From Alpha To Omega
Critical Thinking & In Depth Interviews
#054 Councils Upon Councils
September 22, 2014 03:17 PM PDT
This week I am glad to welcome C. Derrick Varn back to the show. We discuss the council communism and the Ultra-left, a man who told Stalin where to go and survived, autonomous Marxism and the Occupy Movement, and the failure of revolutions.
The music and voice used on this show are:
‘The Order of the Pharaonic Jesters’ by Sun Ra and his Arkestra
Paul D'Amato discussing the life and work of Antonio Gramsci
‘The Charleston’ by Django Reinhart
'Working Class Hero' by John Lennon
'Destroy Everything' by Dr. Peacock & Repix
'Wild Colonial Boy' by Tommy Makem and The Clancy Brothers.#053 What's Next? Part II
August 30, 2014 03:53 AM PDT
This week we have part two of our discussion with Professor Peter Hudis, of Oakton Community College, about his book 'Marx's Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism'. We talk about the Soviet experiment and the alienation of labour, the role of the state in a post-capitalist society, the Spanish revolution and the anarchist understanding of revolution, and the co-operative model as an alternative.
You can get the Professors book here:
August 16, 2014 02:40 PM PDT
This week I am delighted to welcome Professor Peter Hudis, of Oakton Community College, who has recently published his new book: 'Marx's Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism'. We discuss what Marx had to say about post-capitalist societies, and the reluctance of those on the left to talk about what it might actually look like. We also talk of the theoretical reasons for the failure of the Soviet and Maoist projects, how abstract labour dominates our lives, and how not even the capitalists are in control of the current system.
You can find the Professors book here: http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/Marxs-Concept-of-the-Alternative-to-Capitalism
Enjoy!#051 Cry Me A Volume
July 27, 2014 09:21 AM PDT
This week I am delighted to welcome back to the show, the Jazz Pianist, Marxist auto-didact, YouTube star, and the man behind the Kapitalism 101 blog, Brendan Cooney. I’ve recently just finished reading volume II of Marx’s Das Kapital, and so I’ve invited Brendan on the show to see what he makes of it all. We discuss Marx's concept of science, dialectics, Rosa Luxembourg and empire, the role of gold and silver in Marx's work, and the games people play.
You can check out Brendan's Blog here:
And his great YouTube videos here:#050 The Matrix
June 27, 2014 03:00 PM PDT
This week I am delighted to welcome back the economist, economic historian, and extremely prolific author, Professor Michael Perelman of the California State University, Chico. We talk about the latest book he is working on: 'The Matrix: An exploratory political economy of the dangerous, paradoxical interactions between war, the economy, and economic ideology'.
You can check out the Professors books here:
And here is his blog:
Enjoy!#049 Cold Fusion, Brains, and Computers
May 20, 2014 02:14 PM PDT
This week I am delighted to welcome back to the show, the renowned mathematician and computer-scientist, Prof Gregory Chaitin. We discuss his new paper: 'Conceptual Complexity and Algorithmic Information', which details his thoughts on a new theory of the brain, and what it would mean for consciousness. We also talked about another passion of the Professor - low energy nuclear reactions, or as it is more commonly known, ‘Cold-Fusion’. In the past episodes, we've talked with a number of people about the coming energy and environmental crises. Now we get a chance to hear some positive news from the more eclectic end of the research spectrum.
You can find the paper we discuss here:
The Professors website is here:
And you can find all his books over here:
Enjoy!#048 Whither Underconsumptionism?
March 28, 2014 02:53 PM PDT
This week we have the second part of our interview with Professor Andrew Kliman. We continue our discussion about his latest book - ‘The Failure of Capitalist Production’ - and in particular focus on Andrews critique of the Underconsumptionist Theory of Crisis, which is pretty dominant on the Marxist and non-Marxist left alike. We hear how the empirical evidence sits squarely in the face of this theory, what role financialisation has actually played in the economy, and the similarities between Keynesianism and Underconsumptionism. We also talk about the new book Andrew is working on, and just how impressed I am by how well Marx’s theories are able to explain the world around us today.
You can find the article for the New Left Project that Andrew mentions in the interview, critiquing Sam Gindin's view of the crisis as financial, here:
And you can find Sam Gindins response to Andrew here:
Enjoy!#047 The Failure of Capitalist Production
March 14, 2014 05:35 PM PDT
This week I am delighted to have Prof. Andrew Kliman back on the show to talk about his latest book - ‘The Failure of Capitalist Production’. The book is a brilliant example of empirical economic research, and shows us how relevant and insightful Marx’s work still is, in helping us understand the workings of our capitalist economy.
We discuss the empirical evidence in the US that supports Marx's Tendential Fall in the Rate of Profit, the stagnation of capital accumulation, and the role of the IT revolution in the state of the economy. We also talk of the Great Depression, how it sowed the seeds for the renewal of the global economy, and what is behind the growing inequality we see around us today.
You can find Andrew's book on sale here: (I very much recommend buying a copy!)
And his blog is here:
Enjoy!#046 Engines, Entropy, and Value
February 22, 2014 01:42 AM PST
This week our guest is Dr. William Paul Cockshott, a reader in the Computer Science Department of Glasgow University. Paul was trained as an economist, then as a computer scientist, and he has made contributions to the fields of image compression, 3D television, and parallel compilers. He is also known for his work in applying econophysics to classical economics, the field of economic computability, and as the co-author of the book 'Towards a new Socialism', advocating for the more efficient and democratic planning of a complex economy.
In this show we discuss the origins of classical political economy, and how it was influenced by the rapid advances in the world of physics. We talk of the importance of Watt and his steam engine, the development of the theories of thermodynamics and entropy, and their importance in economy. The work of Babbage and Alan Turing also get a mention, as well as the human as universal robot. We also discuss the overwhelming empirical evidence for Marx’s Labor Theory of Value, why it is that it works, and the importance of the work of previous guest Prof. Gregory Chaitin in the modern factory. Oh yes, and some roman pottery, chinese crossbows from the Qin Dynasty, and how difficult it is to fold your clothes.
You can find his books, talks, and research on his website here:#045 Dollar Hegemony
January 31, 2014 03:16 PM PST
This week our guest is Matias Vernengo. Matias is an Associate Professor of Economics, at Bucknell University, and a former Senior Manager of Economic Research at the Central Bank of Argentina. He blogs regularly at his site Naked Keynesianism, as well as for Triple Crisis, and is currently the co-editor of the Review of Keynesian Economics. We discuss a paper he recently co-authored with David Fields on the hegemonic role of the Dollar in the world economy. We talk of the advantages of being the worlds reserve currency, the Bretton Woods agreement, Nixon closing the gold window, the Triffin Dilemma, threats to the dominance of the dollar in world trade, and the irrelevance of gold in today’s financial system.
You can find his excellent blog here:
The Triple Crisis blog here:
And the Review of Keynesian Economics Journal here:
You can also find the paper we discuss here:
Hosted by Tom O'Brien this podcast hopes to feature in-depth interviews with leading figures in the fields of Economics, Peak Oil, Democracy, Politics, Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Complex Systems, Agnosticism, Permaculture, Collapse, and the Environment.
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