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Book Reviews: 'The World in Crisis', & 'Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist'

'The World in Crisis'. Edited by Guiglelmo Carchedi and Michael Roberts, (Zero Books, 2017)

Karl Marx believed that capitalism had a tendency for the rate of profit to fall, and that this is ‘the most important law in political economy’. The Socialist Party has been non-committal on this ‘law’, partly because of its unfinished state (basically notes edited for publication by Engels after Marx’s death), and partly because the ‘law’ seems to be questionable due to what Marx called ‘counteracting factors'’. Also, some leftists have invoked a tendency for the rate of profit to fall as the cause of capitalism’s inevitable collapse (not heard so often these days, they are capitalism’s falling rate of prophets).

Exhibition Review: Never Going Underground

The Sexual Offences Act became law in 1967, the consequence being that sex between consenting adult males in private was no longer a criminal offence. An exhibition ‘Never Going Underground’ on LGBT+ equality at the People’s History Museum in Manchester marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Act (it’s on till 3 September). The title is a reference to the use of a logo based on that of the London Underground.

Many gay men had had their lives more or less ruined. For instance, in 1958 Conservative MP Ian Harvey was found guilty of ‘committing an act of gross indecency with another male person’. He was fined £5 but, as his counsel noted, he would in fact be paying for the rest of his life. Not that the 1967 Act would have made much difference to Harvey, as his offence took place in a park.

Banking for Food

Food banks are one of the most obvious examples of the extent of poverty, and more and more people have been using them. In the six months to September last year, the Trussell Trust, which operates a large number of food banks throughout Britain, handed out three-day food parcels to over half a million people, an increase over the same period in 2015. There are also more food banks in operation now than ever before. Many of the hungry are in fuel poverty too, and some food banks have even begun to give out tampons, as some women were using newspapers or handkerchiefs when they could not afford proper sanitary products.

Book Reviews: 'Money and Totality', & 'Dirty Secrets - How Tax Havens Destroy the Economy'

'Money and Totality'. By Fred Moseley. (Haymarket Books, 2017. 400 pages)

The subtitle sums up what the book is about: A Macro-Monetary Interpretation of Marx's Logic in Capital and the End of the 'Transformation Problem'.

We sometimes say that universities neglect Marx on economics. This is not strictly true as there is a sub-section which does look at Marx's views here, from an academic point of view. One of their fields of study is the so-called 'transformation problem'.

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