Re: [sixties-l] Whose Left? (waiting for the Depression_

From: William M. Mandel (
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 01:36:43 EST

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        The burden of my post was not only not a prediction, but a stated
    disavowal of prediction. I started my list of evidence that we may be on
    the verge of an economic crash with the words, "I do not know" whether
    the current developments described will have that result.
        But unless one can demonstrate that business cycles are a fiction,
    and that Marx' analysis of why and how they occur is mistaken (I am no
    longer a Marxist, but my disagreement is with his "scientific
    socialism," not with his analysis of how capitalism works), then the
    elimination of regulation must produce what we used to call an economic
    crisis, aka Great Depression. The total disproportion between the zoom
    in the stock market for the past decade and the rate of profit is
    precisely what occurred in the run-up to 1929. Today's stock prices are
    simply a fiction: a bet on an ever-rising market.
        I certainly see no less arrogance in today's new-money billionaires
    than in those of that date. The Bush program of regression toward the
    time when there was no income tax, a program with its fundamental
    support not in young Silicon Valley but in oil -- he himself is the
    third generation of an old-money family -- is as clueless as that of
    Hoover's day.
        The particular reason why one cannot predict either when the bust
    will come or how profound it will be is that deregulation is not back to
    pre-Roosevelt levels. Most important in that regard is the
    micromanagement of interest rates by the Federal Reserve. Perhaps
    someone with special knowledge in those two areas can carry this
    discussion forward.

    Marty Jezer wrote:

    > 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
    > 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.
    > Cheers,
    > Marty Jezer
    > Author:
    > Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words
    > Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel
    > Rachel Carson: Author, Biologist
    > The Dark Ages: Life in the USA, 1945-1960
    > Visit my web site
    > Subscribe to my Friday commentary (by reply e-mail). It's free!
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: William M. Mandel <>
    > To: <>
    > 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
    > what the
    > > Great Depression, when I was an activist teen, was like, as well as
    > the
    > wild
    > > 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
    > 26,000
    > > layoffs by DaimlerChrysler, the smaller layoffs in NASDAQ firms, or,
    > above
    > all, the
    > > insane California electricity "crisis" mark the beginning of or will
    > trigger
    > > another Great Depression. I do know that when it happens (of course
    > it
    > will happen,
    > > as we now live under deregulated capitalism, which is what brought
    > on the
    > last one,
    > > ultimately resulting in the New Deal regulated capitalism
    > legislastion,
    > which has
    > > prevented a recurrence till now), the complacent idiots of the right
    > and
    > of the
    > > "progressive" Democratic center will, to quote Ronald Reagan's quote
    > of a
    > Russian
    > > 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
    > under
    > > unusually stable conditions. So -- fasten your seat belts.
    > >
    > William Mandel
    > >
    > >


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