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The Econospeak blog, which succeeded MaxSpeak (co-founded by Barkley Rosser, a Professor of Economics at James Madison University and Max Sawicky, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute) is a multi-author blog . Self-described as “annals of the economically incorrect”, this frequently updated blog analyzes daily news from an economic perspective, but requires a strong economics background.

The Vaccination/Infection/Political Divergence Where I Am

 In Virginia, cities and counties are separate, not one containing the other as in most of the US. So I live in the City of Harrisonburg, population about 53,000, which is surrounded by Rockingham County, population about 82,000, both in the Shenandoah Valley about 120 miles southwest of Washington.In the past Harrisonburg, which contains James Madison University, tended to politically almost perfectly mirror statewide voting outcomes.  However, since 2008 essentially it has become solidly...

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Socially Ambivalent Labour Time VI: TSV part 3, chapter 21: “Our pamphleteer overlooks two things”

Although Marx discussed socially necessary labour time in chapters 4, 8, 9, 16, 17, and 20, he didn't mention it in chapter 21 where he discussed the 1821 pamphlet, The Source and Remedy of the National Difficulties by Charles Wentworth Dilke. Marx's reticence here is notable if only for the fact that the pamphlet proposed a method for calculating a sort of socially necessary labour time.Dilke's method differed fundamentally from Marx's in that Dilke focused on consumption rather than the...

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Bad News About Iran And Nuclear Deal

 In yesterday's Washington Post it was reported that there will be no further negotiations between the US and Iran (and other parties) in Vienna over the US and Iran rejoining the JCPOA nuclear agreement that Iran had been adhering to when Donald Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018, then reimposing economic sanctions on Iran, with Iran then starting to violate the agreement in various ways starting a year later.  President Biden had promised to rejoin the agreement as part of his campaign,...

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Socially Ambivalent Labour Time: TSV part 3, chapter 20

Marx's discussion of socially necessary labour time in Chapter 20 of Theories of Surplus Value is notable for the fact that it comes immediately before Chapter 21, where he doesn't mention socially necessary labour time (but the concept lingers just below the surface in the latter chapter). He talked about how piece-work is actually a kind of time work in which the piece rate is set according to expectations of how many pieces can be made in a designated period of time.Once again Marx...

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Almost Record Heat In Death Valley

 My niece, Erica Werner, is a reporter for the Washington Post.  She long covered heated debates in Congress over economic policy, getting on the front page a lot as during the passing of the Covid relief bill earlier this year. But then she moved to South Pasadena, CA a few months ago for family reasons and disappeared from the WaPo  front page.But there she is on today's front page and above the fold with a story whose headline reads "Just short of an infernal mark" sub-headline "";Heat...

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Socially Ambivalent Labour Time IV: TSV part 2, chapters 8, 9, 16, and 17

Nothing notable in these chapters. Chapter 8: Poor quality land requires more labour time than socially necessary (which is to say the average labour time required to produce a given output). Chapter 9: Socially necessary labour time is permanently established in nature, in industry it is constantly disappearing. Chapter 16: The value of labour is established by the customary means of subsistence of the labourer (this appears to be a notation on Ricardo's view). In chapter 17, Marx discussed...

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The Removal of Robert E. Lee’s Statue from Charlottesville

Early this morning the statue of Robert E. Lee was finally removed from a park in the city of Charlottesville.  This issue had brought the awful racist riot on August 17, 2017, which led to Heather Heyer being killed by a racist in a car. A statue of Stonewall Jackson, long located on the city courthouse site, was also removed, as well as later in the day without warning a statue of Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea. The statues are going into city storage with the ultimate destination of these...

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Socially Ambivalent Labour Time III: Theories of Surplus Value, chapter 7 and addenda to part 1

In an earlier post, I mentioned that in chapter seven of TSV Marx explicitly excluded William Godwin from his historical review of theories of surplus value:In accordance with the plan of my work socialist and communist writers are entirely excluded from the historical reviews. These reviews are only intended to show on the one hand in what form the political economists criticized each other, and on the other hand the historically determining forms in which the laws of political economy were...

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Necessary labour. Surplus labour. Surplus population. Surplus capital. (The Return of “Disposable People”)

This post will be a bit of a backtrack. While going through my notes for chapter 7 of Theories of Surplus Value, I discovered a printout of a page from the Grundrisse that I had overlooked when writing the post on that book. Although it does not contain the term socially necessary labour time, the two and a half page section with the same title as this post speaks volumes about the concept.First, a little context: the section follows discussions of T. R. Malthus and Thomas Chalmers on...

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