World Bank, human capital, Negri

Chris Burford cburford at
Thu Sep 7 19:59:23 MDT 1995

I must correct a misunderstanding about the world bank and Ben Fine.
Ben Fine is responsible only for saying there are surprisingly some
positive aspects in more recent world bank reports.

I am responsible for jaunty impressions about capturing the world bank
ideologically. In fact I thought I made it clear that a coalition of views
had the  chance of demoting simple deregulationist neo-classicism as the
prevailing wisdom of the World Bank.

I have no idea how far Ben Fine would go along with that, but he put
in a great deal of work on the Macro Economic Reseach Group to provide
the ANC prior to the election with an alternative to neo-classical

I am glad that Bryan likes the emphasis on human capital. This phrase
was suggested to me by the coordinator of the Southern Africa
Economic Research Group as the latest buzz phrase by which economists
who think they are orthodox and respectable are shifting their position.

It is extremely interesting that it intersects as you remind us
with themes on this list. I have not got into Negri myself and feel
a bit daunted so I cannot comment but I liked the piece Jon did some
time ago on cultural capital.

It also intersects with the thread on moral depreciation.

What we have here in marxist terms is the frontier between the
commodity and the non-commodity economy. However much commodity
exchange eats into human economic activity in its widest sense, like
a cancer, I believe the wider concept is ultimately the determining
one, whether we are talking about the micro psychological level or
the macro global level.

That is why it is so interesting that words like "value" and "capital"
transcend the boundary between commodity-mediated and non-commodity
mediated intercourse. We must, should and can, have faith that
the richness of human interaction will repeatedly reassert itself,
on the individual and on the global level too.

No I am not joking about the World Bank. It is accountable to every
worker in the world, whether they live in the USA or in Tahiti.

When necessary dead capital must bow before living human capital.

We must not lose sight of that vision.

Chris B.

In reply to

From: "Bryan A. Alexander" <bnalexan at>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 1995 20:44:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: World Bank, laugh tracks, Negri

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