Saving Jobs

Yesterday Rishi Sunak announced the next stage of support for the economy to see us through a coronavirus winter and mitigate some of the job destruction inherent within Brexit. It seems to be a short term working subsidy. It is described in the Guardian in an article entitled, “Covid scheme: UK government to cover 22% of worker pay for six months”. It requires employers to pay workers 55% wages for 33% hours. Below/overleaf, I also look at Richard Seymour and Rebecca Long Bailey's comments. ... ...

Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude

I should have more sympathy, but Unite’s United Left,, have just conducted an e-ballot, to determine who should be the UL’s candidate for General Secretary when Len McClusky stands down, which will have to be in the next two years. McClusky and his close supporters prefer Howard Beckett, currently Director of Legal and Politics, and he is being opposed by Steve Turner, the Union’s most senior industrial organiser, and currently Assistant General Secretary. E-Ballots are hard to run, particularly over the internet. Beckett lost be three votes and is claiming that the ballot should be re-run; I, of course, am laughing my arse off, as so many of Beckett’s supporters and he himself, felt that over Brexit, the I and the rest of the British people should be denied a ‘final say’ by having a re-run of the referendum, 🤣 …

The digital economy, surplus value and monopoly

The digital economy, surplus value and monopoly

More thoughts from a seminar. It was organised by one of the North London CLPs and was advertised as a look at the Digital Economy. So what did I learn and what did I think?

On asking how transformational is the Digital Economy, I am reminded that CV 19 has shown who are essential workers and raises the question as to why they are so poorly paid and that the Digital Economy is not yet ubiquitous. Distribution is not yet virtual and will never be, although with AI driven trucks and airborne drones, a lot of jobs can still be eliminated but I am reminded of Carlota Perez’s comments that the railways created demand for more horse drawn freight miles. The other work apart from the obvious health service workers that cannot be virtualised is cleaning and security.

One thing that was not said is that the platform companies and their software benefit from massive economies of scale, and the critical scaling factor is the number of market participants i.e. the consumers and suppliers; for Air BnB, room providers and renters, for Uber, drivers and riders. While some market place creators have applied massive imagination and science to the problems of IT scalability to support their global marketplaces, the IT plant is not at the heart of the value of these market places although we need to recognize that we’ll have to pay for cycles and the power they consume.

Copyright and closed source makes the software monopolistic which is then applied to the relationship with Labour, and in the case of both Air BnB & Uber non software capital is outsourced to the supplier! The value of the company is based on this market activity, not the value of capital employed and not the so-called cost of the software; the software expropriates the surplus value from the suppliers and the size of these markets acts as a further barrier to entry for competitors.

Copyright since it inhibits copying of the software, also underwrites the share value. This is important as we consider if these monopolies should be placed under common ownership. We need to recognize that copyright enables rental income on an infinitely available resource i.e. the software.

These problems are not new, it’s about how combine labour and the world’s natural resources to produce new stuff, the market is meant to optimise this and the platform companies break these economic rules, but fortunately we know how to regulate monopolies.

There is a need for some new thinking about the value of software and how markets might ensure optimal resource allocation but today the basic facts are that software copyrights enable the expropriation of surplus value and establish a rental income yielding super-profits, super-profits funded by the consumers.

The relationship between these marketplace platform companies[1] and their suppliers is exploitative, copyright laws add to the barriers to entry. Their practices are contrary to decent behaviour and the monopolistic nature of the enterprise, together with the subversion of the capital markets undermines their economic justification.

That’s the problem for socialists


[1] Banks are platform companies. …

Fatal Weaknesses

Fatal Weaknesses

This is part II of my commentary on the Labour Leak, it looks at the missteps and failures to control the bureaucracy from 2015 to 2019 and looks at the structural faults, the need for a robust segregation of duties, how Labour has changed its rules to make expulsion of alleged antisemites or troublemaker’s easier and how McNicol’s eventual departure allowed both damage to be continued and a cover-up to become deeply embedded within the Party.

What cost equality?

What cost equality?

51.5% of Labour MP’s are women and 20% of Labour MP’s are BAME.

But what about the class background of MP’s?

29% of MP’s went to private school (7% of the population did), 14% of Labour MP’s went to private school.

25% of MP’s went to Oxbridge (0.5% of the population did)

50% of MP’s went to the Russell Group of Universities, 24 ‘top’ universities (11% of the population did).

In 1979, 15% of MP’s came from ‘blue-collar’ backgrounds. In 2019, 3% did!

 …

Closing the Stable Door II

Tye Labour Party’s inquiry, now known as the “Forde Inquiry” after its independent chair, Dr Martin Forde, into the leaking of its investigation into the activities of its complaints team and senior management has published a call for evidence. It’s web site is at fordeinquiry,org and the call for evidence page is here and behind the image.

I plan to make a submission based on Unanswered Questions, also Closing the Stable Door and a third one based on the various acts in breach of the member’s charter, the rules and the law which impacted me personally.  …

Mushroom Therapy

I have just bookmarked Crispin Flintoff’s video made for Stand up for Labour, as part of his campaign to get the Party to spend more on the CLPs by means of remission of a higher proportion of the membership subs.

From 29:30 Dave from Milton Keynes, kicks off a discussion about the management and reporting of the Party’s finances. Two NEC members, Gurinder Singh and Jon Lansman comment on the exclusion of the NEC from the management of money. It’s really quite shocking. …

More Masonry

Paul Mason comments on the Labour Together report; the article examines how to reassemble a majority voting coalition, he argues it’s not just policy, it’s campaigning culture and this I agree about; he also argues that we must be ready to go into coalition with the SNP as we cannot win sufficient Scottish seats while Scottish Labour holds a unionist position. I think he maybe right about economism being sufficient but is too hopeful about Momentum, certainly the election campaigns to its national committee itself suggests that neither its leadership nor its challengers are ready to learn the lessons on political culture that he advocates. The Left needs to recognise why Corbyn’s coalition has fractured and learn how to rebuild a new one otherwise it’s in a minority in the Party and country. …