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View Diary: Book Review: Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" (208 comments)

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  •  Additional Recommended Reading: (5+ / 0-)

    The Great Challenge: The Myth of Laissez Faire in Early Republic. By Frank Bourgin, Harper & Row, 1989.

    Mitt Romney and the conservatives are all wrong - it wasn't Adam Smith that the United States built its economy on. It was Alexander Hamilton and what was known throughout the 1800s and into the early 1900s as the American System of Political Economy.

    Interestingly, this book was Bourgin's PhD thesis at the University of Chicago in 1947, which was rejected by the History Department.

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 04:20:01 PM PDT

    •  And another, more recent: (4+ / 0-)

      Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry. By Lawrence A. Peskin
      Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

      From the Preface:

      Although much has been written about the "industrial revolution," we rarely read about industrial revolutionaries. This absence reflects the preoccupation of the two dominant twentieth-century economic paradigms with forces rather than humans when explaining economic change. Marx described the teleological march of history from stage to stage and finally to revolution, while Adam Smith glorified the impersonal decisions of the invisible hand. Consequently, both Marxism and classical economics tended to focus on social structures rather than the behavior of individual humans, behavior they largely understood as being determined by economic preconditions. Where these schools violently disagreed was on the nature of the moral-political results of industrial capitalism (whether positive or exploitative) rather than on its origins. Instead of examining broad macroeconomic trends and their results, this book deviates from both paradigms by intensively examining the thoughts and activities of Americans who promoted industrialization. These individuals were active well before Marx was born, and most were either ignorant of or unimpressed by Adam Smith. Unaware of the impersonal economic forces of modern social "science," these promoters hoped and believed that human beings could manufacture a new economy merely by convincing others that change was necessary. It would be foolish to suggest that they alone manufactured economic revolution, but it would also be foolish to attempt to understand the historical and cultural context of American industrialization without examining what they said and did.

      In speeches, petitions, books, newspaper articles, club meetings, and coffee-house conversations, they fervently discussed the need for large-scale American manufacturing a half-century before the Boston Associates built their first factory. Historians have known about these words for a long time, but in their rush to debate the effects of industrialization, neither Marxists nor liberals showed much interest in them. Those few who lingered on the causes of industrialization usually dismissed the words as mere rhetoric, dwelling instead on the deeds of entrepreneurs or innovators working on what one noted scholar called the "frontiers of change."1 This frontier analogy, implying hearty pioneering individuals leaving the comfortable confines of an older economy to strive bravely into uncharted markets is, however, not particularly apt. For by the time the entrepreneurs began building factories in significant numbers, the manufacturing promoters had already outlined the contours of the new economy. They did so not as individual risk takers but as groups, societies, and associations that met together to discuss economic change, to disseminate pro-manufacturing literature, to lobby for government support of early manufacturing efforts, and to create small experimental manufacturing projects.

      These groups launched a discourse about manufacturing that would continue for decades. In calling for economic independence to complement political independence, the words of manufacturing's promoters intellectually linked the two most important upheavals in the new nation: the American Revolution and industrialization. Although colonial Americans occasionally sought to promote domestic manufacturing, their efforts were scattered and paltry before the crisis of the 1760s. This turmoil inaugurated America's first sustained pro-manufacturing effort, and it was at this juncture that speeches such as the one delivered by Benjamin Rush to a group of Philadelphians promoting a small model project called the American Manufactory began to shape the discourse. For the next half century and beyond, orators such as Edward Everett would continue to draw on the rhetoric of the American Revolution to promote an economic revolution.

      The founding fathers and mothers were quite clear that political independence was basically meaningless without economic independence. And economic independence meant ceasing to rely on others for manufactured goods.

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 04:30:45 PM PDT

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