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Re: <nettime> Debt Campaign Launch
Brian Holmes on Sat, 10 Dec 2011 12:31:06 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Debt Campaign Launch

Ed, you get the prize for the most considered, long-ranging reflection
ever performed around a set of nettime posts!

Plus I would like to point out in your favor that the Monopoly sector
exists, despite the supposed magic of the marketplace, and that yes,
indeed, the absence of competition like the absence of passion or
solidarity or love of the underdog, breeds a long blank stare.

I have recently (that is, 2 months ago) begun reading James O'Connor's
Fiscal Crisis of the State, which is a lot about the Monopoly sector
in postwar capitalism, and the book is so goddam interesting that
I can only read a chapter at a time and then let it percolate for
weeks. OK, of course monopoly is more accurately dubbed oligopoly as
you point out, but the end result is the same: price-fixing among
the dominant forces, and barriers against the entry of anyone else
into a given sector. O'Connor's brilliant insight is that the State
mirrors the monopoly sector to the extent that the upper bureaucrats
in the state demand the same kinds of wages. And so they create the
same kinds of distortions and sinecures. All that is left - the crumbs
plus lots of unemployment - goes under the third rubric of, get this,
the Competitive sector, which despite Milton Friedman and Arnold
Schwarzenneger and all the other neoliberals, is actually the crap end
of the economy, where capitalism is expressed as disposable people and
immiseration. For the majority, of course.

The University is a well-oiled machine precisely to the extent that
it exploits these bloated possibilities of State Monopoly Capitalism,
you are right and I stand corrected if ever I implied that competition
was the driving force (which is of course what neoliberal ideology
claimed, totally falsely and with naked self-interest). In fact,
organized expropriation is the driving force. In the case of the
University of California, what are the big sectors? Defence obviously:
pure monopoly capital. Biotech: speculative capital oiled by huge
state contributions that are supposed to ensure that the US will be
leader of an industry which has largely been "profitable" because of
the subsidy itself (the first chapter of Melanie Cooper's "Life As
Surplus" is excellent on biotech). Then you have the medical schools:
I dunno how much the state contributes there, but basically all
rich people contribute to medicine so it's billionaire city, plus
the monopoly-sector insurance companies love expensive medicine,
what better excuse for charging a fortune? Which is why the sons
and daughters of the middle classes are always advised to go into
medicine, because a doddering bureaucratic sugar daddy is easier to
find there.

But finally, what is the biggest, fattest, most egregiously profitable
sector of the University for any professional rent-seeker looking to
cream off, say, a million dollar salary?

Football, of course. Just coach it.

To refer back to the title of this thread, why exactly should people
reimburse their loans to these Monopolists? What exactly is their
moral obligation to Justice and Equality before the Lord God of
Almighty Debt?

Well, I just don't know.

all the best, Brian

On 12/09/2011 03:46 PM, Ed Phillips wrote:
I've been chewing over and ruminating on this conversation and on some
of the posts that Brian Holmes linked to from another list, and I'm
asking myself what some of the broad themes are and what kind of
idiosyncratic foray I might make that could add to the conversation.


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