Marx’s influence extends well beyond the self-identified Marxian school to several other important heterodox traditions within economics, though this often passes unrecognised on both sides. Consequently, the proper boundaries of the Marxian school of economics are much wider than either many self-identified Marxists, or indeed crypto-Marxists, generally consider. Each of the Minskian, post-Keynesian, Sraffian, institutional, feminist and social ecological (dominant) schools/branches of heterodox economics make a significant contribution in developing effectively Marxist themes and theory. Self-identified Marxists, as well as crypto-Marxists, stand to benefit intellectually and practically from a mutual recognition of this implicit division of hererodox economics labour.
If the new finance capital does not suppress, but actually intensifies, capitalist competition, then this implies the need for a more thoroughgoing remaking of these institutional forms. The corporation is not an instrument or tool to be wielded, but rather a social relation disciplined by the logic of capital.
Socialists therefore must imagine and construct an alternative form of democratic economic planning to challenge, rather than reinforce, capitalist competition, which is oriented around meeting social needs, rather than serving private profits.
From a left perspective, current capitalist crises need to be solved through devaluation of old fossil and capitalist landscapes, and new landscapes and new spaces for housing, leisure, work, transportation, production and agriculture need to be produced. Considering how dependent our current cities, countries, and global infrastructure are on capital accumulation and fossil fuel, it goes without saying that the challenges will be enormous – and that planners will be needed. But at precisely the moment when we most need a Marxist theory of planning, such a discourse is nowhere to be found in the academic discipline called planning theory.
The renewed interest in Marxism that occurred in the social sciences and humanities after the 2008 economic crisis has not yet found its counterpart in spatial planning. In a recent paper in Antipode, I scrutinize relations between Marxism and spatial planning from three perspectives: first, the vibrant Marxist discourse on planning that actually existed in the late 1970s and early 1980s; second, the recent history (since the 1980s) of planning theory and its relation to the political economy of the period; and third, the current political economic context (not least defined by twin economic and ecological crises).
The term ‘precarity’ has gained significance in the social sciences, as a number of recently publishedinternational compilations illustrate. Responding to the neoliberal transformations of the labor market, precarity emerged as a category attempting not only to describe the prevailing conditions work (marked by the continuous losing of workers’ rights), but also to highlight forms of living and everyday experience characterized by uncertainty, vulnerability, and the sense of being disposable imprinted by neoliberalism upon workers and social subjects.
One of the seminal works about precarity as a political condition is Guy Standing’s The Precariat: A New Dangerous Class, published in 2011. In this work, Standing reflects on the post-fordist model of production and the emergence of a new class conformed by young people, old agers, ethnic minorities and women. Although coming from different backgrounds, all of them form part of what this author calls the precariat due to the lack of resources that guarantee their survival and, therefore, the continuous threatening of their existence. Before this, in 1999, Standing published a paper entitled “Global Feminization Through Flexible Labor: A Theme Revisited” where he […]
France was once the heartland of socialism, but today its left is on the retreat and its far-right emboldened. The roots of this malaise lie in François Mitterrand’s turn from radical reform to neoliberal austerity in the 1980s.