We on the left have been predicting imminent depression for years. Every
economic downtown and we nod our heads in expectation, each nod reinforcing our own delusion. William is right in one regard though. To the degree that the free marketeers have their way and undo the regulatory protections of the New Deal, the greater the possibility of a multi-faceted economic disaster. But don't count on it.
In the 20's and early 30's, the establishment was an inbred WASP
aristocrisy, clueless and arrogant. Today's establishment is more a meritocracy (smart and ambitious people from all backgrounds) and they respond fast to changes in the economy. Faster than most of us on the left who, like generals, are always refighting the last war. Of course, there is the possibility that greed, ambition, and ideological (free market) zealotry might blind them to reality (as the dot.com bubble did) and lead to economic problems that they haven't anticipated. But it's not in the cards,as I see it. Corporate moguls (as opposed to right-wing think tank Ayn Rand fanatics) are a pragmatic bunch and quite ready to do whatever it takes to stay in business.
And, hey folks, this bit of unorthodoxy is not an endorsement of
capitalism. Maintaining macro prosperity means causing micro dislocations
and much human suffering. Capitalism is a great engine of wealth-creation
but there's nothing about it that's fair or ethical. Communities are
constantly destroyed in order to keep it functioning. But on its own terms,it functions! The left is often so caught up in wishful thinking and dated ideology that it loses perspective as to what is really happening.
Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words
Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel
Rachel Carson: Author, Biologist
The Dark Ages: Life in the USA, 1945-1960
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----- Original Message -----
From: William M. Mandel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2001 5:24 PM
Subject: Re: [sixties-l] Whose Left?
> I have the advantage -- strange to call it an advantage -- of remembering
> Great Depression, when I was an activist teen, was like, as well as the
> disregard, disdain, and also fear of the Left in the Roaring Twenties,
when I was a
> precocious newspaper reader. I do not know whether today's announcement of
> layoffs by DaimlerChrysler, the smaller layoffs in NASDAQ firms, or, above
> insane California electricity "crisis" mark the beginning of or will
> another Great Depression. I do know that when it happens (of course it
> as we now live under deregulated capitalism, which is what brought on the
> ultimately resulting in the New Deal regulated capitalism legislastion,
> prevented a recurrence till now), the complacent idiots of the right and
> "progressive" Democratic center will, to quote Ronald Reagan's quote of a
> phrase, be swept into the dustbin of history. I also know, as the result
of a long
> conscious lifetime, that attempting to predict history is nonsense except
> unusually stable conditions. So -- fasten your seat belts.
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