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  •  Not a student of Marxist theory -- a question (1+ / 0-)
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    WB Reeves

    So perhaps this is already a well-recognized idea, but I haven't seen much made of it:

    From the depression through at least the 70s, Marxist theory seemed to be wrong, at least in industrialized western countries.  Workers shared in productivity increases, the standard of living went up, and inequality was stable or actually declined.  I remember studying communism in junior high (or was it high school?) and the book made fun of Marx's "theory of increasing misery," pointing out that it was self-evidently wrong given the benefits of economic progress.

    That all has come to an end over the last 30 years.  100 %, or even more, of productivity gains have gone to capitalists and the workers are struggling to keep their heads above water.  Why?

    Here's my idea.  (As I say, it may very well not be original, and I don't take any credit, but I haven't seen people making the point.)  I think the explanation is the end of the cold war.  As long as we were rivaled by a "communist" empire, we had to compete; and competition included keeping our workers more or less happy.  This was necessary both as a matter of foreign policy (to show the world our system was better) and domestic tranquility (wouldn't want the workers getting any ideas about a Marxist solution).  But once the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union ceased to be serious competition, the capitalists had no reason to hold back.  There's no longer as much need to maintain a satisfied middle class.  

    What do you think --  is this valid?  Have others made this point?

    "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

    by RenMin on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:11:01 AM PDT

    •  I think you nailed it. (0+ / 0-)

      People have talked about this but not much in public forums. It might not be popular to say so but without the reality of the Bolshevik Revolution and the fear of its example, it's unlikely that we would have seen the reforms of the New Deal, etc.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 12:13:11 PM PDT

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