Adventures of a Forced Migrant Contact Me
So I was looking for economics papers I had written during college and just found this piece in an email to a professor.
Adam and Eve used to live happily in the Garden of Eden, with all resources in pristine and abundant condition. However, one day, Eve was tempted by Lucifer (just another “angel” who has nothing better to do and bored with the peace on Earth) to pick a fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and eat it.
Eve was struck with an epiphany upon eating it; she realized that since she used her labor to pick the fruit, it belonged to her and thus, became her possession and private property. The original sin by Eve established the concept of private property and the Lord could not stand such an act of defiance by a woman. Angry at the disobedience that Eve had shown to Adam, the Lord decided to punish humankind by making humans (and especially those with a darker skin tone like Eve and Adam) toil hard for their subsistence and be exploited for their labor by a ruling class. The Lord was also mad at Adam for his effeminate behavior and inability to control his woman, therefore he decided that Adam did need some punishment, and thus, Adam was re-casted as a white man, stripped of his rich African heritage.
Since Eve was the one who sinned originally, all women were thereafter meant to bear children that would be reduced to mere commodities and women would not be paid for the work they did in the households. To make women especially obedient, the Lord made sure that if women were to realize their ultimate pleasure by sleeping with other women and not (RE)producing more labor for profit, they would be barred from holding any property together and their social relations would be unrealized. Even men were disallowed from sleeping with each other; they were supposed to be competitive and aggressive, out to conquer and acquire, not love and nurture. In other words, both the oppressor and the oppressed were in fact, oppressed (and dehumanized) by the superstructure of the Lord’s creation.
But there was a way out. Redemption meant going through the different modes of production, which would seemingly create new social relations after bloody revolutions, while retaining the same old system of exploitation time and again. Redemption meant the suffering of everyone, but especially that of women and people of color the world over. Clashes would take place over time; between master and slave, lord and serf, capitalist and proletariat, and yes, between men and women (and other), straight and gay (and other), till the Lord would take pity and make the working class realize themselves as one–not gendered, sexualized or racialized–but as the oppressed fighting the oppressor who insisted on mediated relations of class, race, sex, gender etc.
In the Last Judgment, the oppressors would be given a last chance by the now politicized and ruling proletariat to repent all they had done over history. Some capitalist oppressors, who are now in a state of advanced schizophrenia, will insist falsely that Lord is on their side and tells them what to do, yet it would be futile. The seven years of trials and tribulations will take place. Human relations would once again be unmediated and everything in nature will belong to everyone, owned collectively.
And if we add Hinduism to the whole mix, the world will be destroyed in the last stage of capitalism (monopoly capitalism), so the Gods will just say “whatever” and give birth to the cosmos all over again with a specific kind of big ‘bang.’
Now who wants to take the fruit from the tree and call it their own?
Alright, I wrote this when I was 20. If I had to write this now, Eve would probably be a transsexual Steve and there would certainly be a shift from the structural meta-narrative of Marxian economics to a more post-structuralist approach to economics.
While George Bush preached ‘market fundamentalism’ yet again at weekend the photo-op named the G-20 summit, the ‘leaders’ agreed upon further stimulatory spending to stabilize the financial system, and to ‘reform’ the IMF and World Bank as global financial instruments.
In the midst of this world recession precipitated by the U.S. housing crisis and poor economy that subsequently has quelled demand critical to the functioning of other economies that depend on American buying power, young disgruntled folk are taking another look at Karl Marx.
Reporting from Japan, the Times London:
Japanese bookstores expect a comic version of Das Kapital to become the publishing phenomenon of the year (Leo Lewis writes).
The manga comic, which goes on sale early next month and is expected to sell tens of thousands of copies before Christmas, plays into a growing fascination among Japanese workers with socialist literature and joins a collection of increasingly fierce literary critiques of the global capitalist system. A sneak preview of the publication given to The Times reveals that Marx’s central themes are relayed in the comic via a cast of suitably downtrodden workers. However, when Marx alerted economists to “the knell of capitalist private property”, he may not have imagined the phrase cropping up in one of the speech bubbles in a comic strip for commuters in Japan.
In Germany, sales of Karl Marx’s 1867 work Das Kapital have leapt 750 per cent this year. Much has been written about Karl Marx and the current crisis of capitalism (UPI, NDTV) Usually it is the young academics that read Marx and Engels and I sincerely do believe that everyone should try to read through some of what Marx actually wrote and not mere bastardized interpretations. On the Jewish Question is a particularly good critique of liberalism and a personal favorite — the Marxist Archive has an entire library on Karl Marx and other like-minded scholars.
Is the collapse of capitalism an inevitability? While Marx might have prophetically stated this in The Communist Manifesto, it is nonetheless important to step away from grand, universalizing narratives and dichotomies (i.e. bourgeoisie/proletariat) that do exist in his writings. Capitalism does sow the seeds for its own destruction but so does any other stagnant ideology. Marx did suggest that “men make their own history” and that capitalism wouldn’t fall till it had fully perpetuated itself:
No social order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have been developed; and new higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself. Therefore, mankind only sets itself such tasks as it can solve
If we are to believe in the predictive qualities of Marx, we have a long way to go.
(Till global warming strikes at least…)
And Michael Foucault wishes from his grave that he could have lived 25 years more had it not been for his misadventures in Iran.
(Hey, I love Foucault)
The jibe was in reference to his opposition to the repression of human sexuality and how governments had made ‘prostitution’ into a social problem. Government control of ‘prostitution’ does not just entail repressive mechanisms (following from Foucault’s repressive hypothesis), but has also created acceptable prostitution (the billion-dollar porn industry) and unacceptable ones (people forced to work the streets out of sheer desperation)
The ballot question technically would not legalize prostitution, since state law still prohibits it, but the measure would eliminate the power of local law enforcement officials to go after prostitutes.
Often, innocent transgendered and transsexuals are targeted by law enforcement for just ‘standing there’ – That should stop.
The first thought in my head upon hearing about Proposition K was a Why Not? Whoring is already decriminalized Re:Capital Hill, handsomely rewarded and more virulent! Does it matter whether it’s whoring out your body, your conscience or your principles? San Francisco district attorney Kamala Harris is protesting that ‘prostitution is not a victimless crime’ – Yes Ms. Harris, the American people know that by now.
Our bourgeois, not content with having the wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other’s wives.
Alas, our wives and daughters are not enough. Now they are whoring out our livelihoods.
I wish I had the ability to be shocked when I hear about a ‘deep crisis’ that can cause staggering losses (a cyclical crisis of capitalism), a $700 billion bailout for private sector cronies and John McCain canceling a 2-3 hour debate appearance as a publicity stunt to resolve this crisis (as if, his presence would make a difference. Admittedly, he has a weak economic understanding). But I digress.
It’s not like a major financial crisis was unexpected in the near future. Political economists have been making predictions about the fall of the U.S. dollar for quite some time; this Wall Street financial collapse is just a start. Oil prices are dropping, Asian markets are coming down even immigration is down (ALIPAC must be happy; they are happily blaming immigrants for the meltdown too). Actually forget the contemporary political economists and politicians trying to pinpoint the source of this crisis; revisit the blog favorite Karl Marx, who held that the internal contradictions within capitalism as a system would create cycles of boom and slump, that over time would become more untenable as social forces opposing it built up, eventually leading to an overthrow of the system. What are these internal contradictions?
1. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall
2. The concentration of capital
3. Rise in unemployment
4. Overproduction or Underconsumption (crisis of realization)
5. Collapse of credit
6. Bigger firms buying out smaller and weaker firms (in this case, the government bailing out)
7. Crisis ‘solved’ till the next inevitable cycle
Do these predictions of more than 150 years ago sound familiar?
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The Population Reference Bureau just released the annual World Population Data Sheet. The report claims that the inequality in population and health profiles between rich and poor countries is widening.
While I find macro and meta-narrative style studies overly generalizing and notwithstanding unforeseen phenomenons, there is some truth to the claim that in the coming future, wealthier nations will experience population growth mostly through immigration while population growth would be centered largely in countries that are poor. The demographers and world-ranking scientists in population studies won’t admit this, but Karl Marx developed a theory that correlates to these findings.
In his debate with Thomas Malthus, Marx argued that for the bourgeoisie, the number of children reproduced depended on the optimal number required to carry on the capital accumulation process, whereas the proletariat would reproduce in large numbers to gain more control over the only means of production that they owned: labor. You can read more on the Marx-Malthus debate here.
Obviously, capital is not the only driving force of history and the bourgeoisie/proletariat dichotomy is not as clear-cut across countries. However, richer countries, on average, tend to be consumer societies especially as production is increasingly deterritorialized and dematerialized, requiring them to reproduce less for survival.
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