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David Harvie

Abstract

The United Kingdom is at the forefront of a global movement to establish a social-investment market. At the heart of social investment we find finance – and financialisation. Specifically, we find: a financial market (the social-investment market); a series of financial institutions (Big Society Capital, for example); a financial instrument (the social-impact bond); and a financial practice (social investing). Focusing on the UK, given its pioneering role, this paper first provides a brief history of social investment, tracing its development from the politics of the ‘Third Way’ to the social-impact bond. It then maps the terrain of the social-investment market, explaining the main institutions and actors, and the social-impact bond. Finally, it proposes a framework for analysing the disciplinary logics of finance, which it uses to understand the promise or threat (depending on one’s perspective) of social investment and the social-investment market.

Mark Jay

Abstract

Since the mid-1960s, the carceral population in the US has increased around 900%. This article analyses that increase from a Marxist framework. After interrogating the theories of Michelle Alexander and Loïc Wacquant, I lay out a theoretical framework for a Marxist theory of mass incarceration. I then offer a historical analysis of mass incarceration in keeping with this theoretical framework, emphasising the carceral system’s relationship to the class struggle and the large-scale economic dislocations of post-Fordism. Finally, I emphasise how private prison companies, increasingly central to the story of mass incarceration, are influencing current efforts to reform the prison system and shift to ‘alternatives to incarceration’.

Ramon Salim Diab

Abstract

The global path of capitalist development is continuously transformed as a result of the production and integration of advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs) within various forms of production. The first half of this paper conceptualises ICTs as capital’s appropriation and objectification of the productive forces of the general intellect in ‘the general artificial intellect’, a category that refers to the total processing power of networked ICTs in global society. The second half of the paper analyses Uber’s development of the elements of capital’s artificial intellect as the cybernetic means of real subsumption in its immaterial production process. The paper concludes that Uber’s development of autonomous vehicles is an example of the global trend in transport automation that could raise the organic composition of capital of the transport industry, which I suggest would advance the stage of real subsumption toward a third and final stage of autonomous subsumption.

Capitalism, Colonialism, and the War on Human Life

A Review of Ethics of Liberation in the Age of Globalization and Exclusion by Enrique Dussel

Jeff Noonan

Abstract

Dussel’s complex work calls into question the standard history of philosophy, reveals a counter-history at work beneath the official history that gives voice to the victims of capitalism and colonialism, and systematically develops a novel ‘material ethics’ grounded in an unqualified, universal affirmation of life as the foundation of liberatory values. The Ethics of Liberation brings together the major problems explored in Dussel’s prolific body of earlier work: the relationship between Western philosophy and the expansion of European society; the relationship between centre and periphery in global political economy, considered as both a philosophical and an ethical problem; the ethical interpretation of Marxism; the politics of liberation in the colonial context; the defence of universal foundations of ethical norms; and the (all-important) distinction between formal and critical ethics.

Geopolitical Economy and the Chimera of Hegemony

A Review of Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire by Radhika Desai

Rowan Lubbock

Abstract

This review critically engages with Radhika Desai’s concept of geopolitical economy as a framework for understanding the evolution of the capitalist state system. While presenting a useful challenge to many of the most deeply-held beliefs in International Relations theory, Desai’s over-reliance on a geopolitical lens produces a relatively one-sided account of the ways in which capitalism forges distinct international regimes and ideological formations under a given set of historical conditions of possibility. Thus, Desai’s somewhat opaque reading of the international relations of capitalism clouds our understanding of what the current conjuncture might entail for any possible future beyond the social discipline of capital.

‘Hegel Belongs in the Old Testament of the New Philosophy’

Translator’s Introduction to ‘On the Evaluation of The Essence of Christianity’ by Ludwig Feuerbach

Michael Kryluk

Abstract

This article is an Introduction to a translation of ‘Zur Beurteilung der Schrift Das Wesen des Christentums’ by Ludwig Feuerbach (see DOI 10.1163/1569206X-12341620). To my knowledge, no English translation of this essay currently exists. It was published in February 1842 and functions as both a general reply to critics of his 1841 book The Essence of Christianity, as well as a specific response to the claim of an anonymous reviewer that Feuerbach’s interpretation of religion was the same as that of his fellow Young Hegelian Bruno Bauer. Besides capturing a central moment in Feuerbach’s development between The Essence of Christianity and his well-known works of 1842–4, the essay also sheds light on the rest of the Young Hegelian movement and provides crucial context for some of Marx’s later comments on Feuerbach and his philosophy.

Robert Knox

Ludwig Feuerbach

Abstract

The following text is a translation of Feuerbach’s essay ‘Zur Beurteilung der Schrift Das Wesen des Christentums’, which was published in February 1842. The piece is intended to clarify Feuerbach’s relation to many of his most important contemporaries and influences, especially Hegel. An Introduction to this essay has been published simultaneously (see DOI 10.1163/1569206X-00001620).

Plebs, Class and Everything in Between

A Review of The Plebeian Experience by Martin Breaugh

Hugo Bonin

Abstract

Following a summary of M. Breaugh’s book The Plebeian Experience, the question of the relationship of plebs and class is addressed. Drawing on N. Thoburn’s discussion of the ‘lumpenproletariat’ as well as E.P. Thompson’s conception of class, the case is made for keeping ‘plebeian’ and ‘class’ experiences in conceptual tension.