Saturday, March 6, 2010

US neoliberalism versus European social democracy.

What with university I haven't posted for ages but I thought this post on the Wessex regionalists discussion board was good enough to be repeated here:

"I'm hardly a defender of the US system. I simply don't consider social democracy
as any better. Both systems have their many faults, some similar and some
different. Basically neoliberalism and social democracy(or the Keyneisan
consensus.) are statefueled, very similar systems which ultimately are just
about supporting corporate-capitalism in slightly different ways.

What one needs to recognise about corporate-capitalism and capitalism is they
are state creations; state intervention has been used to benefit the rich and
corporations. This however creates a structural imbalance, which is at the heart
of Keynes' diagnosis of the problems of capitalism and which is key to Marx'
business cycle theory and to many other similar observations(for instance JA.
Hobson's and the Hammonds.).

This imbalance is basically that the state intervention upsets the distribution
of wealth so that a few are very rich compared with most people's income and
most importantly these few take a very large proportion of the proceeds of the
production of goods compared to their numbers(or indeed their actual input.).
This means that there are too many goods being produced for most people to buy,
ie there is overproduction of goods, as the rich simply cannot or will not use
all their income to buy the goods being produced and the average people, taken
as a whole, cannot afford to. Linked to this the rich end up with a lot of
money, far more than even the most debauched is likely to spend on luxury, which
they need to do something with and they naturally, due to the internal dynamics
of the system, feel they need to invest. But as mentioned there is already an
overproduction of goods domestically so that this accumulated capital is too
much to be normally useful investment which leads to the situation of an
overaccumulation of capital.

So basically the original imbalance leads directly to a situation of
overproduction of goods, where there are goods being produced without the
effective demand to purchase them and an overaccumulation of capital which
cannot be invested with any likelihood of a decent return. So this means that
either the system will experience a crisis(such as a depression.), it will be
dismantled or the state will have to intervene further in order to manage demand
and provide reasonable outlets for investment. The middle option is that chosen
by distributism, the last one is that of both the neoliberals and social

Obviously there is a lot of shared ground between these latter ideologies, they
both attempt to open up more markets overseas(in which their nation's companies
are advantaged.), they both enact demand management and guarannted outlet
programs, they both attempt to try and maintain labour discipline and maintain
discipline among the populace at large so as to ensue the largest, safest profit
for big business and the rich. The difference is only in emphasis. Social
democracy, or the "Keyneisan consensus", attempted to bring big businsess, big
gov't and big labour together in a relatively harmonious attempt to deal with
these problems and it tends to have an important place for social welfare within
the demand management and population pacification realms. Whereas neoliberalism,
reacting to several problems like stagflation, accumulation crises and the 60s
legitimisation crisis that arose in social democracy, emphasises bringing labour
and the population to heal rather than working so hard to bring them on board.
It also downplayed the importance of social welfare compared to direct markets
and subsidies to corporations(although this was only a minor readjustment;
direct markets and sudsidies were important during the Keynesnian consensus as
well.) and made sure the balance between big gov't and big business was
maintained and gov't, who big business utterly relies on, did not overstep the
boundaries that the corporations decide upon.

Obviously this continued state intervention leads to the production of even more
goods and the accumulation of even more capital which perpetuates and increases
the original imbalance. Hence unless even more demand is conjured up by the
state to get enough of these goods purchased and even more outlets are found for
enough successful investment of overaccumulated capital then the system will
crash. the obvious inference is that this cannot go on for ever, one day the
operations will become too much for even the most energetic of modern gov'ts and
whether it is in 10 years or a 100 the system will collapse, unless it is
dismantled beforehand, and the crash will be that much bigger for all the effort
aimed at keeping it at bay for so long.

This is why distributism is not a luxury but a necessitity, the only other
solutions are the chaos of an evential massive collapse of global capitalism or
a new form of slavery, as Belloc realised.

Social democracy therefore is little better than neoliberalism, they are both as
corrosive to local and regional loyalties, to intermediate associations such as
family and local community and to traditional values. They are both as
state-driven and opposed to real economic freedom for most individuals where
they have the ability to own their own houses, their own land and productive
property and, if they do choose to work for a wage, where they can have a proper
dignity as an artisan and not a proletariat wage-slave. Certainly most employees
in Britain, Australia or Western Europe are hardly in a much better ultimate(not
in mariginal ways like a bit more pay but real econommic freedom such as
independence, control, dignity creativity and such.). I have only worked casual
jobs myself but everything single one has been like pulling teeth, I doubt
socially democatic Australia is much better than the US in this respect(although
obviously my personal experience doesn't go past partime jobs while I'm

When to the US, it is the federal gov't which created the corporate-capitalist
system far more than the state, the states would have not been able to engineer
such a system if the feds had been kept in their place, or it is unlikely
anyway. It has taken massive intervention since 1789 including opendoor
imperialism, the Brettonwoods institutions(which are little more than a way for
Western capitalists to dominate the world's economies.), corporate personhood
and welfare, guaranteed buyer schemes like the military-industrial complex and
so on. Did you know that congress' own 1980 report showed that in 1976 direct
subsidies to industry outweighed corporate profits?

Certainly we need to be more intelligent than those who paint the feds as always
bad and the states and locales as always good, we are talking of humanity and
there needs to be balance(although whether that requires a gov't the
size[geopraphically as well as other kinds.] of the US federal gov't is
obviously questionable.). But as regionalists and decentralists it is obvious
that we are going to feel that on balance the states and locales are better and
should have more power than the higher up levels and on balance we are supported
by the evidence.

One positive of the American system is that, outside the liberal coasts, the
elites and the media, there is a far more conscious and cohesive section of
social conservatives who, misled as they are in choosing allies and in how they
view economics, still maintain old fashioned values and committment to the key
smallscale associations like the family and a necessary idea of social cohesion
which under so much threat in Europe and which when undermined results in the
tensions and problems of social atomism and the clear scope for centralised
power to move in with the barriers and support of a healthy, strong society and
social bonds removed. Obviously corporate-capitalism and its necessary statism
will achieve this social disintegration almost as fast in the US, but at least
there is a more cohesive, conscious faction(because we exist in Britain and
Europe but lack group consciousness and cohesion.) which doesn't consider social
disintegration and atomism a good thing(the only difference between atomists
seems to be the divide between the right atomists who want powerful corporations
to provide for an atomised society and left atomists who want a powerful,
centralised state to provide for an atomised society.) unlike a lot of
Europeans(and liberal yanks.) who have come to celebrate the lack of any but the
most vague and fluffy social values, social authority and social bonds as a
positive development; as if an individual shorn of all his social and cultural
supports is likely to find freedom, contentment or peace."

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