Review: “The Lama Question: Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia” – Christopher Kaplonski

Christopher Kaplonski’s “The Lama Question: Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia” is the third book I have read about socialist Mongolia. The book is not a comprehensive historical analysis of the struggle between Mongolian socialists and the feudal Buddhist establishment like its name might suggest. Rather, Kaplonski’s interest is in elaborating on anthropological theories of state violence, especially Giorgio Agamben “state of exception” … Continue reading Review: “The Lama Question: Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia” – Christopher Kaplonski

Review: “Socialist Revolutions in Asia: The Social History of Mongolia in the Twentieth Century” – Irina Y. Morozova

Irina Y. Morozova’s “Socialist Revolutions in Asia: The Social History of Mongolia in the Twentieth Century” was not what I had expected — and not in a good way! When I first ordered this book from Routledge, I had hoped for a more balanced history of socialist development in Mongolia than B. Shirendyb’s heavily pro-Soviet book “By-Passing Capitalism” (not that I think B. Shirendyb’s book … Continue reading Review: “Socialist Revolutions in Asia: The Social History of Mongolia in the Twentieth Century” – Irina Y. Morozova

Review: “Japan’s New Imperialism” – Rob Steven

“Japan’s New Imperialism” by Rob Steven is a slightly-dated (published 1990) but nonetheless comprehensive analysis of the rise of Japanese imperialism in Southeast Asia since the 1970s. Since the end of decolonization, “a new revolutionary force is sweeping through and transforming Southeast Asia. That force is capitalism, and once again the catalytic upsurge in its development is coming from Japan,” so begins the book. Examining … Continue reading Review: “Japan’s New Imperialism” – Rob Steven

The Permanent War Economy and De-industrialization

(Image: Detroit, Michigan, the former centre of America’s auto industry. Source)

Politicians of all political stripes like to dress inflated military budgets, and the wicked arms deals that frequently accompany them, in terms of “job creation.” Former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, arguing against any reduction in military funding, claimed that any decrease “would result in job cuts that would add potentially 1 (percentage point) to the national unemployment rate.”[1] Here in Canada, both Stephen Harper and his Liberal counterpart Justin Trudeau have justified the $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the largest such deal in Canadian history, as a means of creating jobs. “The fact is that there are jobs in London relying on this” deal, Trudeau said [2].

A closer examination will reveal something different. By not producing a life-serving product, i.e., an article used for either consumption or for further production, military spending is not only the worst of available choices for job creation, it contributes to industrial and infrastructure decay. Continue reading “The Permanent War Economy and De-industrialization”