>Would you mind elaborating further?
That's the wrong question to ask me, buddy.
You're right that there's a lot of overlap between the arguments. I think it's to be expected, in a 'blind men touching an elephant' kind of way. The actual truth is likely to be a mixture of all three positions, because history and society aren't neat like my precious sterile STEM labs.
Also note that the first two arguments weren't originally aimed at explaining 'what's the matter with kansas', I've just tried to extrapolate their premises to relate them to the topic at hand. Also all errors must be assumed to be mine and not the original authors'. Frankly I think that regardless of the root cause, Neel's theory best explains why the politics of the hinterlands have taken the trajectory they have.
Regarding root causes, I think it's interesting that >>690023
lumped 1) and 2) as 'capitalism is collapsing', since neither Greer nor Tainter are in any way Marxists. As a matter of fact, the manner in which Greer claims society is collapsing is a far cry from Marx's predicted trajectory for capitalism. To be fair, the exhaustion of society's basic energy (and food) supply was not something even remotely relevant in Marx's time, being before even the Haber-Bosch process. I think Greer is one of the only people I've seen who (correctly) point out that terrestrial renewables are no substitute for oil and their mass deployment will not allow production to continue on its current path, which is enough for me to forgive him for being the arch-druid of north america or whatever dumb shit he's on. I think Greer is mainly useful as a competing situation. As in, while all this shit is happening with the capitalism's crises and accumulation &c. &c., we're also low-key running out of the thing that's the basis of our whole society, it's causing issues, and it'll be a big problem for whatever society comes out of this next episode of Capitalism's Bullshit.
Jehu, on the other hand, sees capitalism collapsing 'in the other direction', as it were. Certainly his monomania for Marx means that his arguments are more in line with Marx's predictions compared to Greer. He argues that we're just now reaching the limit of capitalism's ability to maintain itself by debasing the currency, one of the last things delaying the lack of value production from causing a reckoning that requires a reorganisation of production or else the mass destruction of production - communism or barbarism. He argues that this general crisis already happened before in 1929, we were presented with the same choice, and we chose barbarism, an extended period in which the state is forced to step in and do exactly what Marx said it would have to do.
this post and the ongoing series of posts in his blog is relevant to this argument, he even cites an earlier example of the clearing out of labourers rendered superfluous by the development of agricultural productivity - namely, the small-holding Oklahoma farmers of the Great Depression.
The fact that I don't provide a clear reason for why his conclusion is 'we have to reduce labour hours immediately' is because I quite frankly don't really understand it myself. I tend to find Jehu's economic arguments to be quite strong, and I greatly admire his desire to bring empirical rigour to what he categorises as "philosophizing bullshit", but I find his prescriptions for action quite lacking. I can appreciate the principle of what he's going for. He basically argues that capitalism either is doing or has done most of the work of dissolving its own basis and abolishing itself, our work is essentially giving a little push that precipitates a reorganisation - like how bumping supercooled water precipitates ice formation. But I think, despite his criticisms of them, he listens too much to the communisers, who are actually just a bunch of french poseurs. Also I don't really understand the "communism is free time and nothing else" motto.
Bear in mind that I haven't done nearly as detailed a reading of Jehu as I'd like and both Grossman and Postone have been taunting me from their position atop my to-read list. Perhaps despite my verbiage I'm actually just Dr. Brainlet, PhD.
I can't in good conscience provide more detail on Neel's argument, as all I wrote was what I gleaned from the summary provided here. Bad form, I know. When I eventually do read him I hope he goes into more detail (ie, numbers) about the processes that stripped the wealth and industry of the midwest, because I sometimes hear conflicting reports about the true nature and extent of this process - namely that production capacity didn't go down nearly as much as is claimed, only employment. Or that neither went down for substantial parts of the region, and the problems are located elsewhere - perhaps limited to exhausted resource extraction or comprehensively automated agricultural labour. As someone who grew up semi-rural though, I have a soft spot for anyone that a) remembers that kulaks still exist and b) dumps on them as the reactionary historical relics they are. In conclusion, kulaks delenda est.
An interesting commonality with theories 1 and 3 is the complete rejection of the 'working class' as a relevant section of society. For Jehu it's because they've effectively already been abolished by the superfluity of their labour. For Neel it's because, similarly, more and more people are being locked out of engagement with capitalism entirely, left to build a society of their own in the Cursed Earth outside Mega-City One. Both, I think, could trace that idea back to Hardt & Negri's 'multitude', through the later notion of the 'precariat'. They also share in common the notion that full, not-a-dream, not-a-hoax, communism is or should be on the immediate agenda for communists today. Having seen a vast chunk of the population laid off this year with no appreciable shortages in production, I'm increasingly coming around to this way of thinking. Really very little of the labour done in society today is actually necessary, it does seem very reasonable to think that the 'lower phase of communism' is either entirely unnecessary or else has already passed us by in a heavily distorted, capitalist-led form.
Could you give a summary of his argument? I have a blind spot when it comes to Sakai. I tried reading Settlers but I found that it resembled a liberal sermon more than a Marxist polemic so I didn't get very far. Perhaps I was just in a shitty racist settler-colonial mood at the time though.