Public Communication and Power: Talking Capitalism, Theory and Critique with John McMurtry

Abstract: This interview with globally distinguished Canadian philosopher and author, John McMurtry, presents dialogue discussing capitalism, asymmetrical power relations, life capital, social theory, common life interest, life value, global problems, market theology, media, values of the market and free market ideology today in relation to public education, academia, intellectual fads and the broader intellectual culture in relation to enabling public understanding of meaning-making and power, totalising market culture, climate, dispossession, health, influence, energy, labour, income, slavery, corporate welfare, neo-liberalism, the global ecosystem, and inequalities of class and power.

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Life-Value vs Money-Value: Capitalism’s Fatal Category Mistake | Prof Jeff Noonan

The 2008 financial crisis spread from Wall Street to the world almost overnight, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions, even though its causes had nothing to do with the production and distribution of any of the basic necessities of life. Instead, the crisis erupted because the financial system had become unhinged from its real function: supplying credit to productive enterprises. Finance capital increasingly made its money from complex “derivatives,” which are not claims on a company’s profit (as shares are) but on debts packaged and sold as investments. Immense profits were made, which provided the incentive to create more derivatives, causing debts to be piled on debts, all sold with guaranteed returns. Many of these derivatives involved American mortgages. Since these were backed by a physical asset (the house), they were advertised to institutional investors as highly secure, but the models assumed that housing prices would continue to rise. As it turned out, the housing market was a bad-mortgage fuelled bubble. When it burst, the “mortgage backed securities” became worthless, and banks from Athens to Iceland collapsed. Instead of having to foot the bill for their recklessness and greed, major banks were bailed out with hundreds of billions of dollars of public money. Workers lost their jobs, housings, and savings; Wall Street bankers paid themselves bonuses for the greatest failure of the financial system since 1929.

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“150 Years After Capital: Reading Marx as Life Grounded” by Prof John McMurtry


“One basis for life and another basis for science is an a-priori lie” – Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, 1845.

Marx’s Base-Superstructure Theory (BST) has long been a major object of controversy. It is deeply embedded in a monumental corpus of system-challenging analysis while secondary interpretations are deeply conflicted and rarely reliable. In general, partial takes and opposed propagandas militate against primary-source understanding. Within the last 35 years, a sea-shift of global culture to anti-foundationalist relativism has uprooted the very idea of a common base or ground. 

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Seeding, Feeding and Weeding our Physical, Mental and Social Gardens of LIFE | WINNFM – OPERATION ROOM August 21 2018

On August 21st, 2018, I was invited on Dwyer Astaphan’s Operation Rescue Radio Talkshow on Winn FM 98.9 to discuss a wide range of issues that deal with the health of individuals and society.

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Behind Global System Collapse: The Life-Blind Structure of Economic Rationality | Prof John McMurtry

This study examines the system-deciding principle of economic rationality for its logical soundness and effects in global practice. Analysis demonstrates the fallacious structure of the underlying assumptions of homo economicus across theories and institutions, and explains how cumulative destruction of global economic, social, and ecological life systems follows from its life-blind mechanism. Higher-order concepts of life-capital, life-value efficiency, and life-good supply and demand are then defined to bring economic rationality into coherence with terrestrial and human life requirements. Read More

John McMurtry on Project Sanity – “Knowledge is the secret of all human advancement”

Ep 19 VIDEO PREVIEW – John McMurtry explains the immutable social imperative to flip this cancer paradigm to life-coherence and how knowledge is the secret to all human advancement. Read More

Capitalism and Freedom: The Core of a Contradiction – An Essay on Cornelius Castoriadis and John McMurtry | By Giorgio Baruchello (2008)

0.0 Capitalism and freedom is not only the title of a 1962 book by Milton Friedman playing a pivotal role in asserting worldwide the neoliberal paradigm, but also the slogan that leading statesmen, politicians and opinion-makers have been heralding in recent years, in order to justify, amongst other things, the slashing of welfare states and the invasion of foreign countries…

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Why is an Ounce of Prevention less valued than a Pound of Cure?

Over the past two decades of my study of and my practice in medicine, I have always been perplexed by the disconnect between the principle and the application of the proverb, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Given the meteoric rise of non-communicable physical, mental and social diseases and the cost of their treatment and their burden to society, I would have guessed that policy makers would have made health promotion and disease prevention a top priority, and resources locally, regionally and internationally would have been invested in elucidating the determinants of health promotion and disease prevention and implementing the wisdom of that enlightenment.

Truth be told, much has been discovered over the past decade on adverse childhood experiences and the long-lasting effects on physical, mental and social diseases. Also Sir Michael Marmot and his collaborators have investigated the social determinants of health and have shown unequivocally that social gradients of inequality in terms of access to the basic means of life growth and development does in fact affect life expectancies and disability-adjusted-life-years. Given this trove of empirical data to guide our policy and decision makers, one would have thought that major steps would have been taken at the local, regional and international levels to remedy the social deficiencies in our homes, our schools and workplace environments. This would then serve to minimize adverse childhood experiences, (in addition to the adverse experiences of the adolescents, adults and the elderly) and would also serve to optimize the social, economic and political environments to produce enabling policies that would inform and encourage healthier lifestyles and behaviours. Read More

Understanding the Cancer Stage of Capitalism – Review of John McMurtry‘s Book – By Giorgio Baruchello

Reproduced from: http://www.globalresearch.ca/understanding-the-cancer-stage-of-capitalism/5349620 While US President Barack Obama bangs loud drums of war, the Pope (the first of the Catholic Church to choose the name of Francis) accuses “the great ones of the earth [to] want to solve” the world’s crises “with a war… Because, for them, money is more important than people! And war… Read More

Good and Bad Capitalism: Re-thinking Value, Human Needs, and the Aims of Economic Activity | Giorgio Baruchello (2009)

The world is experiencing a twofold crisis. On the one hand, the global, virtualised economy is collapsing and, in its fall, it is bringing down significant sections of the real economy. On the other hand, the environmental collapse of the planet is also marching on, and there is no clear sign that this may stop soon, for the most commonly discussed paths for economic recovery seem to rely upon further spoliation of the Earth’s life support systems. In this book chapter, the reader is to encounter an account of this twofold crisis in light of the deeper axiological grounds that are causing it. To this end, the present author refers extensively to the theory of value developed by Canadian scholar John McMurtry, according to whom: “[F]inancial crises always follow from money-value delinked from real value, which has many names but no understanding of the principle at its deepest levels.”

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