (2002) documents, this charge has followed economics since its modern inception as ‘political economy’ in the eighteenth century. There is a veritable tradition of what Coleman calls ‘anti-economics’, most famously populated by people such as Ruskin and Carlyle, and extending in the contemporary environment to (...) include philosophers John Gray and John Dupré, numerous popular agitators associated with environmentalism and the self-styled ‘anti-capitalist’ and ‘anti-globalization’ movements, and no small number of disillusioned economists. Of course all disciplinary establishments rightly attract critical literature; but as far as I know no one has ever published a book called ‘The Death of Geology’ featuring a hangman’s noose on the cover. Coleman’s compendium of evidence shows conclusively, in case anyone hasn’t been keeping their eyes and ears open, that economics is actively hated by a substantial number of people. There is no other discipline of which this is true, except insofar as some people hate all actual and would-be scientific disciplines from religious, green, or aesthetic motivations. (shrink)
This article explores left critiques of neoliberalism in light of the Black Lives Matter movement’s recourse to the notion of ‘racial capitalism’ in their analyses of anti-Black oppression. Taking a cue from BLM, I argue for a critical theory of racial capitalism that historicizes neoliberalism within a longue durée framework, surfacing racialized continuities in capitalism’s violence. I begin by revealing how neo-Marxist and neo-Foucaultian approaches to neoliberalism, particularly that of David Harvey and Wendy Brown, respectively, partition (...) race from the workings of contemporary capitalism. Such analyses obscure neoliberalism’s differential impact on non-white racialized populations, while simultaneously casting anti-racist struggles as divisive. In contrast, I then trace how the Movement for Black Lives policy platform invokes Cedric Robinson’s work on racial capitalism, investigating the utility of this framework for the movement’s demands. Building on BLM’s turn to the concept of racial capitalism, I finally offer an outline of a critical theory of racial capitalism to better theorize neoliberalism. By historicizing neoliberalism within racial capitalism’s historical arc, such a theory unravels the qualitatively different mechanisms through which racialized populations are pressed into circuits of capital accumulation. It also paves the way to move past the entrenched class-versus-identity debate on the American left. (shrink)