Spring Greetings

When I read the poem “Counterpoint” by Mahmoud Darwish, which was written for Edward Said, I thought how beautiful is the love between two friends who have chosen to be companions in struggle and who support each other in the freedom to find a form for that struggle.

I am two in one
like the wings of a swallow.
If spring is late,
I am content to be the bearer of good news.

He loves a country, and travels from it.

(Is the impossible far off?)

He loves travelling to anything,

and in free travel between cultures,

those who study human essence

may find space enough for all.

(From Counterpoint for Edward Said) by Mahmoud Darwish

Libya: The poverty of analyses

I am confused by the analyses of the anglo-phone left with regards to the social revolts in Libya. The only thing folks seem able to muster are a series of bifurcated abstractions. Thus certain metaphors in the analyses of Libya prevail such as, “greed and grievance”, “patron and client”, “rapacious rule vs innocent population “, “madness vs sanity” etc. Absent from the discussion are: social forces, social base, achievements and contradictions of Libya’s Green revolution, contradictions of liberal-democracy, and the contradictions of market dependency on specific social formations. One of the results of such a skewed discussion is that liberal democracy is idealized as the only viable political order in Libya (or the rest of the world for that matter). This is because absent of an analyses of social processes (which the left seems incapable of doing), liberal democracy gets proffered as at least having the institutional checks and balances to keep evil at bay. Of course, historically we know that this is not true. In fact liberal democracy is very often the problem, as it also entrenches certain odd forms of non-state and state led dictatorship and rule. And no stage-ist theory of history can get around this problem. Liberal-democracy does not necessarily lead to things getting better, sometimes life becomes much more ironically cruel. Modestly, then, we can say that what we need is to build institutions that speak to the specific historical problems of a given social formation. And yet given that the category of evil has been one-sidely operationalized as the concept through which we think about Libya and Ghadaffi, the end result has been that we have all been led down the path as believers of liberal-democracy. In this sense then, it turns out that in fact the left has no alternative vision or plan to what the invading armies propose. Instead, the Western left seems to think it has to support all rebellions in the 3rd world if the rebellion opposes a dictator because dictators are inherently bad things. But are rebels inherently good things? Dictators might be bad, but they usually express something about the internal politics of a country that goes beyond metaphors of evil (which more rightly belong to a bad Greek drama). Such is the case also with rebels. So, if, Ghadaffi has not fallen it is precisely because the Green revolution did achieve something in Libya. The revolution has a social base beyond Ghadaffi’s tribe. Thus, if we are serious about international solidarity we need to figure out what the internal politics of a place is, what has been achieved in that country and what are its contradictions. As I have been saying, supporting rebellions for the sake of supporting rebellions is problematic because everything gets framed as a battle between good and evil. The alternative that ends up being offered actually narrows the space for thinking about and building something different than liberal-democracy anywhere in the world.

Did the Ghadaffi regime change the structures of society in any significant manner? Yes it did. Did the regime defend certain progressive ideas/policies, such as land reform, better prices for oil, massive decrease in child mortality rates, better distribution of wealth and access to state institutions of caring? Yes again. Will it be very difficult to maintain these gains in the present neo-liberal conjuncture? Will it be even more difficult to maintain these gains in a post-Ghadaffi era with a political arrangement that invited imperial forces into the country in the name of human rights? More likely it will be very difficult. So as a good professor at the University of London has pointed out, “it matters that we pay attention to the 25 years added to the average Libyan’s life expectancy (compare that to even more oil rich Nigeria, where life expectancy is decades less), that we recognise that the social outcomes have been so much better for ordinary people than anywhere else in North Africa including Egypt. The point is in no way to say that MG was a benign thing, but I do think almost all the analyses makes no attempt to understand why this kind of regime emerged, and indeed what it achieved.”

Two months ago when there was no real organized insurgency in Libya, we rushed the gun and claimed that the opposition in Libya was part of an Arab spring. We should have analysed the situation better and been more strategic in what we asked for. Now that there is a war, everything has been reduced to a battle between good and evil. But if that is the only game in town, it means we have already lost. This is because the terms are not ours to chose.

In the end many leftists including Gilbert Achcar say we need to intervene in a scenario that was set up so that we can intervene. And that is my point. To me, all Achcar is doing is pointing out the obvious: we in the West set up the scenario so that it had to play out in this way. But as Museveni has pointed out (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/03/24/the_qaddafi_I_know?page=full) what this means is that the opposition prefers to call for imperial intervention in the name of human rights rather than do the hard work of organizing their own people. They remind me of Ignatieff. Should we encourage them to come to power so that we can lose more of what was gained when the 3rd world project was still a viable option? How do we maintain a space where more options are put back on the table. How do we maintain space for a 3rd world project? So far, only Museveni has made any sense to me.

Personhood, Romantic Love and the 3rd world.

By Elleni Centime Zeleke,

My interlocutors seem angry and defensive about my claim that romantic love in north America is sinister. Let me respond to their anger with a few more points.

So, we think of ourselves in the West as having unique attributes, and we define ourselves through the exercise of our individual free will upon those unique attributes.

Indeed our idea of what it means to be free is to be a person who can exercise her free will so as to produce whatever outcome she desires. As a result, we think of alienation as the separation of our will from our creativity such that we cannot recognize ourselves in the things that we make.

But one of the things that I have been arguing is that this notion of the self has been historically produced, which is to say that what we imagine to be an individual is not common to all times and spaces.

On the other hand, the doubly free subject of capitalist social relations is a good way to conceptualize the newly formed modern subject that has free will. This is a subject that is free from social obligations and free to move about and sell their labour where ever they please. But in this sense then the doubly free subject has no corporate identity, instead he or she must rely entirely on his or her own wit and will power in order to survive.

But what we also know is that the doubly free subject is created by economic and social processes. Thus, through the process of establishing capitalist social relations you get new forms of freedom and new ways of being a person. But there is nothing inevitable or foreseen in the social processes that led to the establishment of capitalism in England, Western Europe and North America.

Thus one of the things that I have been arguing is that even as you have capitalism developing in the 3rd world at the same time as it develops in Europe, the creation of the doubly free subject was never complete in the 3rd world.

Indeed, typical of the 3rd world economy is that you have people labouring under a number of different social arrangements in order to make goods for the capitalist market but who have not been transformed by capitalism as such.

On the other-hand the transformation into modern individuals in NA is utterly complete. Thus in NA life is organized around the nuclear family, and the nuclear family assumes that two people out of their own free will can choose each other and so form a family. But the nuclear family is “the gendered family par excellence” (Oyewumi, Oyeronke 2002). It consists of husband and wife who are defined by their gender and sexuality rather than a corporate identity derived from the community. But as such the nuclear family operationalizes and takes for granted the idea of being double free– it assumes a certain historically specific institution related to modernity as its base and its ideal.

On the other hand in the 3rd world people make a living in the informal economy, or through combinations of wage labouring with farming that over laps with remittances and migration. The point is that as capitalism travelled around the world it needed a much smaller labour force when it expanded industrialization (Bernstein, Henry 2004). Thus capitalism promotes a world proletariat but cannot accommodate a generalized living wage (Bernstein, Henry 2004). Reproduction happens under insecure and oppressive conditions, and most often in the informal sector. Here kinship structures, and lineage systems become modernized and adapted to urban spaces and even trans-national spaces as a means to survival (Cooper, Fredrick 2001).

Now, as we have been saying westernized folks tend to take the nuclear family for granted and they define freedom as being doubly free. This produces a number of conceptual problems: 1) It assumes the individual is the bases for organizing society, 2) even when western feminists produce critiques of the family it is based on the fact that in the context of the nuclear family women are subordinated, 3)produces a universal feminist project based on the fact that the nuclear family is universally oppressive, therefore all women must be oppressed, 4)advocates a liberated form of romantic love where the doubly free subject is granted freedom such that he or she can have the kind of the free choice that is exercised between two doubly free subjects.

But what we know is that in real life the nuclear family was never really instituted outside of western Europe and NA. And as I have been arguing a lot of this has to do with the fact that well paid, regular, and routinized wage labour was never commonly available outside of the West and still is not.

On the other hand, what we also know is that under these oppressive economic and historical conditions 3rd world nationalism often calls upon supposedly primordial identities as a way to construct feelings of belonging. Race is often used in this way but ideas of what it means to be a woman is also mobilized in this regard. Indeed, one of the things that is common to the formerly colonized countries is how the modern nation-state mobilizes “invented tradition” as a way to give people a sense of identity and belonging, for example, Tutsi vs Hutu, etc. But in many ways Tutsi and Hutu are entirely modern identities even if formally they are based on a pre-colonial past. This is because the fixing of customary law and ethnic affiliations are actually based on the invented colonial law that was administered through native authorities and native courts (Mamdani, Mahmood 1996).

So one of the things we need to be vigilant about is how so called traditional identities get used to foster a contemporary sense of identity, i.e. a sense of what it means to be African or Indian or whatever, and yet these traditions really have no historical base.

That said we also need to be cognizant of the multiple ways that colonialism and nationalism coupled with the more general transition to capitalist property relations in the colonies has not only transformed the nature of the family, kinship ties and lineage systems, it has also entrenched patriarchal rule.

Here we see that gender does not simply shape a person’s life; rather gender itself is produced and reworked through changes to the governing structures of social and economic conditions. But more importantly, gender is a concept that is increasingly fought over and contested as a means through which people can both shape their own lives but also satisfy certain interests.

For example, the West gazes upon the colonial subject and then claims that the way the colonized subject loves or the way he treats women is backward (and it is always a he that is being addressed in that gaze, after all “the women” are too veiled or too passive and cannot be addressed). But what follows from this is that the West makes policies to reform the backward subject, and as such codifies tradition on the one hand but also introduces new ways of being a man or a woman. Then the colonial subject internalize those ideas of what it means to be both traditional, as well as a modern man or a woman, but since these modes of being can never match up to European expectations, precisely because social relations are organized differently than under fully formed capitalist social relations in the West, the colonial subject still gets called barbaric and backward. But now the colonial subject holds on to the new definition of manhood inherited from the codification of tradition, and says no, look, I am not backwards, but he does this at the expense of making himself more static and more fixed.

How to solve this conundrum? Well, here, the question of hope or liberty clearly is not about individualizing the subject in the vein of fortifying a miniature homo economicus. Rather, the question is how can we take on our already existing collective projects at the level of the nation and also at the level of the transnational. Now, of course the future cannot be predicted, but at least we can say that in this scenario love is established through becoming companions in struggle and supporting the other in the freedom to find a form for that struggle. But here, what we also witness is that love is a sediment that arises from knowing that history and our collective formations are the condition from which to reach out to someone.

This kind of companionship is exactly the opposite of what is encouraged by the doubly free subject. After all romantic coupledom as it is practised in the West is the expression of a doubly free subject, but that expression is the privilege of the richest group of people in the international division of labour. It simply is not available to most people.

On other hand, my interlocutors seem to think that romantic love might give them hope for what ultimately is a dissatisfied existence in the advanced capitalist countries, but as Walter Benjamin has warned, “hope is for the hopeless”. In the end romantic love in North America is about disavowal and retreat from the world, because people are privileged enough to do just that. It is the longing for ahistorical stasis, and a frozen image of reality. Marx also called this animality.

Back in 1844 Marx also knew that freedom as it is expressed by the doubly free subject was the ultimate form of alienation. In opposition to the modern subject he wrote “suffering humanely conceived is the enjoyment of self for man.” I urge my friends that are so firmly committed to romantic love to enter the circle of suffering with their fellow human-beings. My interlocutors might find that they will finally enjoy being in the world so much more.

Questions for the naive left with regards to war

Last week, over at pambazuka.org Sokari Ekine wrote “Two African countries are presently on the verge of civil war. One is being reported minute by minute by international media, twitter and on blogs. The other is just beginning to emerge from the margins of international consciousness. Unlike Libya, Cote d’Ivoire has no strategic importance and the possible loss of its main resource – cocoa – doesn’t have the world financial markets and governments in a panic.”

This week we see that Cote d’ Ivoire is racialized as “hard to understand chaos”, where as Libya is seen as being caught between freedom and barbarity, i.e. becoming more like us in the West or reverting to a primitiveness that is too “African”. But clearly at a higher stage of civilization than Cote d’ Ivoire. Thus, in order to save Libya from itself, we are told that the “international community” must intervene and wage war against the forces of evil.

How did a naive left play into this dichotomy, and in what ways are we to blame for the break out of yet another international war?

One thing I can say is that for those constructing the mainstream story of what was happening in either place, the politics internal to the country was of no consequence.

Saying this is not meant to excuse dictators, rather, I want to get at something else. My question is: did “we” push Libya to the brink in the name of an “Arab revolution” so that it could be handed over to any number of reactionary forces? After all, in Libya were there ever any other social forces for which social revolt could mean anything at the level of governance? Who was organized in that country so that social revolt could have a meaningful benefit?

Indeed, it seems to me that any, even partial knowledge of Libya would have made it clear that the revolts in Libya were largely based with feudal loving groups (for lack of a better word). And I do not mean Islamists here (those folks are “anti-tribal” even if reactionary). The point is there was barely any organized, progressive forces in the country that could channel the various social players to produce some kind of positive outcome other than war. Clearly, a large part of that has to do with the fact that Ghadaffi himself had come to monopolize the language of the progressives. Thus, the work in Libya was to wrest that monopoly from Ghadaffi in theory and practice. Absent of that kind of movement building we could only have been faced with two evils, none of which are kinder or gentler than the other. Instead, real lives are turned into cannon fodder for ideological battles that are happening elsewhere.

As a result, when we called for the colonel’s rapid demise in Libya, as if Libya was indeed Egypt, what we also helped produce was a maximalist situation where the choice could only have been between “barbarity” and a “kinder” French/U.S led war?

So what fate for Libya and what fate for Cote d’Ivoire now that Sarkozy is that much closer to becoming king of the Mediterranean seas?

Well one thing we should acknowledge at a minimum is that in both countries the possibility of building a popular nationalism that speaks to the needs of the populations has been narrowed yet again. Next time the cracks in an authoritarian system open up we should remember that movement building takes years of work, and that spontaneity (if it is to have meaning) is never really spontaneous. Right?

We are not caught between a rock and hard place because we never left the seat of evil. And we will be there again tomorrow.

The Sinister Side of Romance in North America

By Elleni Centime Zeleke

What has always worried me about couples in North America is that they replace the work of belonging to the world with the work of belonging to JUST ONE. And as such they take some of the most banal markers of adult life to be markers of maturity and achievement. In my experience, this tends to make North Americans childish in the most sinister way possible.

Another way of putting it is that couples attempt to overcome humanity’s present day alienation from the world by obsessing over the One. But what this means is that they mistake duty to the One as an end in itself instead of a way to open themselves up to the problem of solving alienation. This happens whether the couple means to do so or not. In a consumer based society achievement gets packaged as being able to amass goods for the empire of two (the couple) since survival of the couple must come at all costs. People spend their lives playing house, and what it means to be an adult is to master the game of monopoly for the sake of playing house.

In this case, being an adult gets reduced to satisfying needs–buying a house, clothes, feeding children. But after satisfying basic nutrition and keeping warm, our needs are socially constructed. Instead of investigating the source of the need, couples act like animals, chasing the satisfaction of their apparent needs when those needs in fact arise from elsewhere than their self-critical self–and yet what it means to be human is to be self-critical. Thus, in the name of love they pursue their own alienation and their own animality.

But in this sense then couples agree to guarantee each other’s childishness. After all, in the standard hetero-normative relationship you do not force the partner to take responsibility for the world. Instead, you stare into the other’s eyes and guarantee for the other that while they may feel alienated from the world, in the context of the relationship they will feel bonded with the One. Coupledom as we live it in North America is always a disavowal of the world. The husband or wife might do charity work or even be involved in politics but the structure of the love relationship is already enfolded into immaturity because it centres around protecting the other from confronting the alienation inherent to the world.

It is for this reason that North Americans often confuse their pets with children and lovers. It is because to love here is fundamentally a narcissistic activity. The least thing you want is for the Other to really talk back, and so truly open you up to the world.

But, this reminds me of a time when as a young woman I went to visit a family friend who was a political prisoner in a third world country. The prisoner had been in and out of the prison hospital, and he had been subjected to mild forms of torture and was already quite old. The prisoner was a family friend and he had heard that I was a feminist. He thought gender was not a wise way to organize politically, but all the same he spent the hour we had together engaging me around this question. A few months later the prisoner passed away and in retrospect I realized that the prisoner must have known that he was gravely sick and about to die even when I went to visit him, but throughout the visit he never talked about himself, nor did he complain about his health. Instead we talked about a world that was greater than both him and I but that tied us together as one. In this way he opened himself up to a life of love and generosity that also questioned the alienation that brought us before the prison guard. In this way, too, he insisted on forcing maturity and responsibility onto me.

That romance could always be this touching! For this I would be grateful. On the contrary, when men ask me to marry them here in North America, it seems they mistake the mastery of playing house with love and responsibility. How banal, and sinisterly so.

What this says to me, however, is that romance is the obsessive but failed attempt to overcome the alienation from things we have already made with our ancestors (and can remake). But the ideology that accompanies the invisible hand of market politics insists upon this alienation. Thus, the accompanying cultural concept to the invisible hand is romance, and it is romance as such that is the opium of the people. But in this case, romance is pure political passivity for it hardly contains a whisper of protest against the world as it exists.  More likely, it is accompanied by eternally unfulfilled personal relationships, which is probably why we cheat and divorce as often as we say “I love you”. It is also why I die a little death whenever I hear someone claim to love another, for sure enough the claim of love is soon to be accompanied by the violence of trying to full-fill what can never be fulfilled by romance through romancing some Other or becoming bored and depressed with the One. Turns out our expectations and experience of love tend to replicate our dissatisfaction with playing in the market, and yet we keep on looking for the One, playing make believe that this is the One, asking ourselves if this is the One, etc. All the while never really growing up to face the world that so desperately needs us to take responsibility for what we have made and need to remake together.


Brad Delong Wrong Yet Again and Again and Again: oh why can’t we have smarter reform liberals

Scandalum Magnatum, takes Brad Delong to task for botching  Kelecki in a recent post.

Brad DeLong damns Kalecki with praise:


Productivity increased 9.5 percent in the nonfarm business sector during the third quarter of 2009 as unit labor costs fell 5.2 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rates). In manufacturing, productivity increased 13.6 percent while unit labor costs fell 7.1 percent…

Back in the 1930s there was a Polish Marxist economist, Michel Kalecki, who argued that recessions were functional for the ruling class and for capitalism because they created excess supply of labor, forced workers to work harder to keep their jobs, and so produced a rise in the rate of relative surplus-value.

For thirty years, ever since I got into this business, I have been mocking Michel Kalecki. I have been pointing out that recessions see a much sharper fall in profits than in wages. I have been saying that the pace of work slows in recessions–that employers are more concerned with keeping valuable employees in their value chains than using a temporary high level of unemployment to squeeze greater work effort out of their workers.

I don’t think that I can mock Michel Kalecki any more, ever again.

To which Mike responds:

Well I don’t think DeLong knows much about Kalecki.

In Kalecki’s general model of the business cycle, gross profits fall in recessions just as the pre-3Q-2009 DeLong would have expected them to, because investment and hence total demand declines. The effect on profit and wage shares depends on how much total output and employment fluctuates alongside it, and in fact, on how much labour businesses keep (under)employed – exactly the reason DeLong gives for the worldview he maintained before 3rd-quarter 2009 data came along and shattered it.

In “Distribution of National Income” (1956) Kalecki writes that the wage share excluding salaries “does not seem to show marked cyclical fluctuations”. [p. 66 in his 1971 ‘Selected Essays’ book] But once salaries are included, “the ‘real’ wage and salary bill… can be expected to fluctuate less during the course of the cycle than the ‘real’ gross income of the private sector.” [pp. 75-76] Therefore, the wage+salary share increases in a recession. He gives theoretical reasons – mainly that salaried workers’ employment and pay does not vary so much with output – and runs a regression on US data 1929-41 to back it up. This is exactly the opposite of deLong’s representation.

Kalecki does not use the Marxian value terminology, so DeLong’s use of ‘relative surplus value’ is odd.

DeLong seems to be vaguely remembering and mashing into Kalecki’s business cycle theory his infamous 1943 essay “Political aspects of full employment”, although here too Kalecki clearly argues that less-than-full employment is bad for profits: “It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full employment than they are on average under laissez-faire; and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices…” [p. 141]

But full employment was likely to meet political opposition from ‘business leaders’ and ‘captains of industry’ (he also never says ‘capital’ or ‘the ruling class’) because of (i) ideological prejudice against Government deficit spending and (ii) any expansion of public investment “which may foreshadow the intrusion of the state into the new spheres of economic activity” [p. 142], and (iii) dislike of the social and political consequences of greater working class confidence that comes with full employment. ‘Rentiers’ would have an additional reason: the erosion of their wealth from more rapid inflation. Kalecki thus predicted a political alliance between rentiers and the intellectual representatives of big industry, “and they would probably find more than one economist to declare that the situation was manifestly unsound.” [p. 144]

DeLong’s account of Kalecki’s views is thus completely misleading. But there’s some wholesale inventories data out today that might just make him rethink everything he thought he knew about Joan Robinson.

To which I would add that when I read Delong’s post I was sure he was channelling Paul Mattick:

“Both Marx and Keynes, then, though for different reason, recognize the capitalist dilemma in a declining rate of capital accumulation. Keynes diagnoses its cause as a lack of incentive to invest. Marx, looking behind the lack of incentive, finds the reason for it in the social character of production as a production of capital. Keynes does not regard crisis and depression as necessary aspects of capital formation; they are such only under laissez-faire conditions, and then only in the sense that the economic equilibrium does not include full employment. For Marx, however, a continuous capital accumulation presupposes periods of crises and depression, for the crisis is the only “equilibrium mechanism” which operates in capitalism with regard to its development. It is in the depression period that the capital structure undergoes those necessary changes which restore lost profitability and enable further capital expansion.”

Paul Mattick (1955), “Marx and Keynes”

So here we have three very different views of recessions and depressions and the way forward:

Keynes insufficient investment which can be remedied by augmenting effective demand (in a liquidity crisis);

Kalecki in accord with Keynes but sees political limits to full employment policies as a solution to aggregate demand and investment;

In Marx interpreted by Mattick, crises  restore a particular balance between productivity growth, wages and profits–with the restoration of profits hinging on rapid productivity growth and declining wages. Over at Angry bear just this scenario seems to be playing itself out in the US.  Productivity was running 9.5% and wage share of output is declining at an increasing pace.  Someone here is being vindicated.

That said, maybe Brad is just rehashing his own understanding of Marx, and like Keynes confesses to have never read him. Hence, it is of little surprise that Brad should make a mash-up of, what are for him, random Marxists and pin his tail on the wrong donkey. Just using the word “Marxist” is akin to the most vulgar of profanities for Brad and thus a display of his necessarily macho character so he thinks.

Someday leading liberals in the US will have to confess that they, like their Republican counterparts, are no Angles when it comes to accurate representation.  Further they will have to admit that much of what passes itself off as economics is really political economy–a confession that I am fine with.

The Nonsense of Planning

By Paul Mattick 1939


The major part of the theories of planning hitherto devised can be appraised only as literature, since their authors have refrained from touching upon the laws by which capitalist relations are governed. Their starting point was always discontent with existing conditions. They noted, as anyone may readily do, what was ably set forth by Hoover’s Research Committee on Social Trends: that society’s capacity for producing commodities is continually increasing at a more rapid rate than the purchasing power of the population, that the ratio of employment fails to keep step with the improvement of the productive machinery, and that the means of communication between nations change more rapidly than the reorganization of international relations. In brief, the rate of growth of the social forces of production is such and the forms assumed by them are such that the social relations can not be adapted to these forms, but are breaking them down. The natural conclusion, namely, that these backward relations must be swept aside, never occurs to the theoreticians of planning and can not occur to them, since they are theoreticians of planning only within the existing social relations. So they try to turn history backward and to arrest this painful growth of the social capacities, after the manner of those lovely Japanese ladies who bandage their feet in order to keep them dainty. In both cases, the actual result is simply maiming.

To the economic planners, it is a question of diminishing the productive capacity and at the same time of increasing the purchasing power. In the course of this two-fold process a time must come when the disproportion now existing between the two wall be eliminated and the way prepared for a harmonious interplay. Whatever pains the theoreticians may take to work out their theses down to the least detail, all these pretty games will be very much wasted so far as capitalism itself is concerned. To the capitalists, the problem of planning as a quite one-sided and practical matter, namely, the conversion and adaptation of their productive apparatus and of their business to the automatically contracting relations of the market and to the changes within the economic structure -as brought about through monopolization, cartellization and trustification-in order to win for themselves as much as possible of the social profit. What actual “planning” takes place would take place even without decisive modifications-even if the various brain trusts did not exist-and precisely upon the prescribed basis of the natural market tendencies under monopolistic lassez-faire. The “planning” does not change the social mechanism, but this mechanism functions today in a manner which falls in with the theories of the planners. It expanded the productivity of society in order then, on the ground of this expansion, to contract it. This capitalistic sabotage is not determined by any plans whatsoever,-the plans merely make it known-, but by the planlessness of the existing economic system. Capitalist planned economy is therefore nothing more than “planned planlessness,” or more simply stated-nonsense. With the acceptance of the present economic system as the only one for all time there can, of course, be no insight into the fact that any planning within it can only be a fanciful one; the present economic system really permits no genuine conscious economy at all. To talk of planning from the standpoint of commodity production is just as interesting as to hear a blind man lecture on van Gogh.