10 February 2008


Here is the latest installment of our “ghost” course, otherwise known as our “distance learning” course, called “The Spectre of Capital Volume 1”. It is linked below. It is the first instalment that is actually from Capital Volume 1 itself, and it is the first chapter (abridged). It begins:

“The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as "an immense accumulation of commodities," [1] its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity.

“A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference. [2] Neither are we here concerned to know how the object satisfies these wants, whether directly as means of subsistence, or indirectly as means of production.”

Electricity is a commodity. So too is maize (mielies), from which some people want to make motor-car fuel. See the next two linked items for an example of how the question of commodities is still as fresh today as it was when Karl Marx wrote the first lines of “Capital”.

The question of scarcity, and the carrying-capacity of the earth, goes back even further, to the notorious
Thomas Malthus (pictured) who in 1798 forecast a planetary human catastrophe. Since then and for more than two hundred years Malthusians of various kinds have stalked the earth prophesying doom. Nowadays it is often “global warming” that is supposed to be the threat. But the population catastrophe never comes.

Marxists are not Malthusians.

William Stanley Jevons (pictured), in 1865, showed by a statistical study of coal use, that when the use of energy was made more efficient, so that less coal (in that case) was needed for the same effect, overall consumption of coal did not go down, it went up. This effect has been observed ever since, in all forms of energy. Scientists, academics, and power-station managers know all about it, yet they still pretend that more efficient use of power will reduce overall consumption.

The last item below before “Coming Events” is one document containing two stories from the Sunday Independent about factional activities within the ANC in a supposed “fight-back” by the pro-Mbeki forces that were defeated in Polokwane. Saki Macozoma did warn, before Polokwane, that he reserved the right to organise, if defeated. He is one of the four named principals in this report, the others being Jabu Moloketi, Mbhazima Shilowa, and Mululeki George.

Now we can see where the real threat to unity is coming from. There is no “purge”, but only rumours of purge, rumours started by those opposed to the Polokwane outcomes. The highest body of the ANC, the Conference, took the Polokwane decisions in proper plenary session. There is no excuse for factionalism now.

Click on these links:

Capital Volume 1, C1, Commodities, abridged, 1867 (9044 words)

Ghost of Enron calls to haunt these dark days, Ernie Moore, Sindy (259 words)

Biofuels, a cure worse than disease, Steve Connor, Sindy (584 words)

Mbeki fight-back slated, Moshoeshoe Monare, Sibusiso Ngalwa, Sindy (1387 words)

Coming Events


Post a Comment

Post a Comment