Archive for the 'capital's measure/value practices' Category

women empowerment as competition

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Here is what the World BanK has to say about it:

“Economic empowerment is about making markets work for women(at the policy level) and empowering women to compete in markets (at the agency level)”

Now, food prices are skyrocketing, fuel for transport and cooking are up, communities are strangled with debt, and what is the World Bank talking about? Empowering women to compete. This is their ultimate solution for everything.

This is what they really mean by “gender mainstreaming”. Imagine women storming cities in the 1970s, hands up high in the vagina symbol screaming at unison “GENDER MAINSTREAMING!!!”: what an image of co-optation could have been. One thing seems clear about this current respectable slogan of World Bank policy on gender and development: whatever will happen through the energy, food, financial, or environmental crises, the subjectification of women to the market in particular, and therefore the reshaping of the conditions of reproduction in general (who knows in what direction…), will be central to their managing of these crises . . .

Some of the C0₂ emissions of global production chains

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008


An article today on The Guardian reveals the hypocrysy of it all. The world’s shipping fleet without which the burgeoning production chains of global capital would be paralised, emits 1.21bn tonnes of CO2 a year. Aviation, 600million tonnes. Yet shipping has been completely absent from public debate and government targets. (more…)

Marx and the WTO

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Quite impressive interview to Pascal Lamy, the director of the World Trade Organization, one of the institutions overseeing and promoting global capital, its enclosures and disciplinary processes. Here Lamy pays tribute to Karl Marx, especially the idea that the system is predicated upon a “certain theory of value” and that “alternatives to capitalism” must be found since “capitalism cannot satisfy us. It is a means that must remain in the service of human development.” Wow, what an oxymoron!! (more…)

The capitalist use of a hurricane and the struggles against enclosure of public housing

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

video_button_white_dred.gifThis short film surveys the tactics used by the city administration of New Orleans, to try to get “affordable” housing tenants out of their houses, so as to “regenerate” them for money making. It also shows some of the struggles of the tenants to stay in. They have other types of “regeneration” in mind. A clear case of value struggles.

Foreclosures: costs and movements

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

video_button_white_dred.gifThis video extract from Democracynow.org of 29 November discusses the social and human cost of foreclosures in the US, the number of which has nearly doubled to 225000 in the Month of October.

Also shown is an interviews to activists from NEPAD, an NGO who is asking Investment Banks to aknowledge their responsibility in this crisis and donate their holiday bonus to prevent furhter foreclosures. About 2 million home owners are potentially facing foreclosures when their adjustable rate mortgages resets at higher rate. (more…)

Measuring migration

Monday, June 11th, 2007

This article from the International Herald Tribune, U.S. debates point system for immigrants clearly reveals the logic attempting to tie the management of migration flows with that of capital’s measure. Note here how much of the bias of the point system is linked to reproduction. This is in two senses: 1) you get proportionally more points if you come with English and other needed specialised skils. Namelly, the US state does not have to pay for this aspect of reproduciton of labour power. 2) You are rewarded with points if you go to work in the “care” sector.

Training day at the University Inc.

Monday, March 12th, 2007

complaints.jpgWhat does an international Airline, a global bank, a transnational retail corporation, and a British University have in common? Well, they all have to “compete” on the global marketplace to survive, they all have “customers” prone to litigiousness to appease and mollify, and they all have the need to defuse staff questioning managers priorities and practices. So, few weeks ago I found myself in “a three-line whip” training course — that is a compulsory course that all academic staff had (supposedly) to take. The compulsion was designed to be a gentle “peer” compulsion, a subtle way to compel the individual that avoid direct confrontation between senior management and the individual academic staff: the University center would have fined your school £50 if you did not attend. The title of the day course was odd enough: “challenging academic decisions” — and it dealt with training staff in dealing with the challenges that the “costumer” base of the university — its students — would put forward. I heard that the same exact training was given to non academic staff under the title: “dealing with difficult customers”. I also been told by our trainer - and I document below — that the stuff we have “learned” in the training which we received either as academic or support staff in dealing with “students-costumers” would be applicable with little or no modifications to all situations of conflict within an organisation along its hierarchical scale or between company-costumers relations. In other words, the way we were about to be trained to deal with our students when they raise some problem, is the same way that our senior managers are trained to deal with us when we raise problem. Revealing! I overcome the boredom and I eagerly staid for the entire day, with my hear ready to steal their secrets! (more…)

Microcredit, enclosures, commons

Monday, December 18th, 2006

video_button_white_dred.gifThis is an extract of a debate on microcredit broadcasted by Democracy Now! (13 December - go here for full coverage in real player) between Susan Davis, founder and chair of the Grameen Foundation, and Vandana Shiva. The occasion was the Nobel Peace price acceptance speech made by the founder of Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus. The Commoner has already pusblished a critique of Grameen Bank with the article by George Caffentzis titled Varieties of Bancocide: Left and Right Critiques of the World Bank and IMF, linking microcredit to IMF and World Bank policies.

The debate here extracted is not only informative, it is also enlightening of the gap we have to overcome in our critical discourses. Susan Davis and Vandana Shiva epitomise here two opposite ways to deal with “poverty” and “development”. Susan Davis, in a business like fashion, (more…)

Competition as class struggle

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

optical-illusion.jpgYou try to go at a Marxist conference and say that “class struggle” is the centre of our preoccupation, that we need to bring in subjectivity and struggles, desires and class composition, strategies and counterstrategies, problematic of political recomposition vis-a’-vis capital in our way to apprehend the world. You will be answered with a rift sang by all types of variations and idiosyncratic types of Marxism: the historical approach, the value form approach, the disequilibrium approach, the equilibrium approach, the overproduction approach, the under-consumption approach, the logic of capital approach, even the “of-course-class-struggle-is-important” approach. In all their diversity, they share one common song, they sing to you to shut up your insistence on subjectivity and struggle, and this is it: “there is not only class struggle, there is also competition among capitals” . . .or, to put it in a more elegant (maybe) way, here they go: “there is not only the vertical struggle between capital and labour, there is also the horizontal competitive struggle among capitals”.

Ok, let us take a time machine and travel back 102 years, to 1905, (more…)

Rumsfeld leaves a trace on his way out

Monday, December 4th, 2006

rumsfeld-i-dont-see-a-civil-war2.jpgRead the text of a classified Nov. 6 memorandum that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sent to the White House suggesting new strategic options in Iraq. The memorandum was sent one day before the midterm Congressional elections and two days before Mr. Rumsfeld resigned. These options reveal to us how they think. It will be interesting for us to see what of these will be adopted by the remaining two years of the current US administration and possibly future democratic administration. In any case, just pick these two option for illustrative purpose:

“Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. — political, economic and security goals — to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made).”

Here the request is for a set of target/benchmarks against which military intervention in Iraq is measured and assessed. Measurement here has a function of double coupling: on hand hand to couple US political, economic and security goals to Iraqi Government and on the other to couple US military intervention in Iraq with domestic aspirations of the public (i.e. factroy of consent).

Another interesting point is the application of disciplinary processes to engineer “behavioural changes”.

¶Stop rewarding bad behavior, as was done in Fallujah when they pushed in reconstruction funds, and start rewarding good behavior. Put our reconstruction efforts in those parts of Iraq that are behaving, and invest and create havens of opportunity to reward them for their good behavior. As the old saying goes, “If you want more of something, reward it; if you want less of something, penalize it.” No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is violence.

Here resources for reconstruction are not seen as tied to a general political goal which might bring benefit to the US in the future, but as a specific strategy of subjectification, of creation of subjects behaving in certain ways. Interestingly, this was the idea for the entire of Iraq, once they got in in the first place. When they invaded, the plan was indeed to make of the whole of Iraq a “havens of opportunity” to hold as a exemplary case of a fully neoliberal state in the hearth of the Middle East.

And what to say of this other piece, in which Rumsfeld advice to use some old Saddam Hussain methods to gain support in Iraq: “Provide money to key political and religious leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period.” Wasn’t Goring who said that the methods of propaganda, corruption and denunciation of “anti-patriotism” were applicable to all systems of government?