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This diary is actually composed of two parts. Today’s diary will address some history as to the basis of the social welfare states and social democracy and will explore the post-depression/post-war consensus (aka Consumer Capitalism). The second part will consider Neoliberalism and Globalisation and consider how we can address the concerted attack that we are currently facing in the advanced capitalist world.

I'd like to thank Cassiodorus and Richard Lyon for comments on earlier drafts of this diary. If you want to do a diary in this series contact Cassiodorus at: cassiodorus.senator@gmail.com or me as I am trying to help him.

One of the greatest victories of both social democracy and the creation of the social welfare state was the reduction of income inequality in advanced capitalist counties. One of its greatest failures was the destruction of international solidarity as so much of this was achieved by the continued exploitation of the 3rd world. The advanced capitalist world actually provided so much for its citizens. With the consolidation of the attack on the social welfare state what will be the future? Will the incomes of the majority of the advanced capitalist world be reduced absolutely or simply further stagnated (relatively reduced)? Will developing and 3rd world economies be allowed a limited rise to provide the effective demand needed by capitalist economies? So much of what will happen depends on the reaction of the majority in the advanced capitalist world; if the majority of Americans continue to believe that the system will protect them and not fight, then I fear that we will see ever-widening distribution of wealth and income. If we fight back and extend the fight to cover those in the 3rd world and developing countries, then we stand a chance to force those who make the decisions to yield in their attempt to impoverish those in the advanced capitalist world.

The wave of austerity programs throughout Europe is changing the nature of the post-depression/post-war (in Europe) settlement. Undercutting the social welfare state and the state/public sector (that has provided massive increases in the standards of living in advanced capitalist countries) means that the idea of stimulating effective demand both for domestic and international goods and services by covering the needs of the majority in the advanced capitalist world is shifting.  Where it could be arguing that capitalism is essentially anarchic and that the manner in which the system operates produces unintended consequences, the deliberateness of the attack on the social welfare state by governments to provide impetus for capitalist investment and expansion in the face of a crisis manufactured by deregulation, makes one wonder if the welfare of the majority of citizens in the advanced capitalist world are to be the current sacrificial lamb to the needs of the system for the attempt to expand profitability.

Social Welfare State and the Mixed Economy:

Social Welfare State and Liberalism:

To begin with, for those that do not understand this, the social welfare state was created not to undercut the capitalist system, but rather to save it from itself. Facing threats from internal instability of the system and an organised group of socialists and communists that were fighting to significantly limit capitalist property relations and overturn it respectively, it became a matter of urgency to intervene to save the system from itself.  

Keynes was a liberal; he loathed socialists and communists. From the point of view of liberal economists and policy makers writing at the time of the great depression, an unregulated capitalist system is an inherently unstable economic system. It is prone to booms and busts and other forms of economic cycles that invariably will create massive inequalities in income and wealth and persistent unemployment. While this may be fine from certain points of view (especially free-marketeers and those accustomed to looking at things from a short-term point of view), it does not cover the vast majority and that adds an additional impetus towards allowing for reform.

The abandonment of Say’s Law (production creates its own demand and/or savings determine investment) and the recognition of the importance of effective demand to the functioning of the capitalist economic system enabled a shift in discussion by both economists and policy makers. Instead of supply ensuring demand and savings being automatically invested, it was argued that actually it is demand and expected demand that determine investment, output, employment and economic growth (for further discussion on Say’s Law and theory of effective demand see: for those with economics background: http://www.dailykos.com/...; from an history of thought perspective http://www.dailykos.com/...).

The recognition of the obvious point that production of goods and services for profits requires someone to purchase said goods and services was treated as a revelation (although it was not completely new); if there is an underdeveloped domestic market with extremely low paid workers and high levels of unemployment and/or no international purchasers for these goods and services, growth becomes elusive (as an understatement).   At the very least it is way below capacity, depending on how burnt out the planet is from the ravages of capitalist commerce. Essentially capitalism is a demand driven/constrained economic system.

The creation of the social welfare state in the advanced capitalist world did several interrelated things:

  1. it provided sufficient effective demand by providing not only jobs (in the state sector, publicly owned industries, and short-term direct government job creation) thereby providing income to those to spend on goods and services produced in the system;
  1. acknowledging that the system itself cannot and will not produce full employment of labour, it provided for the basic needs of those that the system would not cover and at the same time, this also provided additional effective demand for goods and services produced in the advanced capitalist world;
  1. regulations controlling the worst aspects of the system were laid in place to try and mitigate the booms and busts inherent to functioning of the system (they could not eliminate them as cycles of all sorts are inherent to the system, but they could mitigate their intensity and they could mitigate their effect on the majority).

Socialists, Social-Democracy and the Mixed Economy:

For the socialists in Europe (social democracy never had the influence or power in the US as it did in Europe), their aims differed from those of the liberals. Believing that socialism could be created through reforms (as opposed to the revolutionary perspective of the Third International, see R. Luxemburg’s Social Reform and Revolution which I think is still extremely relevant today for the debate, analysis and criticisms of the aims of the second international, http://www.marxists.org/...), their policies were meant to constrain the capitalist system while offering protections and some alternatives for the majority.

The majority of these policies were implemented in post-War Western Europe and were essentially limited in comparison to earlier socialists' arguments and were conducted in the context of the threat from the Communist movements in these countries and those in eastern and central europe.  These policies restricted inequality between wealth and income that characterised the capitalist system, land reform
was undertaken in countries (e.g., Italy) where land was concentrated in the hands of former aristocrats and landowners. This was not only done to enable subsistence production, but also due to fears of communist takeover in the post-war period.  

Public/state owned industrial sectors of production in water and energy (utilities) and transport were created. Their priorities would not be regulated by the notions of "efficiency and profitability" as it was deemed that the needs of the society rather than the needs of private producers were relevant; the obvious additional consideration was that these forms of enterprises function better as a monopoly rather than in the context of a competitive system to ensure provision of these resources. Additional nationalisations were undertaken when businesses or industries failed in the attempt to stave off an increase in the persistent unemployment inherent to the capitalist system. Offering alternatives to the power and instability of the capitalist economic system, while not the transformations envisaged by Kautsky and Bernstein, this system certainly provided increases in income for the majority and a rapid reconstruction in the post-war period.

The Third World

One important thing needs to be pointed out. While this applied to the advanced capitalist countries, the great improvement in the lives of ordinary people in these countries was not extended to those of the third world and developing economies. The cruellest practices of the system may have been stopped in the advanced capitalist world, but they continued apace in the 3rd world.  Governments of advanced capitalist countries did everything they could to prevent the rise of left-wing and progressive populist movements in these countries and also prevented the spread of unionisation and labour laws including health and safety legislation protecting the majority of the population in these countries.

Initially, production (either capitalist or production for the capitalist market) in these countries was limited to raw materials and primary products to be used in further production in the advanced capitalist world. This left these countries very vulnerable to bumps originating in the advanced capitalist world.  While in advanced capitalist countries, a deficiency in demand could be dealt with by lowering prices for final commodities and decreasing production, in third world countries (with limited labour law and trade unions), the decreased demand for primary goods essentially resulted in decreased wages and joblessness (see, Raul Prebisch who treats this as cyclical and Hans Singer who argued that it was systemic, http://en.wikipedia.org/...).

By the late 1950s-60s, the import-substitution and dependency theory arguments in were then incorporated into economic policy in Latin America, Egypt (under Nasser) and India. These theories and policies argued in favour of the development of the domestic markets (through enabling better wages and incomes, subsidies on necessary commodities such as staple crops, bread, water), provision of and internal economic development in these countries along more equitable lines (state owned industries, the nationalisation of natural resources formally owned and operated by foreign multinationals, subsidies to protect domestic infant industries against external competition, attempted formation of trading unions with other 3rd world countries, the development of industry in these countries that are no longer dependent on the advanced capitalist world for technology and fixed and circulating capital).

Needless to say, this provoked a strong reaction from not only the governments of the advanced capitalist countries (leading to several foreign military interventions and military take-overs), from right-wing economists in the advanced capitalist world (see e.g., Friedman’s role in the economic development in Chile under Pinochet This regime was regarded by Klein and by Kees van der Pijl as the test case for neoliberal economic regimes) and the deliberate recruitment of students from 3rd world countries to universities in the US ... again see Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine), but also from extra-governmental agencies like the World Bank and the IMF. The attack from advanced capitalist governments and extra-governmental agencies to protect the interests of multinational companies was severe. This includes the support of dictatorships and oligarchic families that deliberately maintained and reinforced the status quo, forced privatisation, and the elimination of subsidies of all types in order to provide the funds needed for economic development under the guise of export-led growth or economic development.

... to be continued either next week as part of the anti-capitalist meet-up or separately under my own name depending on the needs of writers and contributors in this series

Originally posted to NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 02:58 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 02:58:15 PM PST

  •  maybe not a great night for the diary, but (15+ / 0-)

    wanted to make sure the group keeps on going ... hopefully some people will show up ...

    No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:07:21 PM PST

  •  Great idea and lots of work. Any titles (6+ / 0-)

    or content for the next diary (or diaries) ?  Thank you so much.

    "Never, desist till we ... extinguish this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, will scarce believe that it suffered a disgrace and dishonor to this country.

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:16:29 PM PST

    •  that is up to Cass, I can put up the second part (4+ / 0-)

      of this if nothing else is available; but it would be great to get something from other people. :)

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:18:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  any volunteers for the next diary? (4+ / 0-)

        any ideas? do you want the second part, what do people want or think or are interested in writing about?

        No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

        by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:58:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  cough cough, responses? any ideas or comments? (2+ / 0-)

          I am sure that we all want as contributory a group as possible, so .... please!

          No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

          by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:07:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It has taken me awhile to get back here. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassiodorus, NY brit expat

            Bookmarked to finish reading.  Boy, I wish I knew something more, but this is very helpful.  I started reading Baseline Scenario a year ago or so just to understand a little more economics.  Simon Johnson was on Bill Moyers and I could comprehend what he says.

            I thought from your first posting, that you had something laid out.  But your effort here was well done, lots of information in a short essay.

            I wonder if this should be reposted another day?  

            "Never, desist till we ... extinguish this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, will scarce believe that it suffered a disgrace and dishonor to this country.

            by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 06:20:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can repost without problems, but there have (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Regina in a Sears Kit House

              been a number of comments and it might be misconstrued in some way or another. Don't want to get into problems with the rules of the site or the powers that be.

              Thanks so much for your comment Regina!

              No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

              by NY brit expat on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 07:08:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  The post-war system made an inherently.... (7+ / 0-)

    .....unstable and unequal system more tolerable and could have been, in the right hands, a steppingstone towards socialism. Capitalism's record within the 3rd world is abhorrent even to the present day where (and I don't have the stats on the top of my head) billions live on literally the equivalent of a dollar a day or something like that.

    I am not optimistic for the future either, the forces in favor of an austere, less regulated capitalism are STRONG.

    As a committed socialst I never thought I would long for some old-fashioned Keynesianism, but I think that's the best we can do for now.

    "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine..."

    by lams712 on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:17:12 PM PST

    •  Exactly, I agree completely ... in the other (5+ / 0-)

      part of the diary, I have some suggestions for what we can try and fight for in this period.

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:19:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US (5+ / 0-)

      and Europe ignore it.

      From the Guardian, Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it

      With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. Life expectancy in its rural communities, half of which have no access to clean water, has fallen to little more than 40 years over the past two generations. Locals blame the oil that pollutes their land and can scarcely believe the contrast with the steps taken by BP and the US government to try to stop the Gulf oil leak and to protect the Louisiana shoreline from pollution.

      Find your own voice--the personal is political.

      by In her own Voice on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:25:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for this, it is an excellent (4+ / 0-)

        example of what I talked about in the diary about the impact of foreign MNCs on 3rd world countries; not only that but our media found it completely irrelevant. It was covered in detail in the Guardian and other progressive publications, but largely ignored by the mainstream media. Would you be interested in doing a diary on Transitional US and cooperativism in the US (current not historical unless you want to do so)? That would be excellent!

        No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

        by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:29:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lams712, NY brit expat

          I would really be happy to do that, I am just in very difficult times, myself -- very stressed and pulled many directions.

          I will work on it, but right now I cant commit to a time slot.  That's the best I can do -- hope you will forgive me.  It's easier for me to speak out in short spurts in the comment section;  I don't mean to bring up issues and then not be able to carry through on them.

          Find your own voice--the personal is political.

          by In her own Voice on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:49:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  that is great, whenever you can do it ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lams712, In her own Voice

            we really need to get more ideas and discussions from people and to broaden the scope of the discussion and diaries. Can you write to Cass and let him know that you are willing to do a diary, explain the general situation, etc. :) thanks ihov!!

            No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

            by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:05:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cass knows -- we've already (3+ / 0-)

              interacted.  She knows I am in a tough spot.

              I think it's important to get the Environmentalists, the populists in the economy diaries, and the energy people interested in this meet-up group.

              All along I've said we are working with a complex system here and one cannot accomplish much without the others.  We need to understand how hold-outs in one prevent movement in the other.

              Would Jerome a Paris be willing to join with this effort--he has the goods on the relationship between energy, economy, environment.  I know OPOL has been a part, but he is quite good at bringing in the emotional issues of social justice, whether economic or environmental.  Patric Juillet could put us together at a table so we could eat and talk.

              Find your own voice--the personal is political.

              by In her own Voice on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:15:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  The situation in Europe (8+ / 0-)

    is really more interesting to watch than the US. Neoliberalism has been firmly anchored in the US for a generation and is running its inexorable course. There is more suspense about how things will turn out in Europe. However, the neoliberals appear to be making headway there as well.

  •  It is interesting that while the U.S. (7+ / 0-)

    and Europe tried to block adaptability in the economics of the 3rd where, the reality is that some of them are breaking from those efforts to block them and are experiencing significant growth from a left leaning perspective.

    This argues that at the very least there is not a one size fit all model for how one should do economic policy making.

  •  What did you think -- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712, NY brit expat

    of Levy and Dumenil's Capital Resurgent?

    So OK you have embarked here on an ambitious attempt to tell the history of capitalism.  On the one hand the capitalist system must have a consumer class, whereas on the other hand a reserve army of the unemployed (as discussed in that famous purple passage at the end of volume 1 of Capital) kept and will keep wages down, so they like that a lot.  Poverty good; profits good too.  In the Golden Age of Capitalism, I gather, the elites tried to cultivate that reserve army in the Third World under the guise of "anti-communism."  Today the cause du jour is the War on Terror or neoliberalism or whatever.  

    But today the consumer class itself is proving to be a competitor for monies which might otherwise go to propping up banking elites, thus austerity in the US and in Europe.  This could lead to widening contradictions.  Is a discussion of that forthcoming?

    Oh, and fyi: my response to bruh1: http://www.dailykos.com/...

    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us" -- Gandalf, in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"...

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:35:17 PM PST

    •  I've always found the regulation school (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, Cassiodorus, lams712

      interesting, but have not read Capital Resurgent. I agree completely that the competition for monies between the banking elites and the consumer classes is what is leading to widening contradictions with the consumer classes holding the weaker hand unless we are able to separate the marriage between financiers and MNCs and governments in advanced capitalist countries. That is what I am examining in part II, I'll send it to you later so that you can hopefully give me some more excellent suggestions.

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:47:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This needs to be said as many time in as many way (4+ / 0-)

    ways as possible, so that it can eventually be understood by the suffering classes and by those middle/upper classes who feel safe in their investments.

    To begin with, for those that do not understand this, the social welfare state was created not to undercut the capitalist system, but rather to save it from itself. Facing threats from internal instability of the system and an organised group of socialists and communists that were fighting to significantly limit capitalist property relations and overturn it respectively, it became a matter of urgency to intervene to save the system from itself.  

    As many here do, I feel a collapse is imminent; I believe we will lose our reserve currency position. And even though we may decide to begin production here with exporting to build a tax base for social programs, this action will come too late.

    We must really begin to plan a way of providing for each other in some really difficult times--begin to think about evoking compassion and cooperation (which is part of our human nature as much as is opportunism and competition!)

    I'm glad we are talking about this here, yet I feel a sense of urgency about doing something.  I believe the Transition US (Transition Culture -- international) with its focus on local community cooperation and local currency is the only thing I've found that has come anywhere near organizing a structure for support.

    I believe the next few years are going to be dark and difficult.  Sorry if I'm sounding like a doomer, but if you read any of my earlier diaries (back in 2007) about the need for preparing for the perfect storm, then you know this position is not coming from panic and despair, but from a realistic need to provide necessary preparations, crisis intervention, etc.

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:51:02 PM PST

    •  I, for one, would love see a diary on (5+ / 0-)

      Transition US and other groups and cooperativism in this series.

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:55:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, please (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lams712, NY brit expat

      repost some of your diaries on the transition. We need a plan!

      •  thanks, mj, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mint julep, lams712, NY brit expat

        but I'm afraid my ideas were basic mental health cultural collapse preparation and building community.  I haven't had success with that in my location -- even though there are liberals here in Texas/Houston, times are still too good for the thinkers to consider a problem is coming at them faster than they can blink!

        I'll be glad to put up a diary with some links, but community organization requires people getting on the ground and organizing.  Until people are convinced they have no options, they are not usually willing to consider changing their lifestyles.

        I believe we are going to have to see more disturbance before there is willingness.

        I'm afraid the crazies are going to become violent before any real effort at community stabilization can take place.  Consider the assassination attempt yesterday.  We need a voice of leadership we don't currently have -- locally or nationally.

        I expect that there will need to be such a breakdown that we will look to, give authority and help to the U.N. to establish order, peace keeping, and a plan for us all to share resources.  How many will have died by then, I don't know...

        Find your own voice--the personal is political.

        by In her own Voice on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:43:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hear you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lams712, NY brit expat

          and I agree, but I also think we need to be ready to jump in when the shit hits the fan and people are ready to listen. Organization needs to be in place or there will be chaos.
          What happened yesterday was a long time coming. So many here and I saw it. Why didn't anybody else?

          •  That is what I don't get, how many of us (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mint julep, lams712

            were warning about the dangers of a rising hard-core right in the US, how many of us were talking about a rising fascist movement? This guy was already on homeland security's radar according to several things that I have read; think of how many others there are like this person whom have membership in hard-core right-wing organisations?

            No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

            by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:14:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How many? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lams712, NY brit expat

              Too many if you ask me and some of those nutjobs are in my own family! They are convinced the violence will come from the Left. BTW total silence from them on what happened yesterday. They didn't want to talk about it!
              They danger, I think, is not so much the Organizations, they are easy to watch. The danger is from the 'lone wolves' out there who think they have to save the Nation from the commies. And they are armed to the teeth!

              •  armed to the teeth, ideological justifications (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mint julep, lams712

                at the ready and happily marching in line with a right-wing movement financed by the extremely wealth with mouth-pieces given legitimacy, access to power and influence by the mainstream media.

                Of course they don't want to talk about it. The republican party has been hoping to co-opt them and refuse to accept any responsibility, media like fox news have encouraged them and spread their hate and lies.

                No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

                by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:26:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  What do you think it will take, short (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mint julep, lams712, NY brit expat

    of global economic collapse, mega-geological disasters (abrupt climate change), interruption of food production, water shortages -- a general breakdown of culture, for major change to be implemented?

    For the last thirty years (or more) I've listened to "be the change", "we create our own reality", "the shift in consciousness is near".  I've seen it beefed up--I've seen groups of people really work hard--put their hearts, energy, money into activism (just like those did who voted for Obama). -- With the same result--little seems to happen in terms of change.

    What will it take?
    What can we do?

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:35:19 PM PST

    •  honestly global economic collapse (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, lams712, In her own Voice

      in the absence of a group of people willing to fight (not by violence, but argue, struggle) will not necessarily do much except for further impoverish people. The points that you raise are things that I think we really need to discuss and hammer out. Much of the discussion is trying to get people to realise the seriousness of the situation, argue that alternatives exist not only contemporaneously but also historically, and get people to try and think about what an alternative system would look like and what we should work towards. I think that we need to get people to understand that the economic system is not necessarily the ally that they think it is; that while it was a massive advance compared to feudalism, it has become parasitic on so many levels and that for the sake of humanity and the planet alternatives need to be created and that we need to start thinking of how we can cover everyone, not just those in advanced capitalist countries, not just the extremely wealthy while waiting for crumbs to be dropped from the table ... the crumbs are dwindling, we are far less important or exceptional than we think we are and there are real dangers, such as an organised right and a completely disorganised left.

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:41:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Economic collaps (3+ / 0-)

      followed by food shortage is my guess. many groups have started 'community gardens', but I think not enough. When it happens those gardens will be raided, everybody for themselves type of thing. My garden used to get plundered on a regular basis without leaving me anything, so I stopped until I have enough money to fence the whole damn thing in. I don't mind sharing, but...

  •  Great Post, N.Y.B.Ex! (5+ / 0-)

    All the important programs and social welfare legislation passed by he Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration -- the WPA, Conservation Corps, Social Security and the like -- were designed to save Capitalism from destroying itself through its inexorable greed.  The wise capitalists, such as FDR, understood that unless conditions were ameliorated, a revolution might likely take them all down.  They had seen what happened in Russia in 1917.

    Today's Friedmanite capitalist class lack even that elementary wisdom, believing that now their power is so immense as to be untouchable, no matter how much misery they cause to the majority of citizens.

    But will a handful of whistle-blowers be able to set the stage for the dethronement of the rich and powerful?  Stay tuned for the next installment of exposes, as Wikileaks takes on one of the big banks.

    Let us hope that exposing the pattern and practices of the Banksters' massive criminal looting of the middle and working classes will be the spark which sets off the demolition of the existing capitalist economic structure and sets us free to create a truly human, democratic society.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care,unions, and WikiLeaks.

    by Justina on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:15:30 PM PST

    •  Thanks Justina, it is excellent to see (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, mint julep, lams712

      you here. I always appreciate your comments. I really think this will take so much organisation at the grass-roots level and we really need to start getting the idea of solidarity to begin being raised as an organising principle again; I am convinced that if we leave the future of the social welfare state to be dependent upon pity and compassion or self-interest, we will lose even the pathetic benefits that people take for granted.

      I am trying to get people to volunteer to write diaries, can you get in touch with Cass? Goinsouth seems to be taking a break and we are trying to keep things going. I really love your stuff and would love to see more of it here. Thanks so much!

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:20:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just so you're aware. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat

        My former collaborator apparently feels that he has outgrown my involvement and input so I've backed off rather than engage in some tug of war over a diary series.

        •  Goinsouth I think that you need to talk (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          goinsouth

          to Cass, I am certain (100% certain) that there is a miscommunication/misunderstanding going on rather than anything else. Please do not back off, everyone (and I mean everyone) respects you, desires your ideas, involvement, input and organisation skills. Please talk to Cass! The way that all of us see this group is as a collaborative effort, you are an essential part of this collaboration.

          No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

          by NY brit expat on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 07:13:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Social Security was created (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712, NY brit expat

    ... NOT to undercut capitalism -- But actually strengthen the Economy:


    FDR:

    "This law represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means completed -- a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions, to act as a protection to future administrations of the Government against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy -- a law to flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation -- in other words, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness."

    -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Aug 14, 1935;  Source: ssa.gov  Social Security History

    Some of Social Security's forgotten Champions


    Where's the Note?    -- SEIU

    by jamess on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:18:20 PM PST

    •  exactly Jamess, as was welfare, aid to dependent (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mint julep, lams712, jamess

      children and families, food stamps ... although very different types of programmes (one a contributory gov't pension scheme available for all classes) and the others aimed at the poor and working poor; these were passed to save the system, not to undermine it.

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:22:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who would like to write a diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712, NY brit expat

    for the anticapitalist meetup, and when would you like to write it?  We meet every Sunday at 3pm PT/ 6pm ET...

    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us" -- Gandalf, in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"...

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 05:39:53 PM PST

  •  heading off to bed, will check tomorrow (3+ / 0-)

    for any new comments and future diary volunteers. thanks to everyone for reading and participating and your excellent comments.

    No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 06:06:21 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this excellent diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, lams712, NY brit expat
    •  Thanks babeuf for your comment, reading the diary (0+ / 0-)

      and participating. welcome!

      No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable (Adam Smith, 1776, I, p. 96).

      by NY brit expat on Mon Jan 10, 2011 at 07:14:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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