Paul Mattick jr. “Business as Usual”

June 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm (Uncategorized)

Paul Mattick junior has a relatively short but very readable account of the crisis out called Business as Usual. The book is a collection of articles he wrote for the Brooklyn Rail, which appear in an edited form here.

While I have a different view of the roots of the crisis to Mattick (See Internationalist Perspective’s examination of the tendency of  rate of profit to fall here), the book is a useful summary of the crisis and the absurdity of capital’s attempt to control the system. (There’s a fairly positive review by the Socialist Party of Great Britain  here )

The final page is reprinted below:


In relation to such possible developments, there is a positive aspect to the disappearance of the Left historically; Left organizations, seeing their own existence and influence as central to the success of any revolutionary struggle, typically obstructed the exploration of new ideas and modes of action by activated masses of people. But, in any case, the main forms of organized Left activity – the parties, unions, and radical sects that had roles, sometimes important ones to play in the development of modern capitalism – have lost those roles. People will therefore have to develop new forms of organized activity, if they are to respond  to the ongoing collapse of capitalism by constructing a new social system. Nineteenth-century names like ‘socialism,’ ‘communism’ and ‘anarchism,’ tied to the now-defunct Left whose inspiring visions have been historically entwined with conceptual inadequacies and institutional monstrosities, may no longer be useful for naming this new system, the other world anti-globalist protesters call for, which is as necessary as it is possible. Whatever it is called, it will need to begin by abolishing the distinction between those who control and those who perform the work of production, by replacing a social mechanism based on monetary market exchange (including the buying and selling of the ability to work) with some mode of shared social decision-making adequate to a global economic system. Even if the economic difficulties inherent in capitalism would thus be obviated, the ecological problems capitalism has created would of course remain, requiring full application of the creative human energies a radical social transformation would unleash. But it is clear that the precondition for a desirable human future requires us to move beyond the increasingly dysfunctional system, subordinated to the imperative of private profit-making and capital accumulation, through whose most recent crisis we are now moving.



  1. Add Me to the Chorus Praising the Interview with Paul Mattick, Jr. In Brooklyn Rail « Never Got Used To It said,

    […] Tablets, which posted an excellent excerpt from the interview; then I read about it again through Notes from Underground, which posted the equally fascinating final page of Mattick’s current book, which is a whole […]

  2. A View of the Crisis « Notes from Underground said,

    […] June I recommended Paul Mattick jr.’s book on the economic crisis Business as Usual , while disagreeing with aspects of his […]

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