Economía marxista para el Siglo XXI

Archivo para marzo, 2011

Combined and Uneven Apocalypse: Luciferian Marxism

Combined and Uneven Apocalypse: Luciferian Marxism


From the repurposed rubble of salvagepunk to undead hordes banging on shopping mall doors, from empty waste zones to teeming plagued cities,  Combined and Uneven Apocalypse grapples with the apocalyptic fantasies of our collapsing era. Moving through the films, political tendencies,
and recurrent crises of late capitalism, Evan Calder Williams paints a black toned portrait of the dream and nightmare images of a global order gone very, very wrong. Situating itself in the defaulting financial markets of the present, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse glances back toward a messy history of zombies, car wrecks, tidal waves, extinction, trash heaps, labour, pandemics, wolves, cannibalism, and general nastiness that populate the underside of our cultural imagination. Every age may dream the end of the world to follow, but these scattered nightmare figures are a skewed refraction of the normal hell of capitalism. The apocalypse isn’t something that will happen one day: it’s just the slow unveiling of the catastrophe we’ve been living through for centuries. Against any fantasies of  progress, return, or reconciliation, Williams launches a loathing critique of the bleak present and offers a graveside smile for our necessary battles to come.

Oil: A Time Machine – Journey Beyond Fanciful Economics and Frightful Politics

Title:   Oil: A Time Machine – Journey Beyond Fanciful Economics and Frightful Politics
Linus Publications, EUA, 2011
ISBN: 1-60797-050-3
Author: Cyrus Bina

This book is a systematic study of oil in its historical stages, as a time machine. This is a groundbreaking theoretical (and empirical) innovation in step with The Economics of the Oil Crisis (1985). This volume unites separate domains of economics, politics, and international relations into an organic whole, capturing domestic, foreign, and global environmental policies. As a specific exploration in political economy, this book is about the evolution of a commodity that eventually transformed into the pervasive, almost mystical force that it is today.

More than any other commodity known in recent history, oil is a commodity that has captured the popular imagination. Petroleum is an embodiment of an industry on the forefront of globalization, a polished mirror on the face of transnationalization of capital, and a pertinent measure for gauging the rise and fall of American hegemony. Oil is simply a time machine capable of driving us to the past and bringing us back to the future. Yet, there are travelers (and ideologues) in the field that are suspended somewhere in the bygone era. They could not overcome their nostalgia in a one-way journey to the past, and they have neither an ability to come back nor a facility to sense the passage of time.

This book is on the cutting edge of political economy and international relations. The materials in this volume are the interweaving of issues surrounding the global economy and polity, and the questions that have to do with the nature of power relations and the underlying forces that undermined them in the last three decades or so. No serious policy maker, and hardly any scholar, practitioner or journalist in the world today can afford not to read this book in its entirety. This volume is about the altered reality in the epoch in which we live in. And, as such, it is a wake-up call.

About the author

Cyrus Bina, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota (Morris Campus), is a prominent political economist. His pioneering work on the transformation and eventual globalization of oil first appeared in The Economics of the Oil Crisis (1985) and then further expanded by numerous articles in scholarly and policy journals across the globe. He has co-edited two major volumes on completely diverse subjects, namely Modern Capitalism and Islamic Ideology in Iran (1991) and Wage Labor in the Late Twentieth Century (1996). Bina, a specialist with an intimate knowledge of Iran’s economy and polity, is an authority on the social transformation of modern Iran. He has written extensively (and spoken in numerous occasions in person and via satellite) on post-revolutionary Iran and the nature of conflict in the Middle East. This extends to probing the post-war U.S. foreign policy and critical examination of U.S. hegemony and contradictions that resulted in undesirability of democracy and imposition of dictatorial regimes across the now defunct Pax Americana. In addition, Bina is a scholar of labor relations and social movements around the globe. His scores of articles on global transformation, technological change, and formation of skills (beyond the boundaries of nation-states) are also testament to his encyclopedic knowledge of globalization that is both beyond the neoliberal and the neo-conservative policies, and critical of the anachronistic and desperate interventions by the United States.

Among Bina’s other books, are Oil, War, and Global Polity (Palgrave, 2012), Alternative Theories of Competition: Challenges to Orthodoxy (co-editor, Routledge 2011), and a three-volume International Economics: An Encyclopedia of Global Trade, Capital, Labor, Technology, and Innovation (editor, Greenwood, 2014). Bina is an active member of many professional and civic organizations, including Economists for Peace and Security, and Union of Concerned Scientists. He is currently an editor of the Journal of Critical Studies in Business and Society.

An International Comparison of the Incomes of the Vast Majority

Es el más reciente trabajo, donde Anwar Shaikh analiza la distribución del ingreso entre los diferentes países. An International Comparison of the Incomes of the Vast Majority publicado en su página personal en New School for Social Research en Nueva York

This paper expands the standard list of international economic measures to include the per capita income of the vast majority (VMI) of each nation’s population. The VMI is an intuitive combination of information on national income and its distribution, and it gives rise to new international rankings. The measure is derived from the “two-class” approach to econophysics, not from the traditional social welfare functions or underlying utility functions. This gives rise to an empirically robust international relation we call the 1.1 Rule, as well as a new interpretation of the Gini coefficient (G) as being the percentage difference between national income per capita and the per capita income of the bottom seventy percent of the population. Ranking countries in terms of Sen’s social welfare measure is shown to be equivalent to ranking them in terms of the per capita income of the bottom 70 percent.

La crisis actual

Es un documento elaborado por Louis Gill, donde compara la actual crisis con otras similares que ha sufrido el capitalismo.

Marxian Theory of Exploitation: Current Status and Relevance

A special issue of  Marxism 21 (vol. 21, 2011) has just been published.

This issue has 4 English articles on Marxian theory of exploitation as follows.

Previous findings by Martinez have raised an important question, which this work contributes to solve: if over time a positive correspondence between productivity and surplus-value rate can be observed ¿why then do underdeveloped countries show higher surplus-value rates than developed countries? Based on econometric analysis, cluster analysis and fixed effect panel analysis evidence is supporting that groups of less productive countries have higher or at least not lower surplus-value rates than those corresponding to more productive groups of countries. Nevertheless, it is also shown that over time or within the groups there is a correlation between productivity and surplus-value rate.

  • Takao Fujimoto, “Reflections on the Concept of Exploitation,”
  • Dong-Min Rieu, “Subjectivism and Individualism: A note on the Marxian theory of exploitation”
  • Paul Cockshott and Heinz Dieterich, “The Contemporary Relevance of Exploitation Theory”

This issue also includes another English article,

  • Hiroshi Ohnishi and Atushi Tazoe, “Profit and ‘Preferential Growth of the First Sector’ in the Marxian Optimal Growth Model”

These papers are electronically available at Marxism 21.

Países ricos en crisis I: Islandia

Alejandro Valle Baeza

Esta crisis se desató en Estados Unidos de América (EUA), el país capitalista más poderoso, y de ahí pareció extenderse a todo el mundo. La realidad es más compleja, lo que sigue es el inicio de una serie de artículos que hablan de otras crisis que aunque coincidan temporalmente con la de EUA tienen sus propias dinámicas y orígenes.

Protestas ante el parlamento islandés, foto El País


La crisis de Islandia

Islandia fue llamada la “Wall Street del Ártico” o el “tigre nórdico”, en muy poco tiempo pasó de un crecimiento alto, para un país desarrollado, a convertirse en un país muy endeudado . Con apenas 320 mil habitantes, los banqueros islandeses quisieron aprovechar la liberalización financiera. El sistema bancario islandés pasó de ocuparse del mercado doméstico a servir de intermediario para otros países, los escandinavos y el Reino Unido principalmente. Por ejemplo, el banco por Internet Icesave perteneciente  al banco Landsbanki operó cuentas de ahorro en Holanda y el Reino Unido. Creció hasta tener cuentas por mil setecientos millones de euros en el primer país, durante los breves cinco meses en que operó ahí, y por cerca de cinco mil millones de euros en el Reino Unido, durante dos años, gracias a que ofrecía tasas de interés superiores al 5 por ciento.

En una publicación de la Cámara Islandesa de Comercio(1) un funcionario nativo y un académico estadounidense, quien llegó a ser miembro del directorio del Sistema de la Reserva Federal  estadounidense, argumentaban, en 2006, que los temores sobre la inestabilidad del sistema financiero de Islandia eran infundados pues todo estaba básicamente bien. El país tenía el PIB per cápita más alto del mundo en 2005, con muy poca corrupción, bajísima deuda pública (la deuda neta representaba 10% del PIB) y con altísimos niveles de educación y salud. Una excelente muestra de la felicidad que trae a la gente decente el seguir las leyes del mercado y el respeto a la propiedad privada.  El ultraconservador Cato Institute celebraba todavía en febrero de 2008 que el éxito de Islandia se debía en buena parte a sus políticas en favor del libre mercado: los impuestos a los ingresos del trabajo eran de 36 por ciento mientras que los ingresos del capital eran gravados con 10 por ciento. Las corporaciones gozaban de un gravamen de 18 por ciento, comparado con 39 por ciento en EUA, pero el diligente gobierno islandés había ya anunciado una reducción de esa tasa a 15 por ciento.(2)  El único foco rojo era un considerable déficit en cuenta corriente.

No obstante la aparente solidez de la economía islandesa,  Kaupthing, Glitnir Bank HF y Landsbanki Islands HF -los tres principales bancos islandeses- quebraron en octubre de 2008 tras acumular una deuda de 61.000 millones de dólares, equivalente a 12 veces el producto interno bruto de este país.3 Tuvieron que ser nacionalizados en ese mes después de que habían sido privatizados en 2003, ¡cinco años duró el sueño del libre mercado!


1. Mishkin, F.S. y Herbertsson, T. Financial Stability in Iceland. Iceland Chamber of Commerce. 2006 en:


2. Ver “Iceland and Taiwan to Slash Corporate Tax Rates” por Daniel J. Mitchell en


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