Saturday 18 July 2015

"Postcapitalism"? Paul Mason Has Been Thinking Too Much Again

Still, a provocation worth a weekend read.

Unfair I know, but hard not to make fun of him & his obsessing with Greece, though.
On the ground in places such as Greece, resistance to austerity and the creation of “networks you can’t default on” – as one activist put it to me – go hand in hand. Above all, postcapitalism as a concept is about new forms of human behaviour that conventional economics would hardly recognise as relevant.
Networks you can't default on, eh?  Sounds like the mafia to me.

The lefties really, really do love this Greek thing: they think it might be ... The Revolution!  Let's see what they've made of it in 12 months' time.  There must be a scenario - let's call it '1789' - in which none of us will be thinking about anything else.



Blue Eyes said...

Sadly Paul Mason is so wrapped up in his own obsessions that he sees evidence that fits his worldview wherever he wants. I feel quite sorry for him, really.

I haven't read the article, but maybe he means a cash economy or even barter-based systems? It seems to me that Greece has been remarkably unaffected by the lack of banks, could that be because only a tiny fraction of the Greek economy ever happened in full view?

Bill Quango MP said...

So the information revolution is going to be an actual revolution. All that free data will undermine capitalism, as everyone has access to everything, for nothing.

But surely this data has always been available? Just not as accessible.
If you wanted to know how to write a wedding speech you could have got the info from the library. Limited choice and longer to access..but still there.

Surely the information revolution is more about ease of access than freedom of access?

The setting up of business and services, free to use, is also hardly "new".
The key dates he himself gives for the social revolutions 1850 - 1950 had numerous examples of charity and societies that operated without the state and on a more charity model.

I think the giveaway that postcapitalism isn't a real thing is
But to make it happen, the entire project of the left, from protest groups to the mainstream social democratic and liberal parties, will have to be reconfigured.

It doesn't exist. But if we change every single idea we have then it will exist.

He's right that revolution tends to spring from famine, prolonged hardship, and imposition of some extra,final, intolerable burden or restriction of freedoms.
But its an epoch shaping event when all those things line up and succeed.
Just as many never did.

I realise Mason is suggesting an organic revolution.Occurring without us even knowing. But that would rather suppose the corporations, financiers, governments etc do nothing at all.

As ND has pointed out numerous times the advantages of the capitalist system is its lack of strict form. The ability to absorb 'the new normal' and carry on as if that was always the way things have been done.

DJK said...

"...capitalism’s replacement by postcapitalism will be ... shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being." Really?

Plenty of wishful thinking there. So all we need to have Marx's dream finally made reality is for a collective, worldwide transformation in the way people think.

Paul Mason can be very good --- his reporting from Greece and from some of the less well-known parts of the British economy has been excellent. But he can be just a tad self-deluded.

Anonymous said...

It's Paul Mason. He's been itching for some kind of Marxist revolution since his first synapses fired as a zygote.

Still recall when Greece first blew up, his Newsnights reports looked an awful lot like an excited virgin with a wallet full of money in a brothel.

Postcapitalism will happen, but it'll be a technological change informing the social change as it always has been, not a bunch of people realizing they've been sold a pup. Lasting social change has always required technology to light the blue touch paper, even the Church figured out that when the printing press appeared on the scene.

dearieme said...

"postcapitalism as a concept": when he was young he should have stuck to looking at the pictures.

roym said...

love it when he 'goes native'

presume each time he books himself a suite at champneys to reset.

hatfield girl said...

"Networks you can't default on, eh? Sounds like the mafia to me."

Absolutely. Along with 'offers you can't refuse'.

Laban Tall said...

IMHO "postcapitalism" will look remarkably like "precapitalism". I'm not at all sure that's a good thing.

"It's true that in a rational economic world, a high-earning working class might be considered a good thing for a nation - and that therefore it's not in our rulers' interest to take us back a hundred years - but that would also have applied for the several hundred years prior to, say, 1860-1960. The post-1945 settlement is not the natural order of things. Before that it was the plebs and the rest - and the will to power, even constrained by Christianity, was strong. Unconstrained, what limits are there?"

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Are these lefties quite so keen on the "Greek thing" now that the Greeks have been comprehensively crushed?

Just wondering...

Phil said...

The man is bat shit crazy.

Like all left-wing economists, he forgets that the economy starts first with the farmer milking the cows, and then expecting to get something back in reward for his hard effort. Information doesn't come into it.

Nick Drew said...

Are these lefties quite so keen ..?

they are watching to see if an anti-austerity uprising takes place, Mr Yacht - and then, whether the EC will throw money ('solidarity') in order to quell it

they all want to keep open the option to join in the fun, free German money etc

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