Friday, 15 August 2008

Alice's bubble wrap

The sinking pound

It seems to have started; the great sterling correction. As Johnny Rotton, once famously said "No more cheap holidays in other people's misery."

German economy shrinks in the second quarter

If Germany goes, the Eurozone is toast. Pass the butter, please...

Banks aren't just for saving and borrowing

They can also help you evade taxes.

Why do banks fail in Fridays?

Could it be because it is the start of the weekend, and depositors can't panic and get to the bank?

Core inflation

The Econbrowser site has grown on me. It has some excellent posts.

Merrill Lynch could avoid UK tax bill for decades

I don't believe it! Mother Merrill trying to avoid taxes.

Is There Anyone to Make Euro Zone’s Recession Call?

"Unlike the U.S. and Japan, the euro zone doesn’t have a single, widely-recognized entity that pronounces when an economy is in recession. Calls to the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, drew only shrugs. The European Central Bank and the EU’s Eurostat statistics office also drew a blank."

If no one else is ready to do it, I'll put my hand up and say "Europe is in recession". Now that wasn't so hard, was it?

The Manchester Police are the best in the world

Electro-Kevin thinks that the GMP need to reprioritize. Policing is about catching the evildoers, not protecting chavs from their irritated fathers.

I wish I could retake my A Levels

Hatfield girl has a couple of sample questions from recent papers. Here is my favourite.

"Discuss the Marxist view that institutions such as the mass media maintain the political status quo by spreading the ideas of the dominant class to the rest of society."

If I get any decent answers to this question, I will post them. I will also award an honorary A Level (grade A of course).


CWS said...

Workers of the World unite...

nineL said...

Capitalism, through developing ab all encompassing mass media, new technology and greatly extending globalisation, has significantly strengthened its position internationally, enhancing its ability to ride out crises and gaining more room for manoeuvre against the working class.

The reformist leaders of the traditional Social Democratic and Labour parties and of the trade unions have abandoned any commitment to progressive reforms in favour of the working class and now accept the permanence of the capitalist market. The tendency towards the mutation of traditional reformist organisations into liberal-capitalist parties has dramatically undermined the credibility of socialist ideas. (Again, it is ironic that many former Marxists should be influenced by this shift, when Marxism never accepted that step-by-step reform of capitalism could provide a route to socialism).

As the combined result of these trends, the working class has been to some extent weakened economically, socially, and politically. Technological changes, new management methods and globalisation have undermined the strength of the unions, especially the 'heavy battalions' in industries like coal mining, steel making, engineering, etc.

At the same time, the openly pro-capitalist orientation of the social democratic leaders has politically disorientated large sections of the working class, who have largely been left leaderless in opposing the renewed capitalist offensive. On top of this, the collapse of Stalinism, the only existing model of 'socialism', has demoralised the politically active workers.

There is clearly more than a grain of truth in this presentation of recent events, which reflects real trends and processes. But to conclude from them that socialism has been deferred for fifty years is a one-sided and completely false interpretation of these developments. The most important task of Socialism Today will be to refute this argument. In our future issues we shall seek through factual and theoretical analysis to substantiate the case which we can only boldly outline in this, our inaugural issue. We will affirm the need for an anti-capitalist programme based on the ideas of Marxism and the perspective of a socialist transformation of society.

1989 was an historic turning point -not in our view, the beginning of a new era of flourishing capitalist development, but the end of an exceptional 'golden age' for the bourgeoisie in the advanced capitalist countries and the beginning of protracted economic depression, social polarisation and political upheaval in which the working class will reassert its role as the decisive force for social progress. Far from being 'finished' (or even marginalised) for fifty years, the working class will, in the next period, engage in unprecedented struggles against capitalist oppression -and the workers' aims will once again be expressed in the language of socialism.

In summary, as the question suggests, the capitalist class has used the mass media to spread its ideas to weaker and less organized sections of the Working Class.

Anonymous said...

Here's my crack at the question:

Marx was a worthless plaguariser who thought he was clever for repeating the equally worthless Hegel's historical dialectic but calling it materialist instead of idealist. This let him claim that material reality determines your ideology and that it's impossible to believe anything other than the self-serving contradictions of your own class and own epoch. Therefore everybody except Marxists are wrong about everything they think. Especially critics of Marxism. Because Marxists are the only ones with the right answers we have to do as they say and hand over all institutional power to them. Given that the media is an institution of capitalism and that being determines consciousness, it cannot help but disseminate the false consciousness of the epoch.

Does that cover the cases? I suppose (me being a City boy and all) I should do a bullet point summary:

- All ideas except Marxism are wrong
- Mass media disagrees with Marxism
- Therefore mass media is wrong.


RenterGirl said...

That's so funny. If the question opened: 'It has now been proved that the Marxist view...etc.' and added; 'Discuss with refererence to the standard view of the dominant classes being subverted by the electronic new media e.g. the blogosphere,' I'd have some sympathy.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"Discuss the Marxist view that institutions such as the mass media maintain the political status quo by spreading the ideas of the dominant class to the rest of society."

"As the dominant class (including the mass media) is now effectively Marxist, this is one of very few of Marx' theories that have been born out in practice"

Mark Wadsworth said...

The song starts off with "A Cheap holiday in other peoples misery!", they didn't sing 'no more...

aSteve said...

Political twaddle about Marxism aside, Alice, that's fascinating... and I, for one, want to know more.

I'd looked into the UK's balance of trade in some detail and had some idea about the USA... I knew that BRICS was cash rich and that Germany was economically dominant in Europe... but what I'd really like to know is what the capital flows actually look like.

My hunch is that the UK borrows almost exclusively in Euros and dollars - which I infer from the fact that our foreign exchange reserves are pretty evenly split between Euros, Dollars and Gold by current exchange rates. If I'm right, either the UK is not dependent on borrowing from Japan, Russia, China or Saudi... or, at least, we're not exposed to their exchange rates.

What I'd love to see is an 8-node net-lending graph of the big 3+5... and, ideally a breakdown of the denomination of the debt. Does the USA borrow from China/Saudi and lend to the UK, for example?

I think this is important... especially in this era of historically low interest rates and volatile exchange rates.

Failing further insights from you, where did you get this information? If there is extra detail, I'd be very interested in it.

aSteve said...

Whoops... mispost... Here, I meant to say:

Why do banks fail in Fridays?
Could it be because it is the start of the weekend, and depositors can't panic and get to the bank?

No. The reason is that a failed bank creates an economic shock. If a bank failed for-sure on a working day, traders would try to exploit this - which might cause a domino effect.

Anonymous said...

Banks (in the US) fail on Fridays so the FDIC has time over the weekend to go through the files of the failed bank and be ready on Monday to deal with the customers fo the failed bank.