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[Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International



Hello David Kirshner
Your project is interesting indeed, and Andy B.'s caveats are concepts I
think I agree with.
But I am wondering off the top of my head after reading these posts several
things:
     1.] what is the nature / character of the 'wealth' of the
ultra-wealthy, i.e in terms of
           money but not capital?
     2.] to what extent are the ultra-wealthy benefitting without conscious
intention from capital's brutal profit-producing logics

1.] unpicking the question - while the trillions of US$s owned by the top
0.01% (or whatever) that are stashed in banks are 10 time
     times the global annual GDP, this is not capital =, i.e. productive
investment which will socially reproduce constant capital (C) and
     labour-power (V) - I'm not sure if it is technically 'fictitious
capital', but it certainly does not at present have that 'real' status. But
     crucially for my question, the process which is able to produce these
huge treasure stores, is not one which is originally intended
     'greedily'  to produce a bigger pile, but
2.] unpicked - was originally the result of the normal 'profit' production
(surplus value from the production process) which continues to be
     built up, helped by every current trick in the exploitation book -
zero-hours contracts/off-shoring at super-exploitation wages/ etc.
     This build up - I cannot call it accumulation since is is simply no
longer being invested in production, and that is the non-greedy
     intention of capital, accumulating to increase 'C' , once capitalists
start indulgent spending, we should smell a rat? So, the hoards are
     obviously reaping interest rewards and so Marx's great
'fairytale-error of compound interest' comes into play.

The question to my mind becomes, perhaps, not only one of social
psychology, if it is that at all (Andy B.'s caveat) , but rather, at what
point in the immiseration of both Eastern and Western
working-classes/middle-classes? will productive investment become again the
chosen method of increasing 'wealth' (theirs). One historical method to
retrieve that moment has been the destruction of capital values through
war. This is being used at present, securing resources and squandering
profits in state spending on arms. The risk of further interglobal conflict
(WW3) can be seen growing  IMO. Greed is undoubtedly an unpleasant human
emotion / drive, but its role as *the* driver of the development of the
current global situation is questionable, IMO.
Tom Richardson
Middlesbrough
UK


On 21 January 2014 04:03, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:

> I've been sketching out in my mind, but not yet had time to research and
> write, a paper tentatively titled:
> The Psychology of Greed: Why the Ultra-wealthy are Despoiling the Planet,
> Tanking the Economy, and Gutting our Culture In the Quest for More
>
> The premise is that the psychological metric of our sense of material
> well-being is not accumulation, relative to our own past wealth, but the
> comparative measure of our own wealth in relation to that of others. (I
> believe this is a well-established principle of social psychology.) So, for
> example, instead of trying to grow a bigger economy which requires a large
> and healthy middle-class (this is what would provide more actual wealth for
> the ultra-wealthy), they are eroding the middle-class as quickly as they
> can--a strategy that maximizes disparity.
>
> The major thesis (in the U.S. context) is that the gradual shift in
> political control of the economy over the past 50 years by the
> ultra-wealthy has reached a kind of tipping point in which the gains in
> disparity are so dramatic as to overwhelm any sense of actual
> self-interest. Hence, we see increasingly irrational and self-destructive
> behavior by the ultra-wealthy (e.g., the fraudulent housing bubble that
> created what U.S. economists refer to as The Great Recession). The
> conclusion, of course, is a call to action to take back control of our
> political systems so we can set more rational policies for the economy.
>
> I don't know if this thesis extends so easily beyond the U.S. situation to
> the world, but if this project appeals, I would welcome a collaborative
> effort--perhaps even one that somehow encompasses the whole XMCA listserv
> as co-authors.
>
> David
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+dkirsh=lsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces+dkirsh=lsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
> Sent: Monday, January 20, 2014 7:07 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for the Few | Oxfam International
>
> I guess my response is to be found here in the box marked in red.
> http://lchc.ucsd.edu/People/MCole/index.html
> I think it speaks to the mentalities that are beginning to notice that
> this increasingly dire global situation may spoil their way of life-- and
> everyone else's too.
>
> Dickens' is not a hopeful response. But probably too optimistic
> (Influenced here by reading "Beyond the Beautiful Forever" perhaps).
>
> Martin Luther King day here in the U.S. And King died where? In memphis.
> worrying about sanitation workers.
>
> Nicely timed report.
>
> mike
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 3:59 AM, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <
> pmocombe@mocombeian.com> wrote:
>
> > Fear of the rise of a global class revolution underpinning their (WEF)
> > concerns...too bad the left has no real global revolutionary leaders
> > remaining to confront this current crisis.  The leaders of the
> > postcolonial world are seeking equality of opportunity, recognition, and
> distribution
> > within the framework of the global capitalist world system.   As such, a
> > few of them are getting wealthy at the expense of the masses of
> > colored people getting poorer so that the few can drive fancy
> automobiles (W.E.B.
> > Du Bois' s observation prior to moving to ghana).
> >
> > In the meantime, the leaders of the left are old and dying off.  So in
> > essence, the postcolonial world is supporting the very system put in
> place
> > at the Paris conference to undermine their sovereignty.   Outside a
> handful
> > of leaders in Latin America can anyone name any others in africa,
> > Southeast asia, fighting against the vagaries of global capitalism?
> > On the continent of Africa (outside of Robert mugabe) corrupt and
> > greedy leaders armed by their former colonial masters are too busy
> > killing each other over resources in order to accumulate individual
> > wealth, and southeast asia has become the model for capitalist
> > development in a world environmentally threaten by the accumulative
> logic of of the capitalist world-system.
> >
> > This is truly an insane world!
> >
> >
> > Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > President
> > The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > www.mocombeian.com
> > www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> >
> > <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: rjsp2 <
> > r.j.s.parsons@open.ac.uk> </div><div>Date:01/20/2014  5:21 AM
> >  (GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <
> > xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Working for
> > the Few | Oxfam International </div><div> </div>Even the World
> > Economic Forum sees our current level of inequality as a problem,
> > which suggests that the push for change has allies in some unusual
> > places:
> >
> > "Worsening wealth gap seen as biggest risk facing the world - Global
> > Risks Report 2014"
> > http://www.zurich.com/insight/global-issues/wef/globalrisks.htm
> >
> > Rob
> >
> > On 20/01/2014 04:15, David Preiss wrote:
> > > This will interest (and upset) people in this list.
> > > Nothing that we don't know of, unfortunately.
> > > Just new reasons to keep working/thinking/worrying/protesting, I guess.
> > > David
> > >
> > > http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/working-for-the-few-economic-inequali
> > > ty
> > >
> > >  From the OXFAM's website:
> > >
> > > "Almost half of the world's wealth is now owned by just one percent
> > > of
> > the population, and seven out of ten people live in countries where
> > economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years. The World
> > Economic Forum has identified economic inequality as a major risk to
> > human progress, impacting social stability within countries and
> > threatening security on a global scale.
> > >
> > > This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of
> > > fewer
> > people presents a real threat to inclusive political and economic
> > systems, and compounds other inequalities - such as those between women
> and men.
> > Left unchecked, political institutions are undermined and governments
> > overwhelmingly serve the interests of economic elites - to the
> > detriment of ordinary people.
> > >
> > > In this paper, Oxfam shows how extreme inequality is not inevitable,
> > with examples of policies from around the world which have reduced
> > inequality and developed more representative politics, benefiting all,
> > both rich and poor. Oxfam calls on leaders at the 2014 World Economic
> > Forum at Davos to make the commitments needed to counter the growing
> > tide of inequality."
> > >
> > > David Preiss, Ph.D.
> > > Director
> > > Escuela de Psicología
> > > Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile Av Vicuña Mackenna - 4860
> > > 7820436 Macul
> > > Santiago, Chile
> > >
> > > Fono: (562) 3544605
> > > Fax: (562) 3544844
> > >
> > > web: https://sites.google.com/site/daviddpreiss/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> > -- The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391),
> > an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in
> > Scotland (SC 038302).
> >
> >
> >
>
>