Thursday, 28 July 2016

World Bank Data Confirms that Big Business Has Lobbied Successfully For Reductions in the Tax Rates Paid by Corporations on Profits from 2000 to 2015

Very interesting interactive graph from the World Bank (Average percentage tax rate on corporate profit from 2000 to 2015). Provides empirical confirmation for the view that big business has been successfully reducing the amount of tax that it pays on profits during the past 15 years (actually it has been doing this since the late 1970s.) 

Details: "Total tax rate measures the amount of taxes and mandatory contributions payable by businesses after accounting for allowable deductions and exemptions as a share of commercial profits. Taxes withheld (such as personal income tax) or collected and remitted to tax authorities (such as value added taxes, sales taxes or goods and service taxes) are excluded.

Source: World Bank, Doing Business project (

Monday, 11 July 2016

Business Political Activity in New Zealand from 1990 to 2005

Here is the link to a journal article on this topic published in 2006. The PDF can be download for free. The general and historic points remain relevant.

POLS 323 Marxism: Classical and Contemporary - Videos and Links

This is where I'll be putting links to audio-visual and other material for POLS 323 Marxism: Classical and Contemporary during Semester 2, 2016. I will be adding to, editing, and updating this blog during the course of the semester. So it is a work in progress.

Some of the av-material and links overlap with POLS 208 Democracy, so check that blog out as well.

The lecture schedule is outlined below.

Lecture Schedule


1.    What is Marxism? Is Marxism Still Relevant? Why Classical and Contemporary Marxism?

Section 1: Laying the Foundations: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels

2.    Karl Marx: Intellectual Significance, Biography and Historical Context

3.    Marx’s General Theory of History: Dialectical and Historical Marxism

4.    Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: Analysing Capitalist Exploitation to Explain Inequality in Capitalist Society

5.    Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: The Causes of Capitalist Economic Crises

6.    Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: What is Alienation? What’s Wrong with Liberal Democracy?

7.  Frederick Engels’ Contribution to Establishing Marxism: Social History, Dialectics, Women’s Oppression, Editor and Populariser of Marx’s Writings.

Section 2: Classical Marxism: Overview, Context and Key Figures

8.    Classical Marxism and Lenin’s Theory of Revolution

9.    Lenin’s Conceptualisation and Defence of Socialist Organisation

10.  Rosa Luxemburg: Reform or Revolution?

11.  Rosa Luxemburg: The Mass Strike and Luxemburg’s Critique of the Bolsheviks

12.  Leon Trotsky: The Fight Against Stalinism

13.  Antonio Gramsci: Hegemony and Contradictory Consciousness

14.  The Classical Marxist Vision of Socialism: Revolution, Socialism and Participatory Democracy

       ----------------Mid-Semester Break----------------

Section 3: Contemporary Marxism

15.  Marxist Economics: The Global Financial Crisis and its Aftermath

16.  Marxist Educational Sociology: Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education

17.  Marxist International Relations: Imperialism and the Causes of War

18.  Applying Marxism in Practice: The International Socialist Tradition

19.  Marxist Ecology: Analysing the Causes of Resource Depletion, Habitat Destruction, and Global Warming

20.  Socialist and Marxist Feminism: Capitalism, Gender Inequality and Women’s Liberation

21.  The Ideological Bias of the Corporate Media: Manufacturing Consent?

Section 4: Anti-Marxism

22.  The Neoliberal Critique of Marxism

23.  The Anarchist Critique of Marxism

24.  The Post-Structuralist Critique of Marxism

Conclusion: Results and Prospects

25.  The Democratic Socialist Alternative to 21st Century Capitalism.

26.  Summary of Course

Videos and Links

Introductions to Marx and Marxism

Marx in Soho performed by Brian Jones
This play provides both a genuinely amusing and accurate account of Marx's life and central ideas. Well worth watching. Learn stuff and have a good laugh while doing so. 

'Karl Marx' 30 minute humorous introduction to Marx by Marx Steel (in 2003). Unfortunately the only online version I have been able to find is very low definition- but it is still well worth watching.


David Harvey on the Global Financial Crisis and Crises of Capitalism.
Animation of David Harvey providing a 10 minute oral outline of the Marxist analysis of capitalist economic crises. 

Roland Boer, 'In Defence of Engels', published on the Philosophers for Change blog site.
An interesting article by the author of a very good book on Engels:
Roland Boer, Criticism of Earth: On Marx, Engels and Theology (Chicago and Leiden: Haymarket and Brill, (2014 [2012]).
 Among other things, argues that Engels' "
writes of ‘two great discoveries, the materialistic conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalistic production through surplus-value …. With these discoveries Socialism became a science’.[31] As ever, Engels attributes these discoveries to Marx, but they were also very much his achievement."


New Zealand

For New Zealand material, some of which is relevant to this course, go to:

The Russian Revolution

The most accurate short (20 minutes long) video documentary on the Russian Revolution that I have been able to find currently (2016) available on Youtube is:
Timeline: The Russian Revolution - by British socialist John Rees - produced as part of a historical 'timeline' series of historical documentaries produced by Islam TV in the UK.

Rosa Luxemburg - Then and Now

 An excellent slideshow with Alistair Hulett singing the Internationale in the background.  

Lenin - What is Soviet Power?

Five minute speech by Lenin with English subtitles.

Another interesting short speech by Lenin:

Climate Change and Capitalism
The Titanic:

• To access the 2014 major assessment report (AR5) by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), go to:

If you want to download the most important graphs and figures then go to:

• To access the 2007 major assessment report (AR4) by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 
go to: 

Video showing thinning of Greenland polar ice based on international study using satellite data and photographs from the University of Leeds website.

See also the British channel 4 news report on the study (2012) at: 

"2012 Record Low Artic Ice Sheet".
The Arctic ice cap is melting at a rapid rate and may shrink to its lowest-ever level within weeks as temperatures continue to rise. Al Jazeera's Nick Clark joined an expedition travelling deep into the Arctic Circle to Qaanaaq, in Greenland. Three minute report on the melting of the Arctic ice caps. Well worth watching.

• Very interesting report on the 'carbon bubble' on the Guardian website.
Highlights which stock exchange listed companies have the greatest carbon assets and the financial risks that they face if these assets become unburnable due to the introduction of more effective environmental policies addressing the causes of climate change. This also indicates just how powerfully motivated these companies are to lobby governments to prevent them introducting more effective environmental policies to counter global warming. 

• Really interesting article in The Guardian:
"The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests."

• John Bellamy Foster gives lecture on capitalism and climate change. 

• Climate Central - a US based research foundation - has an interactive 'Surging Seas' map that allows you to see the degree of encroachment on land of sea level rises.

Comparative Statistics on Gender Inequality
• UN Women provides lots of interesting and useful comparative data on gender inequality and women's participation in government. 

The most recent (2011) Progress of Women report can be downloaded from: 

The World's Women 2010: Trends and Statistics can be downloaded from: 

The World's Women 2015: Trends and Statistics can be downloaded from:

• Statistics New Zeland bar graphs describing female representation in parliament and local government from 1996 to 2014 can be found at:


Videos on the Global Justice and Occupy Movements

Showdown in Seattle- 'This is what democracy looks like'. Part V of the Indy Media documentary on the global justice protests that successfully shutdown the millenium round of the WTO at the end of 1999. This sparked the dramatic growth of the global justice movement during the first half of the 2000s.

Occupy Wall Street Video: Global Day of Action, 15OCT 
Six minute video focusing on the protests of Occupy New York.
The Guardian: Occupy Protests Mapped Around The World

The Guardian: Images of the World Social Forum 2013 in Tunis

• A Twenty Year Programme of Neoliberal Fiscal Austerity?
British Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, said in 2013 that the cuts pushed through by the Coalition did not go nearly far enough. He said that there was a “very long way to go” and added: “This is not a two-year project or a five-year project. This is a 10-year project, a 20-year generational battle to beef up the economy in ways that we have not seen for many, many decades.”

The Neoliberal Critique of Marxism

Milton Friedman - Redistribution of Wealth Chicago and monetarist economist, Milton Friedman, providing a neoliberal justification of the unequal distribution of wealth in advanced capitalist societies.   
Hayek on Socialism Friedrich von Hayek providing a brief critique of socialism.

POLS 323 Music Videos

• Strand of Oaks - JM (Live at KEXP Grand Opening 2016) 
• Of Monsters and Men - I of the Storm 
• Shearwater and Sharon Van Etten - Stop Dragging My Heart Around 
• Tracy Chapman - Talking About A Revolution  
• The Uncluded - Delicate Cycle   
• Arcade Fire - Rebellion 
SHEER MAG - Fan the Flames 
Jamie XX - Loud Places 
• Manic Street Preachers - Motorcycle Emptiness 
Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy, the - Television, The Drug Of The Nation 
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Three Little Birds 
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Redemption Song 
Peter Tosh - Downpressor Man 
Courtney Barnett - Elevator Operator 
Courtney Barnett - Depreston 
Junkie XL Feat. Peter Tosh - Dont Wake Up Policeman (Sander Kleinenbergs Cold Turkey Remix)
• Princess Chelsea - Too Many People
Parquet Courts - Berlin Got Blurry 
• Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Full Band Version) 
PJ Harvey - The Wheel 
Courtney Barnett and Billy Bragg cover Velvet Underground's 'Sunday Morning' 
Aracade Fire - The Suburbs