Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A SF Fraction Or Faction

I sometimes wonder if Ken MacLeod writes science fiction novels just for me. What other novelist has characters refer to Leontief matrices?

Anyway, he has a blogroll I find quite interesting to explore. I here skip over commentators on science and on current events. The suggested reading off Kevin Carson's mutualist site makes available all sorts of old works. I trust William Godwin's Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Political Justice is the pamphlet Malthus reacted to. I am interested in how the Ricardian socialists argued, on the basis of classical political economy, that the source of returns to capital is the exploitation of labor. I expect to find that that is an aspect of Thomas Hodgskin's Labour Defended against the Claims of Capital Or the Unproductiveness of Capital proved with Reference to the Present Combinations amongst Journeymen.

Another site on MacLeod's blogroll that will take me years to explore gathers essays refuting myths & legends about Marx. I suspect I will be more open to some of these arguments than others.

I have read compliments on David Schweickart. I want to recall to look up his "Economic Democracy: A Worthy Socialism that Would Really Work" (Science & Society, V. 56, N. 1, Spring 1992: 9-38) next time I am in a university library, also available at, which seems defunct.


Anonymous said...

I've read Ken MacLeod's first series of books (the fall revolution series) and was disappointed. Only the Cassini Division was a real page-turner. The Stone Canal started well (like MacLeod I studied at Glasgow Uni) but his "anarcho"-capitalist utopia was so unappealing and the characters were not likeable.

I'll stick with The Dispossessed and Women on the Edge of Time!

Kevin Carson's mutualist site is very good, although I think he blurs the real differences between the American individualist anarchist tradition and Proudhon's mutualist one. There are obvious links (the former was inspired by the latter), but Proudhon's critique of wage labour and support for co-operatives places him squarely in the social anarchist tradition.

I discuss the differences here (plus, of course, why individualist anarchism was a form of socialism).

David Schweickart is well worth reading. His Against Capitalism presents a good critique of capitalism and presents an essential Mutualist vision of socialism. His more recent After Capitalism is an edited version of it.

Sadly, Schweickart fails to mention Proudhon. Perhaps, because, in the Marxist tradition ignorance and dislike of Proudhon makes him a persona non gratia. Still, as his more orthodox Leninist opponents make clear, his ideas have obvious similarities with the French anarchist's vision of a co-operative based market economy (I discuss this in my article on the Paris Commune).

oh, btw, I've posted a link to your paper on Austrian business cycle theory and to this blog on this thread:

What Didn't Cause the Crisis?

I hope you don't mind.

Anonymous said...

Opps, I forgot to put my name to my above comment!

An Anarchist FAQ

Robert Vienneau said...

The Cassini Division was the first novel I read by Ken MacLeod and is my favorite in the fall revolution series too.

I have no problem with others linking to my stuff.