I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a rut lately, at least when it comes to writing and blogging and things of that nature. There’s certainly no shortage of ‘projects’ to be had—there are too many self-imposed tasks, as a matter of fact!—but the concrete follow-through of these has to date been negligible. Part of this is no doubt related to a nagging sense of burn-out: I spent much of the end of last year and the beginning of this year in a mad rush to finish a book that will be published sometime between now and the end of this year by NERO Editions, and then followed this up with a handful of others projects like the piece that myself and Kevin Rogan put together for Sum’s Hypersonic Hyperstitions issue and a forthcoming essay in an upcoming issue of the La Deleuziana journal (this issue incidentally will be edited by the always-great Obsolete Capitalism group). It has been a lot in a short amount of time (no complains though, of course).
In order to try and shake the dust off, I’m starting a new blog to replace my stagnant old one! As always, it will be a mixed grab-bag, but I’d like to use it as a dumping ground for more long-term projects, with the hope that by making research fairly public I’ll be prompted to stick to things. We’ll see how it goes, but here’s some of what is on the docket:
- In my book Uncertain Futures (written in the end of 2015-early 2016, published early 2017), I tried to demonstrate the validity of Marx’s theory of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, and illustrate that it could help us understand both ongoing economic and political turmoil. The book, which was really notes drawn from a reading group, activist discussions, and a Marx-oriented ‘drinking club’, had a host of problems (an insufficient understanding of the distinction between overproduction and underconsumption, a lopsided historical account of neoliberalism that muddied the waters, lack of attention paid to the productivity slowdown and an unintelligible politics), has been on my mind a lot of late, since it too was written in pre-election season. I’m going to be returning to the question of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall and attempt to work out a more accurate measure of it, based on the methodology utilized by Fred Moseley in his book The Falling Rate of Profit in the Postwar US Economy. Because the statistical data and units of measure that Moseley was able to use has shifted considerably and is now less amendable to Marxist theory, this promises to be an uphill struggle.
- There’s a tendency in Marxism that looks at the nonlinear connection between class struggle and the technological side of economic development. Marx notes this repeatedly, particularly in the first volume of Capital, and it appears later in Georges Sorel’s Reflections on Violence, where he proposes that the cessation of class struggle has led technological and economic ‘decadence’. A more concrete form appears in the studies of Italian workerists like Raniero Panzieri and Mario Tronti, who theorized a give-and-take between class struggle and the technologies and techniques developed by capital to break and/or route around it. A complimentary analysis comes from world-system theorists like Beverly Silver, who emphasize the connection between organized struggle and the spatial reconfiguration of capital. I hope to dive more into these theories in the coming months, which seem like a natural compliment to work on the tendency for the rate of profit to fall—though I’ve yet to see these two really get put into alignment.
- We’re coming into the American election season, and the field is populated by, on the one side, an unpopular president who is midway between the fundamental paradigm-shift in political reality that he promised and a recoding carried out by the Republican party establishment; and on the other side a split between the old guard of the Democratic Party and a coterie of the party’s fringe (and fringe-of-the-fringe). This is playing out against a slow-burning economic disaster: conditions that preceded the financial crisis (falling rates of investment, slowing world trade, a slowdown in productivity growth) persist and are being exacerbated by the return of protectionism and trade wars. So hopefully more writings and reflections on this situation as they unfold.
- I’ve had plans for a book rattling around in my brain since early 2017 on Marx and Proudhon, motivated by the one-sided overview of the Marx and Proudhon debate offered by the AnarchistFAQ as well as the lack of a comprehensive account from the Marxist side. I’ve started a potential outline for this project (a faint of hint of which can be found in this twitter thread).
- More to do about the social myth!
- Pseud theorizing on time, space, spatialized time, temporalized space, clocks, calendars, spirals, time zones, free time, superfluous time, compressive time, Messianic time, mythic time, empty time, deep time, blessed Bergsonianism and millenarianism.
- Of late I’ve become obsessed with 19th century American communalism and all the various utopian socialist communes, religious sect communities and snake-oil townships. Gonna be deep-diving this history and hopefully be visiting some of these sites, many of which are in this region (Kentucky-Tennessee-Indiana-Ohio).