Patrice Riemens on Sun, 4 May 2008 22:28:37 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Making a Killing from Hunger

Hi All,

Despite the fact of having written in my thesis (1985) (*) that just
like History according to Karl Marx is the history of class struggle,
our economy is the economics of transfering incomes from household
to firms, and that up to the point where all incomes are transfered
and the the world stops (really the capitalists' least of worries), I
still think that our friend Brian has fallen of the edge here.

In what ressembles so much a conspiracy theory that it is one
(**), he endorses the rickety combination of the latest version
of the capitalists need ever fresh terrains of endocolonialst
exploitation blame game to that very old cow (Roman history anyone?)
'the speculators did it' explanation. The whole thing has some
traction, but it won't get us all the way over the hill.

The current food squeeze looks like, and has indeed all the
frightening potential to become, a remake of the Great Bengal Famine
of 1943. In this largely unknown biggest tragedy of WWII, where
almost as many people perished as in the Nazi death camps, the
shortfall of grain avaibility as opposed to demand was less than
1,5%, yet prices, fed by speculation and hoarding trebled, before
spiralling out of control (and like one century earlier in Ireland,
the British overlords did nothing to alleviate the situation, or
rather the contrary. Blame my Gallic temper for seeing some kind
of 'perfide Albion' consistent characteristic here - continued in
our times, globaly ruled by a TINA Anglo-Saxon logic). And pace the
incompressible intellectual avantgardists in our midst, the starving
will _not_ revolt, simply because starving people are simply too weak
to revolt (another lesson of the Great Bengal Famine and many other

Neo-liberal capitalism's relentless, and hitherto remarkably succesful
march to accumulate ever further, and boldly go where it never had
gone before - or even held for possible, is a political fact, but not
a political decision in the 'parliamentary' sence of the word, and
thus can not and should not be countered as such. And unfortunately,
the call for the alternative, regulation and intervention instead of
(a remarkably selective form of) laissez-faire, is very unlikely to
take flight, since 'the system' has been so resourceful in making us
believe, in a myriad of ways, that it is both only a default mode
('the economy as a meteorological phenomenon' as I call it) - and the
only one on offer. TINA again. In fact, every societal system does
that, up to a certain point. Ours simply stretches it for much longer.
And in the meanwhile of course, most of us, sorry, of 'them', will
probably be dead.

In the aftermath of the Great Bengal Famine, with so much of the, only
temporarily inneffective, demand wiped of for good, a large number of
speculators and hoarders did not make a killing at all (besides an all
too real one) but went bust instead. "Meet the New World. Same as the
Old World" - Pat Cadigan)

(No) Cheers from patrizio and the Diiiinooos!

(*)  ;-)
(**) "If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, flies like a duck, and
quacks like a duck... it must be a duck! - supreme justice Rehnquist (OK
it's originally from Richard C. Cushing...;-)

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