This paper presents an interpretation of the underlying dynamics of global political economy, which has led to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February 2022. It thus is an alternative to interpretations that view the individual psychological traits of Vladimir Putin as the driving force behind this event. To enable a more sensible account, it turns out to be necessary to go back in the history of the conflict between Russia and NATO to the times of the Cold War. Briefly, two important fields of methodology-a theory of power and game theory-have to be touched upon. Finally, the justified emotional disgust concerning Putin's aggressive war and the somewhat more detached scientific analysis are tried to be reconciled in the concluding paragraphs.
The capitalist mode of production has fulfilled a most astonishing “historical mission” for the human species. It enabled an explosion of labor productivity gains and the discovery of new utility dimensions. But this progress came at the price of an accompanying explosion of contradictions, of unequal benefits and burdens across global and local classes of humans. This article sets out to explore what will happen if capitalism is finally ending, if its mission collapses. Following the tradition of Hegel and Marx, it can be assumed that a large part of the capitalist algorithm simply will have to vanish. But as history shows there also always is a remainder of a mode of production that in an inverted form becomes part of the next progressive mode of production. To identify what “Capital after Capitalism” could be, what has to be abolished and what might survive in which form is a central prerequisite for a proper understanding of the coming revolution of the current mode of production. Since each step on the ladder of global social evolution is also a step in social human consciousness, this step in understanding implies a direct impact in guiding the actions to accomplish this turnover.
This paper investigates recent transformations in global capitalism’s political economy, concerned with the evolution of globally integrated production and exchange apparatuses, such as platforms, enabled through technological advances in computational infrastructures. These infrastructures are explicable in terms of the model of the Stack, understood as an accidental mega-structure of the contemporary platform economy that is integrating previously detached circulation and accumulation structures. The Stack is introduced as an integrative model of a multi-layered political economic system that allows to understand and explain recent developments in global capitalism. Focus is thereby given to intensified real abstraction of labour induced by the capitalist appropriation of planetary-scale computation. Building on the model of the Stack, we set in relation different perspectives on recent capitalist development in terms of planetary-scale computation: transnational informational capitalism, cognitive capitalism, intellectual monopoly capitalism and techno-feudalism. Thereby we highlight aspects of value creation as well as rent-seeking through the model of the Stack.
This paper tries to explain the three parallel global political-economic crises: The world war crisis, health crisis, and climate crisis. It provides the optimistic (long-run) expectation that the means to overcome these crises - mainly by advancing to a democratic global governance institution - are at the same time the blueprint for a future Atlantis.
The world economy crucially depends on multi-layered value chains with high degrees of sector-related specialization. Its final products are of international character and serve the needs and wants of the global citizen. However, many production processes are causing severe damage to the environment and moreover create health hazard for workers and local populations. This research article focuses on the increasing global unequal economic- and ecological exchange, fundamentally embedded in international trade. Resource extraction and labor conditions in the Global South as well as the implications for climate change originating from industry emissions in the North are investigated with an agent-based model. The model serves as a testbed for simulation experiments with evolutionary political economic policies. An international institution is introduced sanctioning the polluting extractivist sector in the Global South as well as the emitting industrial capital good producers in the North with the aim of subsidizing innovation reducing environmental and social impacts. Both regions are modelled as macroeconomic complex adaptive systems where international trade is restricted to a three-sector value chain, originating from mining resources in the South that are traded to capital good producers in the North crafting machinery which is eventually traded to consumer good firms, both in the North and South. The main outcome of the study is that sanctions alone are not effective in countering unequal exchange. They only make a difference in combination with subsidies for innovation activities, which are protecting labor and reducing local pollution in mines as well as reducing carbon-emissions in capital good production.
The following editorial introduces the special issue (SI) on “Work, Environment and Planetary-scale Computation in Political-Economic Evolution”. Here, however, we go beyond an outline of what each contribution to the SI addresses, and attempt to draw a more pronounced shared embedding of the arguments that have come to the fore. The original idea of this SI was to synthesize a range of contemporary global political-economic challenges, i.e. (1) technology (esp. digital transformation), (2) nature (esp. ecological crisis) and (3) work (esp. precarization via the evolving platform economy). The main argument developed in this editorial reflection focuses on the common ground and origin of those processes found in the complex evolution of capitalist development. We frame the latter by assigning it a new term, i.e. “planetary carambolage”.
This paper is a reaction on the last four global crisis of the human species: the global financial crisis, the migration crisis, the climate crisis, and the corona crisis. It argues that a global crisis needs a revolution in global governance necessitating a global change of the mode of production. In part 1 essential features - a vision - of a world we want to live in are proposed, while in part 2 an update of the dynamics of global class structures is used to identify coalitions for the global revolution needed to get closer to that vision.
We currently are in one of those rare historical phases, where we can "feel" and "experience" history nearly on a daily basis. Global constellations are changing rapidly and often surprisingly, and no one saw "it" coming, let alone being able to exactly forecast the current changes. A historical "phase transition" of the complex global system, in which the usual forces of globalization, of the apparently smooth historical path of the last decades, seem to be fundamentally rearranging and those relatively smooth pathways appear to be disrupting. Five years ago, no one would have predicted that in a severe pandemic crisis (Corona), the EU would nearly collapse wrt (no) common response and (no) solidarity, egoistic national strategies (border closings even for people from neighboring EU member countries; export stops for medical goods even within the EU), and only little to no help from the rich (Germany) to the most suffering members (Italy, Spain). No one would have predicted that suddenly "developing countries", and even worse: the systemic competitors (to say the least), such as China, Cuba, and Russia are coming to the EU in response to Italy's, Spain's, France's and others' urgent calls for help, bringing in the desperately needed medical devices and personnel. A mental revolution for the EU's and the global public. In Latin America, a similar constellation: Cuba is present nearly everywhere with its doctors and effective therapeutical pharmaceutics, Interferon Alfa-2B, developed and produced together with China. The superpower of the second half of the last century, the "empire", the only state in human history with an absolute global claim to power and rule, the U.S., is internationally not present in the pandemic at all, fully concerned with itself and apparently not even able to effectively manage its own severe epidemic. The severely downsized and disorganized health-care systems in the West, subject to long-lasting neoliberal privatization and austerity rules, were at the brink of collapse even before the big waves of the pandemic came.
This policy paper combines a large number of acute contemporary problems in political economy and shows that it is possible to bring them under one broad common umbrella: The choice between humanism or racism. To do so more fine grained definitions of humanism and racism are put forward. From that theoretical perspective the possible policy options for further European Integration are discussed. It is argued that Europe could be a role model for global evolution if it is possible to overcome racism and to use diversity as a creative force. As a driving agent for such a development the emerging class of organic intellectuals is identified.
This paper sets out to discuss recent economic developments from a twofold perspective. Both spotlights focus on the special role played by the current deep global crisis. The first line of argument centers on the history of economic ideas and shows how evolutionary economics has emerged as a promising alternative to mainstream neoclassical thought as well as to traditional Keynesian macroeconomics. The failure of standard macroeconomics to inform economic policy in the current situation shows that arguments of evolutionary political economists - from Malthus via Schumpeter to contemporary scholars - can and should substitute these inadequate models. The second part of the paper takes the argument for evolutionary political economy to a methodological level: The deep crisis of economic theory is necessarily also a crisis of the methodological apparatus used. Though evolutionary economics does not provide a welldefined alternative set of methods yet, it nevertheless seems to be the best foundation to build such a new combination, a methodological innovation, out of some of the most recent advances in formalization. These latter elements are briefly sketched.
The current economic crisis proves how deep the contradictions inherent in contemporary capitalism really are. At the same time it is evident that the financial crisis goes hand in hand with a social crisis, since an increasing number of people lost trust in governments, trade unions and other representative institutions. A main reason why the European Left nevertheless faces severe challenges in attracting supporters seems to be an experienced loss of what has been called ‘working class identity’ in earlier times. This development has been fuelled by the continuing debate on “identity constructions” as proposed e.g. by post-modernist scholars referring to “fluid” and ambiguous concepts of identity and strictly denying any social categorization. So there is a gap between the loss of working class identity on one hand and the focus on merely social identities on the other hand. To bridge this gap the two trajectories have to be linked. Thus, it is proposed to reflect the whole discussion on “working class identity” in the light of exploitation referring to classical political economy, but additionally to integrate social identity constructions by reviving the concept of alienation.
The most dramatic problem of European economic policy is the exploding unemployment rate in the Mediterranean EU-countries. This chapter sets out to explain the causal links leading to this major bottleneck in Europe’s economic dynamics. In the first part the causal chain is described in detail as follows: Unemployment is increased by austerity policy of governments – austerity policy is enforced by rapidly rising government debt – government debt has been rising due to bailout of banks and speculative interest rate attacks on countries – banking crisis and aggressive interest rate policy are a consequence of exploding demand for (uncovered) financial promises at global financial markets – uncovered financial promises are the only remaining channel for capital accumulation if increases in (real) labour productivity are dying away on a global scale. The phenomenon of European unemployment thus is explained by the impasse of the dominant global mode of production, which had surfaced first as the financial crisis in 2008. The second part of the chapter uses the insights of part 1 to study the contours of a possible EU employment policy, which can keep welfare levels in Mediterranean EU-countries as high as possible. It is evident that welfare mainly is determined by income, which for the majority of EU-households in turn depends on employment. Employment decisions can be divided into three sets: (1) Employment decisions of public institutions (e.g. reversing austerity policy?) (2) Employment decisions of small and medium size enterprises (e.g. changing work-time regimes?) (3) Employment decisions of transnational corporations (e.g. EU regulation and incentive structures transcending national boundaries?) I all three areas special attention will be on youth unemployment and the inevitable consequences that changes in retirement age will have. In a concluding section it is discussed how far a specific European economic policy (a ‘Pilot Project Europe’, see [Hanappi, 2013]) that differs from other policies followed in other parts of the world economy is feasible and can be embedded in the global context.
The capitalist mode of production has fulfilled a most astonishing 'historical mission' for the human species. It enabled an explosion of labor productivity gains and the discovery of new utility dimensions. But this progress came at the price of accompanying explosion of contradictions, of unequal benefits and burdens across global and local classes of humans. This paper sets out to explore what will happen if capitalism is finally ending, if its mission collapses. To do so a workable definition of the essence of capitalism is needed, I propose this to be the 'capitalist algorithm' – for a detailed treatment see [Hanappi, 2013]. The most interesting question then concerns the social mechanisms that might overcome – revolutionize – what currently dominates the behavior of large production conglomerates as well as their military arms on a global level.