[Dowd is van 1919, Amerikaan, en was vijftig jaar lang hoogleraar in de economie en de geschiedenis van de economie. Daarnaast is hij al heel lang politiek activist in zijn strijd tegen met name het Amerikaanse kapitalisme en tegen economen die zich gedragen als de 'cheerleaders of business and finance' - zoals hij het noemt - in plaats van eens na te denken over hun aanvechtbare vooronderstellingen. Hij heeft een eigen website. Dit boek bekritiseert vanuit grote sociale betrokkenheid die vooronderstellingen van het kapitalisme via een uitwerking van de geschiedenis ervan, van Adam Smith tot het jaar 2000. De kritiek is helder en goed onderbouwd, de beschrijving van alternatieven voor het kapitalisme en zijn dogma van 'groei-tegen-elke-prijs' in de laatste pagina's is helaas wel erg mager.]
Het boek begint met een tegenstelling van twee verzamelingen van economische feiten:
"As the twentieth century ended, two sets of economic facts stood in stark and disturbing contrast. First, for the first time in history, existing resources and technology taken together had made it possible for all 6 billion of the earth's inhabitants - now or within a generation - to be at least adequately fed, housed, clothed, educated, and their health cared for. And second, instead, well over half of that population was malnourished (with numberless millions starving), ill-housed, ill-clothed, ill-educated, in precarious health, and stricken by infant mortality rates and average life-spans belonging to the era of the early industrial revolution - when there were no more than 2 billion people.
The contrasts between the possible and the actual illuminate the disgraceful realities of that century. Yet, as this is written, capitalism - 'the marlcet system' - and its economic theory stride arm in arm on parade, celebrating their joint triumph, aloof and oblivious to these ugly facts.
But many who are neither capitalists nor economists know or sense much or all of those realities, and feel something other than triumph. They are alarmed at what exists and fearful of what edges over the horizon, and baffled, stupefied, or angered by what passes for economic wisdom. Using only good sense, these uneasy or indignant people see contemporary capitalism as producing a set of ongoing and imminent disasters for most people and much of nature: and they could rightly see economists serving not as society's economic doctors but as cheerleaders for business and finance.
This book, a critical analysis of the dynamically interdependent histories of capitalism and economic theory, contends that the 'many' are right, and sets out to show why."(xii)
[Hier wordt ondubbelzinnig een standpunt ingenomen en kritiek geleverd op het kapitalisme en haar economen met als doel helder uit te spreken wat de meeste mensen al lang weten maar niet zo goed onder woorden kunnen brengen: dat het kapitalisme niet deugt.]
Mensen voor wie solidariteit nog iets betekent vragen zich - tegen alle kritiekloze lofzangen op het kapitalisme in - af wat het kapitalisme nu eigenlijk heeft opgeleverd in een wereld waarin maar 15% van de wereldbevolking een redelijk comfortabel bestaan heeft terwijl de rest elke dag een strijd moet leveren om te overleven.
"Capitalism's record has two sides to it. Of course it has meant improvements in most areas of human existence for some, whether measured in comfort, education, health, productivity, or income levels. But there is the other side, whose components are casually ignored or brushed aside by mainstream opinion-makers."(1)
Zo waren de 'primitieve volkeren' van vroeger waarschijnlijk beter af waar het gaat om basale zaken als voedsel, kleding, wonen.
"In that primitive past there were innumerable tribes. What exists now instead are 'two tribes' (to adopt Disraeli's words): one relatively small and very rich, one enormously large and very poor. Both despite and because of what is generally seen as 'progress', the gap between them has not narrowed, but has widened, and does so ever more rapidly."(2)
De tegenstelling tussen rijk en arm groeit dus, de schade die het kapitalisme berokkent aan hele culturen en aan sociale tradities en vangnetten is enorm, de nadruk op economische groei gaat ten koste van de natuur en uiteindelijk ten koste van de mens. Als je je dat realiseert vraag je je af hoe het kan dat het kapitalisme populairder is dan ooit. Dowd wijst naar de media die het commercialisme kritiekloos bevorderen en de ideologie die door economen binnen die samenhang worden uitgedragen.
"For capitalism's ongoing purposes and my present concern, those advances that help to shape thought and feeling, those in communications are most relevant: they have facilitated the processes by which our 'cultural space' becomes totally dominated by commercialism, serving most especially the super-corporations and their 'boughten' political cohorts."(2)
Volgt in vogelvlucht een overzicht van hoe economisch denken en kapitalisme zich vanaf ongeveer 1800 heen ontwikkelden. Een en ander wordt verderop in het boek uitgewerkt en onderbouwd. Belangrijkste namen: Adam Smith (1723-90), Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), David Ricardo (1772-1823); John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), Karl Marx (1818-1883), Friedrich Engels (1820-1895).
"The momentum of the capitalist process was driven by efforts seeking to satisfy its three systemic imperatives: expansion, exploitation, and oligarchic rule. Capitalism could only meet those imperatives within a larger context of three overlapping developments that it strengthened and was in turn strengthened by: colonialism (which became imperialism, and has now become globalization), industrialization, and nationalism.
Taken together, the meeting of these imperatives, joined with a satisfactory development of the foregoing elements, provide the basis for capitalism's viability. Yet that same set of processes and relationships inexorably produces an intermittent burst of crises - threats to its survival that have all too often became ugly realities."(4)
"But why must capitalism always expand and exploit, as it rules oligarchically? And, assuming there are good answers to those questions, why are neither the questions nor the answers part of 'economics'? (Where, indeed, the term 'capitalism' - as distinct from the bland images of 'free enterprise' or 'free markets' - seldom if ever raises its controversial head.) Before progressing, here is a brief set of responses to the 'why' of capitalism's life processes."(5)
Basis is het privébezit van en de controle over de productiemiddelen door een kleine groep van machtige mensen en de neiging bij die mensen tot accumulatie van kapitaal en het vergroten van hun rijkdom. Dat laatste is alleen mogelijk bij voortdurende economische groei (groei van comsumptie, investeringen en vernieuwingen van de productiemiddelen om die groei te bewerkstelligen, wat weer leidt tot expansie in geografische zin voor meer afzetmarkten, wat weer alleen mogelijk is bij een oligarchisch bestuur van kapitaalbezitters gemaskeerd door een zogenaamde parlementaire democratie).
"But that process [parlementaire democratie en verkiezingen - GdG] is predictably contaminated when it coexists with capitalism's essential stratifications of income, wealth, and power - all three of which are characterized by substantial inequality, enabling the members of the higher levels of income and wealth to maintain or increase the inequality of power and to initiate policies favoring them. Or, just as important, to effectively veto those that do not. Such has always been the case, throughout recorded history."(6-7)
"We conclude this Prologue with a general - overall, abstract - discussion of the ways in which 'economics' has dealt with, influenced, and has been influenced by - or stayed aloof from - the processes of capitalist-dominated history. In doing so, we enter the exotic realms of 'methodology', realms which for economics have more often than not been difficult to distinguish from those of ideology."(12)
"Neoclassical economists do not treat economics as a discipline seeking to inform the public 'what it needs to know about the economy', for their economics says nothing about the economy. Instead, its definition of economics is "the science of allocating scarce resources to unlimited wants". But the reality is that resources are not scarce and human wants are not unlimited - except in the sense that resources are made to be scarce through some combination of frivolous and wasteful patterns of consumption and production, and that wants are induced through advertising to become unlimited."(15)
"As we now move ahead to Chapter 1 and its consideration of the first century of industrialism and political economy, a last 'methodological' observation seems appropriate. Adam Smith's great work was a study of complex historical processes over time at particular key points in time. Connections between business and politics, technology and business, between all that and the material conditionsof diverse groups - 'classes', Smith called them - were a major focus. That method of inquiry came to be termed 'political economy'. From the 1860s onward, economic thought became 'modern'. In that process, one after another - and ultimately all - of those 'connections' were set aside, taken as 'given' - that is, left unexamined, ignored, even seen as not having meaning.
During and in the aftermath of the depression of the 1930s, such economics lurked fecklessly in the shadows. Now it is back again. And its eager and vociferous cohorts seem close to having defined out of existence the 'political economy' that once did and still should form the bedrock of economics as a discipline."(16)
Uitgelegd wordt waarom Engeland het land was waar het kapitalisme het eerst opkwam. Dowd trekt een vergelijkking met Frankrijk voor en na 1800: ondanks alle positieve voorwaarden als een grote bevolking, natuurlijke hulpnbronnen en dergelijke, was daar was sprake van een rigide bestuur, mercantilisme, een voortdurende staat van opstanden en oorlog. Terwijl de 'Puriteinse Revolutie' van de 17e eeuw in Engeland juist het doorbreken van de feudale verhoudingen en de macht van de Kroon betekende waardoor de burgerij (lees: de privé-sector) een grotere rol kon gaan spelen. Grootste stap was daar echter de 'enclosure movement': er ontstonden grote landgoederen, 2000-3000 landeigenaren hadden 75% van de bouwgrond in handen, en het verdrijven van mensen van de 'commons' leidde tot een massa van onteigende boeren etc die gedwongen werden hun arbeidskracht te verkopen. De Staat liet dat gebeuren, omdat die in feite bestond uit de mensen die het meest van die 'enclosures' profiteerden: de mensen die het land in eigendom hadden.
"Before pursuing the important direct and indirect role of cotton in British development and the distribution of its benefits and costs, it is more than simply relevant to undertake a specific statement on the role of the State in the industrial capitalist processes of Britain. This, not only because that role was important, but because the role the State has played in the economic development of all nations has been (and remains) so generally ignored, denigrated, or denied - or simply misunderstood. Rarely is that the case for economic historians. Usually it is the case for economic theorists and the ideologues of capitalism (often the same people): one of the larger sets of 'misunderstandings' prompting this book."(21)
In de 18e eeuw begon er een verschuiving van de verwerking van wol en van huisindustrie naar de verwerking van katoen met machines in gecentraliseerde fabrieken ('the cotton mill').
"The first cotton factory using steam power, as noted, was not created until 1815. Following upon that, the cotton industry became the principal motive force of the industrial revolution - and, thus, of Britain's commercial, financial, and military dominance of theworld, for many decades."(24)
"The working conditions and wages of that first and of ensuing mills - to say nothing of coal mines and other new industries - were simply dreadful: 'satanic', as the poet William Blake put it. But at least, by then, there was work. The dispossessed rural families from the mid-eighteenth to the second quarter of the nineteenth century mostly had no work. In consequence, as the industrial revolution took hold in Britain in the early nineteenth century, something like half of its population were not only very poor and powerless, its men, women, and children were quite simply demoralized: a social disaster now being repeated (in larger numbers) in today's 'emerging economies'.
The 'choices' of a substantial portion of the population were few and stark: to work 12-14 hours a day for a wage barely allowing survival, or to be effectively imprisoned in a 'workhouse' or mine or mill (husbands and wives and children separated from each other - like slaves - often permanently), or to starve."(24)
"It was the steam engine that was critical to virtually all these developments: its use required quantum leaps in coal production, gave rise to railroads and steamships, spawned giant factories (for that time) with their belching smokestacks; required, also, a great leap ahead in the nature and production of machine tools - the often unnoticed but key ingredient of modern productive efficiency.
But it was in transportation that the effects were most important. The railroad gave rise to sprawling networks of internal transportation and along with the steamship tied whole continents together quickly and cheaply."(26)
"Clearly, the period extending from 1750 to 1850 was amazing in both its quantitative and qualitative characteristics. Naturally, then, those developments were accompanied by a flourishing of thought and theory on the whole range of economic, political, and social processes brought forth and required by (especially) British industrial capitalism. Much of that, which came to be called classical political economy, sought to facilitate those processes; some of it, most obviously that of Marx and Engels, stood in opposition. We now turn to a brief critical analysis of the main elements of both sets of arguments."(27)
Verwezen wordt allereerst naar Adam Smith.
"In his Wealth of Nations, he provided the main arguments against the political obstacles holding back industrial capitalism, and the claim that the 'wealth of the nation' would be enhanced by their removal and the emergence of freely competitive markets.
Ideas compatible with Smith's had been proposed earlier - Locke on property, Defoe on labor, Petty on trade, for example. But it was Smith who first constructed a comprehensive attack on 'the mercantile system' still dominant in his time, and matched that with a coherent analysis of the possibilities of a 'laissez-faire' economy.
Comprehensive though he was, and as is to be expected with all innovators, Smith had provided 'only' a framework. First, Smith's main arguments will be examined. Then, more briefly, we take up the leading ideas of Ricardo, Malthus, Bentham, Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832), and Mill. They pursued Smith's reasoning and completed the structure with more particular analyses: Ricardo on foreign trade, Malthus with a pseudo-scientific rationale for social harshness, Bentham (in addition to his two cheers for child labor) the theory of human nature that still underlies economic theory, Say the basis for the 'macroeconomic theory' (or, more accurately, the rationale for its absence, until Keynes), and Mill the synthesis (and what may be seen as the requiem) for classical political economy."(28)
Smith geloofde in een natuurlijke orde op basis van een menselijke natuur - hoofdkenmerken: volgens hem zelfliefde, sympathie voor anderen, het verlangen om vrij te zijn, een gevoel voor fatsoen, de gewoonte om te werken, de neiging om handel te drijven - waaraan vooral de Staat niet moest willen morrelen.
"Smith's critique of the cupidity and stupidities accompanying mercantilist ways and means was fully justified; his hope that industrialization would over time bring meaningful improvements to the lot of ordinary people was much less so. He did not foresee the deterioration of life that would be experienced by generations of workers as all barriers to capital's self-interest were removed. Nor could he anticipate that industrialization would bring about the disappearance of the 'invisible hand' of competition he depended on to transform 'individual self-seeking into social well-being'."(30)
"The key theory underlying Ricardo's argument for free trade was 'the principle of comparative advantage'. Adherence to the policy implied by that principle - the abolition of all barriers to trade - would, 'other things being equal' (about which more in a moment) bring about maximum efficiency in global production, and thus the highest possible level of life for all."(32)
"For present purposes, the nub of Say's 'law of markets' was that overproduction cannot happen: 'supply creates its own demand'. Say never put it as succinctly as that, but that was the gist of his position. Accepting his idea leads easily to the firm stand that it is never necessary or desirable to interfere with 'markets' whatever trouble they may seem to have brought. Trouble - whether of failed businesses or long lines of unemployed - will ultimately take care of itself; trying to speed up the process only introduces distortions to the economic process."(34)
"When, in the 1930s, the depression dragged on, the economics profession (most especially in the United States) clung to Say's Law, and argued that the cause of depression and unemployment was that workers were demanding excessive wages: the very workers who were standing in those long bread lines, their families near starvation, sinking into misery. Stubborn, stubborn workers: dummkopfen."(35)
"Malthusian ideas about population and food supplies, and of the responsibility of the poor for their plight, are as lively today as ever; perhaps more so. But not with relevant members of the scientific community: demographers, biologists, and many others (including some studious economists) are in agreement that from the moment Malthus first wrote, up to and including the present, food supplies over the globe have always grown more rapidly than the population.
Reality has been unkind to Malthusian theory; but that has not dampened the enthusiasm for his policies against the poor."(37)
"But, and except for an interval after the 1950s, Malthusian policies have been in place (again, most especially or only in the United Kmgdom and United States), in the specific sense that economically plausible steps to lower the percentage of poor among us - or to eliminate poverty entirely - have been at best halting and hesitant, have always stigmatized the poor in the process, and have most recently been for all practical purposes abandoned - with, it must be added, a certain glee in many quarters. Nor should it be forgotten that the continuing existence of a sizable percentage of poor and powerless people suits the political economy of capitalism."(37)
Over Benthams utilisme:
"In the next chapter I discuss this doctrine more fully. It is one that depends on everyone, everywhere, all the time, being calculating, rational human beings: no classes, no history, no past, no tomorrow (that could be right); just buying and selling, rationally, all of us, all the time. And a cigar, Dr. Freud, is just a cigar."(39-40)
[Ik vind dat cynisme dat er bij Dowd af en toe uitrolt bijzonder verfrissend.]
"J.S. was an ardent supporter of laissez-faire ... but. The 'but' had to do with his equally firm belief that the free market should not be left to itself, that it required governmental intervention to protect labor and the land: the core of the system, of course."(40)
"Those who accuse the poor of being lazy have failed to observe that those they demean almost always work harder, longer, and at totally unenviable jobs than those whose incomes are one multiple or another of that of the poor. Thus, there breathe no professors with senses so dull that they would envy the workload or its content of the janitors in their buildings; but had they had the same life-opportunities from birth as the professors - and unless one believes that janitors are constrained to be so only or mostly by mental incapacities - one doubts there are janitors who would not trade places with the professors."(41)
"So, you can see that J.S. Mill was willy-nilly something more than the synthesizer of classical political economy: he also came close to writing its obituary. After his death, and as the nineteenth century drew to a close and the socialist movement gained strength, it was Mill's rather than Marx's thought that guided socialism in England."(41)
"'Work' is life-maintaining - be it farming, building, fabricating - done under the worker's control; labor is done under the control of another (an employer, slave-owner), the class of those who decide what is done, when, how, where, and why - and decides as well the division of the resulting income and wealth. 'Labor' characterizes the condition of the working class in capitalist society. And it is a main (though not the only) source of what Marx called 'the alienation of labor'."(42)
In deze periode domineerde de kapitalistische industrialisatie van Groot-Brittannië de wereld. Ze waren er niet in oorlogen verwikkeld en de kolonialistische handel in de eeuwen ervoor had een enorm surplus aan kapitaal opgeleverd dat voor een groot deel in transport (spoorwegen, stoomschepen met name) gestoken werd en daarnaast maakte dat GB de belangrijkste kredietverschaffer en investeerder werd voor andere naties (en Holland daarmee naar het tweede plan verwees). De nieuwe transportmogelijkheden vormden het fundament voor de tweede industriële revolutie, die in deze periode plaats vond en allerlei landen met elkaar begon te verbinden. De derde (na 1900) is die van fysica en chemie: elektriciteit en chemische producten veroverden de wereld en maakten andere vormen van energievoorziening mogelijk. De vierde is de elektronische revolutie in onze tijd.
Een ander leidde ook tot een steeds verder gaand imperialisme: de koloniën werden vergaand gecontroleerd want ze waren nodig voor het verwerven van grondstoffen en als afzetmarkt voor producten. Dat imperialisme leidde tot internationale spanningen met andere industriële grootmachten zoals:
>> de Verenigde Staten: aan de top in massaproductie, een land ook waar door veel fusies grote monopolies of oligopolies ontstonden - kartelvorming - die prijsafspraken maakten - waaraan je kunt zien dat de ideeën over competitie en concurrentie voornamelijk theoretisch van aard waren; "Not quite what Adam Smith had in mind." constateert Dowd op p.55 droogjes;
>>Duitsland: een nationale eenheid onder Pruisen sinds 1871 met een sterke groei qua spoorwegennet, aan de top in wetenschap en technologie, bijna genoodzaakt daartoe door gebrek aan natuurlijke hulpbronnen, met een van bovenaf gestimuleerde en gereguleerde zware industrie - meer gericht op industrialisatie en een mogelijke oorlog dan op de markt voor consumenten, een belemmerd en dus oorlogszuchtig op expansie gericht land;
>>Japan: tot ongeveer 1850 in een isolement, maar daarna een land van betekenis, omdat van bovenaf een planmatige ontwikkeling ingezet met behulp van de grote financiële bedrijven - de zaibatsu -, een ontwikkeling gekoppeld aan een tamelijk feudale mentaliteit onder de bevolking, en aan nationalisme en expansionisme, zoals blijkt uit de oorlogen met China en Rusland van 1895 en 1905.
"It was intrinsic to the processes of capitalist industrialization that the elements making for and entailed by the spread and deepening of industrialization outward from Britain (to the United States, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan) would be the very elements bringing about the explosive breakdown of that same new world."(45)
Over de Verenigde Staten en de mentaliteit daar:
"Put more broadly, during the Civil War and for decades after, the United States pursued what can be seen as a national economic policy supporting industrialization: 1) subsidization of the entire railroad network (at least two-thirds of whose costs were paid directly or indirectly by the federal government), 2) the great (and ongoing) give-away of immense amounts of natural resources (timber, various mineral deposits, cultivable lands, and so on), 3) a protectionist tariff policy and, not least in importance, 4) a government that placed property rights first and treated workers' rights as effectively nonexistent. In short, a capitalist paradise."(52-53)
"By 1900, although Britain was rich and growing richer, it was clear that the United States and Germany were becoming, or had already become, the strongest industrial nations in the world. The United States, by virtue of its size, resources, and population (the latter twice that of Germany), had an aggregate strength far greater than Germany, but Germany's 'technology of physics and chemistry' was more advanced. Both nations had now overtaken Britain."(54)
"In our discussion of Great Britain we made no mention of a movement toward giant firms, consolidation, monopoly, or the like. That is not because nothing of the sort occurred, but that what did occur was slower and on a smaller scale than elsewhere. That in turn, like its technological backwardness by the time of (say) 1910, can be explained by Britain having 'taken the lead' in industrialization. Powerful, wealthy, and industrialized though Britain was by 1900, in comparison with the United States and Germany, most especially, it was still the home of relatively 'small business'."(55)
"By the end of the nineteenth century, the Prussians had come to preside over the strongest nation and most powerful economy on the Continent. The land that had produced Bach and Beethoven, Schiller and Goethe, Lassalle and Marx, came to be ruled by the spirit of Fichte, List, von Bismarck and von Moltke, found its symbols in a fierce eagle and a spiked helmet, controlled its economy through protective tariffs and cartels, and sang of blood and iron and soil."(58)
"It will be seen that Japan's industrialization process mimicked Germany's in many ways; and that it also led inexorably to repeated wars, fascism, and related horrors. But neither Germany nor Japan developed in a vacuum. As noted earlier and as will be examined more closely later (and with only our epoch in mind), their economies changed and industrialized in a world of 'dog eat dog', a world rife with conflict and competition - class against class, business against business, nation against nation - in which not to win was to lose."(63)
"The national discussions have sought to illuminate several major (among other) points: 1) the nature of the quite diverse paths taken by the countries examined; 2) the major reasons they were enabled or led to take such ddferent paths; and 3) a somewhat different matter; to provide the historical background for subsequent analyses of the economics that developed in the period 1850-1914. That background will show that, with rare exceptions, the economics profession was inexcusably - though explicably - aloof from obvious economic realities throughout the entire period - except for the small group that included Marx and Veblen."(68)
Nu eerst meer over de opkomst van de arbeidersbeweging en de verspreiding van een globaal imperialisme.
"Because industrial capitalism took hold first in Britain, Britain was also the first home of what may be seen as a broad variety of attempts to slow or redirect its pace, and to redress the balance between its prime beneficiaries and the great mass of losers - in a word, to reform it as it went on its way. Note 'reform', rather than 'revolution' as the aim. That was the nature of virtually all efforts in Britain up to 1918. On the Continent matters were different, and the United States and Japan were different again, compared to the British and the Europeans, as well as with each other. Britain first."(69)
In de UK was de ellende door de industrialisatie enorm. De rijke bezitters van de productiemiddelen waren zich daar zeer van bewust, zo blijkt ook uit hun eigen getuigenissen voor het vaststellen van de Factory Acts, wetgeving door de overheid die de ergste excessen aan banden moest leggen. Maar dat gebeurde niet:
"Several points are noted by the authors concerning the Factory Acts passed in 1802, 1819, 1833, 1842, 1844, and 1847, which were designed to improve the sanitation, hours, and safety conditions of children and women in the mills and mines. First, "men were excluded out of deference to the principles of laissez faire and freedom of contract"; second (and this noted more than once), "the most significant fact regarding the law was that it remained from the beginning virtually a dead letter" or "this law also was not enforced; and, third, they cite Richard Arkwright (the first textile factory master) as remarhng that in the 14 years of the relevant Act, "his factory had been visited only twice" (ibid.)."(70)
"The first half of the century was turbulent, and the propertied classes were nervous more often than not - as well they might have been. First, they were surrounded and much outnumbered by a large and always growing and more desperate class of 'proletarians' - defined as those whose very survival (unlike their predecessors or themselves) had come to depend on subsistence wages received from generally heartless strangers. Second, the ways and means of factory work (to say nothing of that in the mines) stood in sharp and usually awful contrast to the pre-industrial lives of this impoverished working mass and not only could, but occasionally did, have an incendiary effect because of the combined impact of its regularity, its routines, its monotony, its dangers, and - as Marx saw it - its 'alienation'.
Moreover, all these people were not only not living in the countryside, they were 'living' in cities and, as Hobsbawm exclaims, "what cities!" "It was not merely that smoke hung over them and filth impregnated them, that the elementary public services - water-supply, sanitation, street-cleaning, open spaces, etc. - could not keep pace with the mass migration of men into the cities, thus producing, especially after 1830, epidemics of cholera, typhoid and an appalling constant toll of the two great groups of nineteenth-century urban killers - air pollution and water pollution, or respiratory and intestinal disease ... "(Hobsbawm, 1968, 67)
'Not merely' all that. For it was taking place in a society where the poor masses were constantly reminded of the rich few - Disraeli's 'two worlds' - for whom the desperate knew they were producing great wealth, the basis for which they could see with their own eyes as it left the factories and mines, could see the private form it took - what Veblen came to call "conspicuous consumption, conspicuous display, and conspicuous waste" - see their great houses and horses and carriages and servants, see their finery, see their grand balls and their monuments. See all this and more, as they starved, as their families were split apart, as they died prematurely. Who could be rich and not worry?
But the Establishment - the polite English term for 'ruling class' - got away with it, for the usual reasons. First, the State was always there to make any recalcitrants pay a very high price - prison, deportation, execution; second, to form a union or a co-op, or to organize a movement such as the Luddites ('the machine breakers') or the Chartists required overcoming the obstacles of fear and division and confusion inside the group, as well as to withstand the powerful opposition from outside. It's hard to do such things in our time and place; it was much harder then and there."(70-71)
"It was only when 'hard times' appeared at the very end of the century that unionism finally became significant in industry and in Britain's politics - aided by the formation of a socialist movement (with two parts - one radical, and the other and larger group, moderate) - all of which managed to become the basis of an increasingly significant Labour Party before World War 1."(71)
Op het Europese vasteland, waar de industrialisatie later plaats vond, was er vrijwel meteen sprake van een arbeidersbeweging met marxistisch socialisme, anarchisme en christelijk socialisme als ideologische achtergrond. In de VS waren er vrij conservatieve arbeidersverenigingen als AFL, ASP, CIO, IWW die weinig ideologische visie hadden en zich meestal beperkten tot belangenbehartiging voor de arbeiders uit een soort van angst voor het 'rode gevaar'. In het militaristische Japan was er nauwelijks sprake van een arbeidersbeweging en ook in Duitsland werd het socialisme ingepakt door een begin van sociale wetgeving en een grote nadruk op een nationalistisch programma waaraan de socialistische partijen vrijwillig meewerkten.
Vervolgens werkt Dowd de groei van het globale imperialisme verder uit. Over dat imperialisme werd al veel geschreven door mensen als J.A. Hobson, Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, J.A. Schumpeter. In feite gaat imperialisme over de relaties tussen Staat en Kapitaal / bedrijfsleven. Imperialisme gaat als vanzelfsprekend samen met kapitalisme, aldus Dowd. Het leidde tot de oorlogen van de twintigste eeuw, iets wat neoklassieke economen van 1875 tot 1925 niet eens inzien, omdat ze zich concentreerden op de microeconomie en de macroeconomie verwaarloosden. Dit in tegenstelling tot wat Marx en Veblen in die jaren deden.
"Most of the mainstream rejection of imperialism as an outgrowth of maturing capitalism has been conducted by historians; the only mainstream economist who took the arguments seriously - as he did Marxism in general - was Joseph A. Schumpeter (1883-1950). It is not irrelevant to note that Schumpeter, like Veblen, is often seen as a sociologist and historian, as well as an economist; that to be a trustworthy economist should also mean - irrespective of one's political position - to be seriously familiar with relevant sociological and historical studies is rarely remarked."(76)
"Leaving that discussion now, in what follows it will be assumed that imperialism - as distinct from colonialism - emerged during the last half of the nineteenth century, that it was not the policy of a particular nation so much as that of all the industrial capitalist nations, and that it was just as integral to capitalist development as industrialism, the combination of which was to become disastrous in its effects."(77)
"In short, it is not the Africans who are the cause of today's deadly problems in Africa, but their historical invaders. The same is, has been and remains equally the case in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Asia and the Pacific islands, in the Middle East and the Mediterranean littoral, in the Balkans, in Eastern Europe. What was done to the Native Americans has already been discussed."(79)
"As was noted in Chapter 1, classical political economy came into being as an attack on and critique of the dying remnants of the feudal and mercantilist periods. It was an economics of change and development. As such it was concerned with processes extending over substantial time, talung on their pace, direction and forms because of the connections between the economy and the larger society: thus 'political economy'.
But neoclassical economics came into being as economists had begun to view industrial capitalism as fully established, most especially in Great Britain. Among the many who gave that economics its main outlines and outlook, Alfred Marshall (1842-1924), though not an originator, became pre-eminent. He synthesized the works of others and, in doing so, gave neoclassical economics its 'character' - a character conservative in all meanings of the term."(82)
"That is, neoclassical economics may be seen almost entirely as trade theory and microeconomics, the latter's main elements constituted by 'the theory of the firm', 'the theory of (individual) demand', and 'the theory of distribution'. That economics, created well over a century ago, fell into disarray in the period between the two world wars, both because it lacked a macroeconomics and because its emphases on free trade, rationality, and perfect competition - like Say's Law - stood in hilarious (or tragic) conflict with brute realities. Now it is back, even more abstract and even more absurd (and even more dangerous) than ever before: but that's another story. We now examine the original nature of microeconomics, the heart of the doctrine."(83)
"Of course there is scarcity - of resources, of the basic necessities of life, and of much else. But, as will be argued more fully in Part II, by any reasonable measure of the use of resources, we waste a scandalous percentage of our natural resources and, therefore and as well, our human resources. Furthermore, in addition to the misuse of resources, there is the deliberate creation of scarcity in the market (for almost everything) by the well-known techniques associated with oligopoly and monopoly - techniques designed to keep prices up in the face of what might otherwise be market abundance (and falling prices and profits). Nor can we forget that for most people the scarcities marring their lives are a consequence of deliberate policies to keep wages low while, at the same time, their prior livelihoods have been 'modernized' out of existence, echoing the enclosures of eighteenth-century Britain."(83)
"In short, this [de neoklassieke economie - GdG] is not an economics at all, but an elaborately disguised ideology; and as such, it is worse than useless. It was allowed to serve as a guide to economic policy until the 1930s, and after what was once seen as its timely death, strides the world again today. Considering the human and social costs paid in the past, and those plus its environmental costs now, it verges on a combination of criminality and madness to allow it to persist.
Now we turn all too briefly to Marx and Veblen who, for largely similar reasons, would have none of that 'economics', whether on methodological, political, ethical, or rationa/ / scientific grounds."(85-86)
"However: it is the case that much of what Marx argued theoretically cannot be taken as an adequate guide to today's capitalism. The framework of assumptions within which he argued, although they could seem meaningful in his part of the nineteenth centuly, cannot seem so today. They were 'Ricardian' assumptions which, alarmingly, have been continued over into present-day economics (those of the sort we examined earlier in this chapter).
Today's capitalism still conforms to Marxian explanations to a substantial degree. When that is so they are contemporary Marxian explanations, often embedded in a group of supporting analyses (Veble- nian, Keynesian), and at least partially based on the path-breaking work by Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order (1966). (Note the important adjectives 'American' and 'social' of their title.)
Industrial capitalism in Marx's time meant Britain's (his data were entirely British). Today's capitalism is dominated by American ways and means."(89)
[Dowds bezwaren tegen de vergaande reducties van de economen wordt mooi aangeduid met het kopje 'Messy world, neat economics' op p 94. Zijn standpunt:]
"But Newton (and other authentic scientists) treat of an existing earth, existing space, existing weights and measures, existing friction, existing bodies. There are, of course, real markets - for food and clothing, autos and steel. And one can study such markets - how much is produced, bought, sold, or inventoried. But the market and the economy that economists analyze and 'model' exist only as their invention. Moreover, particular food markets (and the food market in general) exist in dynamic interaction not only with other real markets, but with real people who receive real incomes and live their lives in a real country whose many dimensions affect the entirety of their lives - including their food purchases.
Of course, you say. Of course, the economists will also say. But you and I do not and cannot ignore the connections between our food purchases and the rest of our lives; the economists should not, but do. They are taught that to do so is natural and necessary, and not to do so is to violate the rules of the game.
For the rest of us, however, to analyze 'economic' processes as if they had no interaction with the 'rest of the society' is a notion so breathtaking in its vapidity that one is struck speechless. "(94-95)
Er wordt door economen niet eens over kapitalisme gepraat, laat staan over de samenhangen ervan met industrialisme, technologie, nationalisme en imperialisme. Alle sociale en andere samenhangen worden buiten beschouwing gelaten. En dus wordt niet gezien dat WO I niet zou zijn ontstaan zonder het industriële kapitalisme dat er aan voorafging: kapitalisme leidt tot oorlog. En de ellende was na WO I dus niet afgelopen. De situatie in verschillende landen komt aan de orde, met name die in Rusland vanaf 1917 en Italië. De economie bleek niet op orde en verliep van de ene naar de andere crisis, met die van 1929 als een logisch gevolg.
"The Bolshevik revolution seemed to promise relief from the problems provoking dissent. At first it was generally popular. Soon, however, the Bolshevik program unavoidably became a compulsory program: its aims were unrealizable without such compulsion: or, worse, with it."(101)
"The foregoing discussion has been too short and too pointed. Even shorter and even more pointed is this generalizing conclusion: Stalin was a monstrous leader, but some share of his monstrosities must be laid at the door of the capitalist democracies - both before and after World War II."(102)
"The nations that came to compose the power bloc of the 'West' (including, of course, Japan), dominated by the United States, appear to have learned nothing from that. Or if they have, seem to think they have learned that bristling, repressive, and (overtly or covertly) militarized policies are indeed 'the way to go'.(...)
Or is there some better explanation for the continued application (in due variation) of the same cruel, dangerous, and - it will be argued - mutually harmful policies applied to revolutionary Cuba, China, Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua (among others), since the second 'war to end all wars'. That sorry tale, filed under the heading of 'Cold War', will be told in Part II."(103)
"The depth and duration of the economic slide of the 1930s was unprecedented, and it was ended only by something much worse: a harrowing war, also longer and unbelievably worse than its predecessor. The years 1930-45 were so destructive of so much and in so many ways that one would think our species would have learned something from them. We did, as will be seen shortly; but not enough to create a safe and sane and decent society.(...)
Among the things learned was what causes depressions, from Keynes and those who worked with and after him. Much will be said of that below. Here it should be inserted that much that was learned began to be systematically undone by the economics profession from the mid-1970s on.
Even factual memories have atrophied. Economists have 'learned' to overlook not only why there was such a disaster, but how it moved from its first through its later stages - all too understandable, given that mainstream economics stands aloof from the world of fact. Such social amnesia is especially troubling at present, as the world once more hovers near the edge of economic adversities that could move to massive troubles."(108)
"In the concluding section of this chapter, the response of economists to the depression will be our concern. Here we go on to examine the important changes from the 'First New Deal' (1933-35) to what became the 'real' or 'Second New Deal' ( 1935-38)."(115)
"The economic policies of the First New Deal at their best were for holding on. If the depression was to be countered, what was needed were means to stimulate the economy. The Second New Deal developed such means; and it also went beyond that to introduce important socioeconomic reforms."(116)
"What resulted [door de Social Security Act - GdG] for the United States was far better than nothing, of course. But there was not, and there is not, any good reason why the people of the richest country in the world should have the stingiest social security system."(118)
"Fascism depends upon fear, whatever else it may 'offer' in the way of hate, lust, pride, and greed. The Nazis came to power riding on fear. And once in control the Nazis' enhanced powers enabled them to make Germany a land of fear and hate and violence.
By no later than 1932 all that was ubiquitous in Germany, irrespective of class, status, or function. Most important, finally, were the fears of the powerful: the industrialists and the bankers and their political and professional kin. Their fears were of the only remaining opponents of the Nazis: the Left."(120)
"Business leaders and economists point with pride to the productive efficiency of industrial capitalism. The wastes of the two world wars (and those in between and subsequently) are not taken into account in that reckoning. Nor are the wastes of decades of military expenditures of the Cold War.
How can they not be? The answer is simple: assume no relationship between economic and 'non-economic' processes, where 'non-economic' is defined as anything other than what takes place in the rarefied confines of 'supply and demand' - a locus that contains neither the 'demand' for nor the 'supply' of military stuff and nonsense, or the cormpt politics accompanying them."(123)
"Despite the smug obstinacy of most of the profession in the interwar period, some real progress was made - most importantly by Schumpeter, Keynes, Joan Robinson, and Alvin Hansen. Their work will be discussed now, very briefly, in that order (and in Part II their squelching will be examined)."(124)
Eerst een korte bespreking van de neoklassieke economen Alfred Marshall (1842–1924) (van de Principles of Economics), John Bates Clark (1847-1938), Irving Fisher (1867-1947)(de grondlegger van de econometrie), Joan Robinson ( (1903-1993, haar eerste fase).
"As we now turn away from the efforts of those who sought to make neoclassical theories more meaningful by sheer extension and manipulation, our attention will fall mostly upon three quite different economists - Keynes, Robinson II, and Schumpeter. They were three species of a creative genus. Not always seeking to do so, all three burst through one or more of the walls of neoclassical theory's assumptions."(127)
Bespreking van Keynes en met name zijn The General Theory Of Employment, Interest And Money, Robinson II (die qua opvattingen omschakelde naar Keynes en marxistische analyse) en Schumpeter.
"All things considered, it was a great accomplishment. There is a big but, however, even (perhaps especially) for those who like myself praise him: as a neoclassicist - albeit a cranky one - his habit of assuming away all sorts of things allowed him also to neglect any examination of power and politics. Then as (generally) since, power was concentrated predominantly in the hands of business and they used and use it to block the very policies Keynes saw as essential.
Be that as it may, one of Keynes's main aims (as an enlightened conservative) was to save capitalism, and his ideas helped to do that after World War II - for a while. Critic of capitalism though he was, for Keynes capitalism was better than any conceivable alternative. If all of that were not enough to raise the hackles of capitalists, Keynes had something else that would; and it earned him the undying hatred of the financial community: he was scornful of the financial markets."(131)
"To repeat: neoclassical economics is in all of its dimensions static analysis: no time, no change, and so on. As such it also quite simply ignores the past; in doing so it cannot comprehend the present. None of that had to or has to do with stupidity; it is a matter of aims and values. The social values of those that initiated and continued the development of neoclassical economics were - doubtless unconsciously in most cases - quite simply 'bourgeois'. Long before Marshall's Principles (1890) 'bourgeois' (a set of attitudes and values that preceded and assisted at the birth of industrial capitalism) had been effectively redefined to have capitalism as its hegemon."(134)
Een periode van enorme economische expansie en nog verdergaande industrialisering en globalisering. Met de Verenigde Staten in een leidende rol, het land dat het minst schade had geleden door de twee wereldoorlogen van de twintigste eeuw. Het monopoliekapitalisme ontstond, een vorm van kapitalisme die volkomen afwijkt van wat Adam Smith ('invisible hand' / 'laissez-faire') en de neoklassieke economen allemaal bedacht hadden.
"Throughout the twentieth century there were repeated waves of mergers and acquisitions ('M&As'). They varied in degree and kind from country to country, but with one characteristic in common: an always greater concentration of economic and political power. As the century ended, M&As within and between industries, sectors, nations had become explosive.
Capitalism has always been a social, not just an economic system, has always meant more than the existence of privately controlled markets for goods or services. Monopoly capitalism entails an increasingly pervasive subservience to the economy by the entire set of social institutions and processes.
The constituent elements of that metamorphosis will soon be designated as six 'clusters' of relationships and processes, those centering on 1) giant corporations, 2) the State, 3) 'consumerism', 4) globalization, 5) the military-industrial complex, and 6 ) the role of the media. Each cluster is intricately complicated in itself, and each depends to a critical degree on the existence of and interaction with all the others, in an always more integrated world economy. Separately or (even more) taken together the 'six' required technologcal and organizational developments that neither did nor could exist until recently. In consequence, the joint powers of business and the State have been recast so that the economy can now function to their satisfaction only insofar as the entirety of social existence is increasingly bent to the needs and desires of capital: everywhere."(142)
"Had this study been written a century ago, the emphasis would have been on Great Britain, the hegemonic power of early capitalism. Now, but considerably more so, it is the United States of contemporary capitalism - dominating not just with its economic and military power, but with its political economy, its culture, and its ways of thinking: alas, as will be argued in the book's conclusion."(143)
"Thus, as the content of 'rescue', and more pointedly of 'rebuilding' and 'modernization' and their connections with the evolution of the Cold War are examined, neither implicitly nor explicitly will there be a suggestion that a 'conspiracy' gave birth to the Cold War. Rather, it is sufficient to understand the shaping of the Cold War as a convergence of diverse interests - those of business, of global-minded political figures, of militarists, and of idealists. Through that convergence, it became possible for U.S. domestic and foreign policies after 1945 to be framed in terms combining expanding markets, idealism, and the declared - if not real - need to confront a militarily threatening Soviet Union."(145)
'Rescue' slaat op het Marshall-plan van de VS voor Europa om de honger, de ondervoeding, de armoede en de ziekten op te vangen die het gevolg waren van een oorlog op een heel continent. 'Rebuilding' slaat o.a. op het opnieuw opzetten van de financiële organisatie die nodig was om landen leningen te verstrekken, de handel te regelen, en zo meer - IMF, IBRR, World Bank, GATT, WTO ontstonden.
"Separately or together, all the foregoing took the shape and directions desired by the United States. Its power was immense and virtually beyond dispute. Since then, global institutions such as the IMF, which began with a particular task, have adapted to intermittent crises by insensibly enlarging their dominion and going beyond their original mandate."(147)
'Modernization' slaat op de ombouw van de globale economie in de richting van expansie en groei waarbij de Koude Oorlog als middel ingezet. Landen als Duitsland en Japan werden onder Amerikaanse invloed de buffers tegenover communistische landen als de Sowjet-Unie en China.
"At the end of the war, Japan was demoralized, destitute, and capital-hungry - and U.S.-occupied. But an inward flow of dollars began almost immediately and after 1950, with the Korean war, rose to great heights. One unforeseen consequence was that Japan 'modernized' to such an extent that by the 1960s it was the U.S.'s main competitor, notably in electronics and autos. And by the close of the 1970s, Japan was well on its way to becoming what it is now: the main creditor of the globe, including the United States.
As the U.S. bastion in Europe, Germany played the same role. Lilce Japan in Asia, and to the fury of General de Gaulle of France, it had become Europe's largest economy. By the close of the 1950s there were at least 350,000 U.S. troops 'permanently' stationed in West Germany. Quite apart from other important elements of subsidization (in transport, communications, and the like), imagine what the upkeep of those troops (in terms of housing, food, entertainment) meant to the German economy: manna from heaven. From the viewpoint of Britain, the Soviet Union, and (in some sense) France - former allies either in debt to or treated with hostility by the United States - that was an unwelcome irony. "(148)
"There is considerable dispute as to how and why the Cold War began. Some see it as a response to a substantial and growing military threat from the Soviet Union and, later, China; others (lilce myself), saw a Soviet military threat as imagined or contrived, given the virtual destruction of the Soviet economy and the deaths of well over 20 million of its people during the war.
However that controversy might be resolved, one fact is indisputable: from 1946 to this day, the direct and indirect economic elements of the Cold War undergirded both the early and subsequent economic expansion of the entire globe. Even using the systematically understated official data - for example, those of the Economic Report of the President - the figure for military expenditures [verderop afgekort als 'milex' - GdG] after 1946 exceeded $9 trillion by 1980 and now exceeds $12 trillion (in 1992 dollars)."(149)
"More clearly harmful are two important economic consequences from never-ending massive milex: they are purely wasteful and purely inflationary - wasteful because they serve no economic function, inflationary because they lift incomes without increasing marketable goods - and services."(149)
Maar de schade door de Koude Oorlog ging nog veel verder, ook voor de VS zelf.
"Politics based on anti-communism did not begin with the Cold War or in the United States, of course; but their earlier scope and damages i n the United States were minor when compared to the years after 1946. Then it escalated into McCarthyism, with transforming consequences for politics and politicians at all levels, for trade unions, universities, and (among other areas), the entertainment fields. The strength and penetration of those processes were such that the American people (among others) slowly but steadily learned to look the other way regarding 'their' social process, allowing what had never been pristine to become always dirtier, more strident, more corruptible, sleazier; a society with always sharper edges, increasingly seeing violent means as accentable for always more numerous ends."(150)
"Militarization of the U.S. economy not only 'saved it' from depression, but strengthened it in the global economy. The militarization of the Soviet Union brought about very much the opposite, wrecking any chances that might ever have existed for a reasonably democratic, reasonably efficient, reasonably prosperous Soviet socialism."(150)
Er ontstonden nationale en internationale bedrijven die uiteindelijk als conglomeraten over de hele wereld actief zijn geworden en een enorme invloed hebben gekregen. Maar ook de rol van de Staat werd steeds groter.
"As these super-corporations came to dominate their national economies and much of the rest of the world, for reasons associated with the Cold War, Global Economy II, and domestic politics, the State took on greater and different meanings than in the past."(153)
"The return of the ideology of laissez-faire capitalism, with the abundant if irrational assistance of 'the middle class', came to coexist within the institutional realities of Monopoly Capitalism I (and later, II) - that is, alongside an ever-expanding State, increasing largesse for those on top and higher taxes and lower real incomes for those in the middle and on the bottom, hurting also if not most the largest number of voters supporting them. What also returned in the 1980s were the high poverty rates of the 1960s. The media had become as adept at selling shoddy ideas as shoddy goods."(155)
Een belangrijk aspect van de economische ontwikkeling werd het consumentengedrag, door Dowd aangeduid als 'consumerism'. Consumerisme staat tegenover consumeren als vraatzucht tegenover eten: het is pathologisch en schadelijk.
"There have been both beneficial and harmful consequences of consumerism. Perhaps the beneficial outweighed the harmful effects into the 1970s, although that too is contentious. Without doubt, however, consumerism's harmful consequences have overwhelmed its benefits: increasingly widespread and massive amounts and kinds of waste (many of them destructive), accompanied by serious environmental and sociopolitical costs."(156)
"Throughout history most people have been unable to meet their basic needs. Today those needs could be met for all. But by any reasonable standard, now - as during the depression when FDR uttered his famous phrase, in the United States "one third of the nation is ill-clothed, ill-fed, and ill-housed" - that is true of at least one-half of the world's people. Consumerism has done little to mitigate those problems in the U.S. or elsewhere. Indeed, its side- effects may be shown to have exacerbated the problems of the poor in the rich countries, and even more those of the rest of the world's poor. None of this could have happened without a continuous and globally spreading 'big sell'."(156)
Dat aan de man brengen werd gedaan door de media in combinatie met de reclameindustrie en de marketingafdelingen van bedrijven, een geheel dat door Dowd 'the consciousness industry' (156) en 'mind management'(157) wordt genoemd.
"The people of the United States had long been targets of sustained advertising designed to lead them "to want" - as Paul Baran once put it - "what they don't need and not to want what they do". But advertising, and thus consumerism, took a giant leap aheadwith the 1950s."(156)
Volgens Veblen en Baran halen het kapitalisme en de reclameindustrie het slechtste in mensen naar boven, omdat ingespeeld wordt op alle slechte menselijke eigenschappen als ijdelheid, zoeken naar status, egoïsme, hebzucht en zo, om mensen maar zo ver te krijgen dat ze dingen kopen. In de praktijk betekent dat meestal ook dat mensen zich in de schulden gaan steken en eineloos blijven werken om daar weer van af te komen, met alle sociale gevolgen van dien voor de opvoeding van kinderen en zo verder.
"The combination of big (and well moneyed) business, the potent media, and the mesmerization of consumerism make politicians into just another commodity. There was never a paradise to be lost; but there may well be a hell on its way."(159)
In de 1970-er jaren was er sprake van stagflatie en ontstond er een economische crisis. De analyse daarvan door economen leverden meestal kritiekloze en conformistische ideeën op. Maar er waren ook wel een aantal zinvolle bijdragen, zelfs van economen van het 'establishment'.
"There had been a few promising contributions early in the century. Interestingly enough, the most useful were produced by two of Veblen's students, J.M. Clark (son of the very mainstream John Bates Clark) and Wesley Clair Mitchell. Clark wrote the still useful Studies in the Economics of Overhead Costs (1923), of which more in a moment; Mitchell's main contributions were in his Business Cycles (1913) and in his major role in creating the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is seen as one of the lcey figures of 'institutional economics', inspired by Veblen's works."(162)
"It may be said that by the 1950s (at least in the strongest universities) economists consciously seeking to displace the dominance of neoclassical theory and policy were in the ascendant and, for a while, solidly influential. Out of that came the 'school' called 'post-Keynesian'."(162)
"One of its most active participants has identified the post-Keynesians well:
"Its members represent the coming together of several dissident traditions within economics - that of the American institutional- ists and the continental Marxists, as well as that of Keynes' closest associates. Their worlc, talcen together, potentially offers a compre- hensive and coherent alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy in economic theory, an orthodoxy which, because of its lack of relevance, stands as the principal obstacle to intelligent economic policy."[Alfred S. Eichner (ed.), A Guide to Post-Keynesian Economics (1978-79, 80) - GdG]"(163)
"The liveliness and usefulness of post-Keynesianism was effectively shunted aside in the universities as the 'corporate counter-attack' among other things brought neoclassicism back into favor. The new group continued and continues to function, even though without the recognition that would give them access to significant numbers of students and teachers, or those in the political world."(163)
"The single most stimulating work in the realm of radical analysis in this period was Baran and Sweezy's Monopoly Capital (1966), on which so much of the analysis of this chapter (and much of my other work) has depended. A few additional observations regarding their contribution are worth adding here."(164)
"In their analysis of the social order they stimulated a substantial number of others to push ahead more deeply into the various elements of the 'social formation' constituting the capitalist process. Among the earliest and most influential of such studies were those of James O'Connor (quoted earlier in this chapter), Harry Magdoff's The Age of Imperialism ( 1969), Harry Braverman's Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (1974), Herbert Schiller's numerous studies of the media, including Mass Communications and American Empire ( 1971) and The Mind Managers ( 1974), and, among other works, an excellent book of broad-based readings put together by Richard C. Edwards, Michael Reich and Thomas E. Weisslcopf, The Capitalist System (1986).
In Britain, beginning earlier and continuing to the present, a 'New Left' emerged. As it took hold, it owed much to the worlcs of economic historian R.H. Tawney (1880-1962), begnning with his The Acquisitive Society (1920) and Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926) and extending through all his writings and including his long association as a teacher with the Workers Education Association until his death in 1962.
Tawney was anti-capitalist but not a Marxist, but the New Left movement in Britain, and its journal New Left Review were and remain a lively source of Marxian 'renovation', with important contributions from (among many others), Perry Anderson, Ralph Miliband, and Eric Hobsbawm.
The most lasting and significant development in Marxian thought in Europe - in my judgment - was the major contribution of Antonio Gramsci. His work - notably his Prison Letters and The Modern Prince - became well known only in the 1960s, when they were translated and published in Europe, Britain, and North America."(164-165)
De crisis van de 1970-er jaren leidde tot een nieuwe conservatieve beweging in de politiek (Thatcher, Reagan) die zich baseerde op Milton Friedman en zijn leerlingen.
"Combining the powers of priest and mandarin, the devout supporters of laissez-faire vehemently opposed any influence whatsoever by government in the economy at home or abroad - except, of course, for milex and whatever was seen to assist business at home and abroad."(165)
"Herewith, an apt summary in 1979, by E.K. Hunt:
"Milton Friedman advocates the elimination of 1) taxes on corporations, 2) the graduated income tax, 3) free public education, 4) social security, 5) government regulations of the purity of food and drugs, 6 ) the licensing of doctors and dentists, 7) the post office monopoly, 8) government relief from natural disasters, 9 ) minimum wage laws, 10) ceilings on interest rates charged by usurious lenders, 11) laws prohibiting heroin sales, and nearly every other form of government intervention that goes beyond the enforcement of property rights and contract laws and the provision of national defense. (emphasis added)"
In the United States (if to a considerably lesser degree elsewhere - up to now) almost all that program has been adopted wholly or partially, except for one item - the one that might make sense - the legalization of heroin."(166)
"Withal, whether in the deep or recent past or in the future, capitalism produces periods of economic crisis the roots of which are intrinsic to the capitalist process: 1) it is a system that functions anarchically in principle, and 2) that functioning, energized as it is by a voraciousness for profits and power, inevitably produces periods of pervasive excess productive capacities. It is a system that moves through time lilce a vast ship heedlessly plowing through the seas and leaving a destructive walce - except that, unlike a real ship, capitalism also produces its own storms and tidal waves, as in the 1930s."(167)
In deze periode leidt dat tot wat Dowd 'monopolie kapitalisme II' noemt.
"Put differently, the capitalism that marches in triumph today - pace Adam Smith - displays tendencies that are more capitalist than ever, a form of capitalism demanding and getting always more expansion at home and abroad, a return to heightened exploitation in the leading countries and the reproduction of the labor conditions of the first industrial revolution elsewhere, and tighter rule by capital - over the State but also over the people. More than in Marx's time, "the ruling ideas of [the] era are the ideas of its ruling class".
As those large generalizations are now elaborated, it will be pertinent to examine the manner in which the several main elements of Monopoly Capitalism I have changed to become Monopoly Capitalism II. Though the two forms are similar, there are important differences: 1) the giant corporations of today make even those of the 1950s seem relatively small, most clearly today's TNCs; 2 ) the State is still 'super', but it functions always more at the beck and call of giant TNCs and finance and always less for social well-being; 3) the global economy is considerably more integrated and considerably more disruptive and dominated by finance than earlier and less dependent on the Cold War; 4) consumerism has spread and deepened all over the globe and (like much else) become dependent upon clearly precarious debt accumulation; and 5) the world of the media, earlier noted as the 'lubricant of monopoly capitalism', has taken on forms and power that make even its great strengths in the 1960s seem paltry. When, at the conclusion of this chapter, the current state of economics is discussed, it will be seen that it has reached new heights (or depths) of subservience to the status quo."(169)
Over het resultaat van de nog steeds in aantallen toenemende fusies en overnames, 'outsourcing' en dergelijke:
"In fact, the expected efficiencies (and even the enhanced profits) generally have not occurred. For the average CEO, however, we shall see that there has been a spectacular increase in income and wealth. Meanwhile, the average worlcer's income (in the United States) began a 25-year decline in the 1970s, poverty rates rose, and the overall material conditions of workers in weaker countries moved toward or into tragedy. The 'long run' [vanuit het idee 'op de lange termijn profiteert iedereen', zoals de kritiekloze economen zeggen - GdG] appears to be that noted by Keynes as when 'we will all be dead'."(175-176)
"That such would be the case as Monopoly Capitalism II took shape was not a matter of simple evolution; it was insured by the determined 'corporate counter-attack' (as Du Boff has called it) against organized labor and the 'welfare state'. That campaign in turn was much facilitated by what had become the 'softness' (and corruption) of organized labor and the active cooperation of the media - itself almost entirely under the control of giant corporations, directly through ownership and indirectly through its advertising expenditures.
All of this had been made simpler by the ideological housecleaning of the Cold War and the growing power of already powerful companies (as noted above). Such companies - most importantly, TNCs - confronted growing needs and opportunities for exploiting very low-wage unorganized labor in countries rich in natural resources, lacking environmental restrictions, and possessing governments often eager to be corrupted at bargain basement prices. And they required and received the cooperation of their governments in realizing those possibilitie"(181)
"In the ensuing processes, and among other major developments, the State in all nations has been led to pay increasing attention to the demands of central bankers and decreasing attention to internal needs of its people and its society."(181)
"That such advantages to capital sooner or later may bring on problems of a global decrease in average purchasing power, and / or that the debts required to maintain economic expansion will reach their limit and contribute to a major collapse, or that environmental damage will become ubiquitous and destructive, or ..., we'll think about that tomorrow. Such has been true in all or part of capitalist history; such problems are to be confronted after they appear, not before. That too is in the nature of capitalism.
As also has been financial recklessness, from early modern Holland to the Crash of 1929. But today is very different; in Monopoly Capitalism II, everyone and everything is at risk."(183)
"In the two decades or so after World War II, all major capitalist economies placed monetary (that is, central bank) policy in a role secondary to governmental fiscal (taxing and spending) policies. But a major outcome of the stagflation of the 1970s was the beginnings of a rightward shift of politics, led by Margaret Thatcher in Britain and pushed much farther during the Reagan Administration in the United States.
As globalization intensified in those same years, and as the financial community began its sharp rise to dominance, Keynesian economics - whose perspective was always broader than the business community, let alone just its financial sector - was pushed aside, and monetary policy came to rule in, however, a very different world.
This 'very different world'[ is one where the main processes are those of globalization, - and the main actors are TNCs and financial markets. By the 1990s, those main actors found themselves functioning in a context increasingly dominated by speculation in currencies, stocks and bonds, and, linlced to them, derivatives."(187)
Over de groei van schulden op alle niveaus (dit voorbeeld: de VS):
"Household debt as a share of disposable income stood at about 62 percent in 1978; as 1999 ended it had risen to 102 percent; non-financial corporate debt as a share of corporate output rose from under 60 percent in 1978 to over 80 percent in 1999; financial sector debt as a share of GDP more than quadrupled, from under 20 percent to 80 percent; and the U.S. debt to the rest of the world, about $1 trillion in 1980, has since more than doubled, to over $2.5 trillion. "(188)
Het stuk over de media gaat vooral over de televisie, in lijn met Neil Postman's Amusing ourselves to death.
"We are an emotional species, for better and for worse. As suggested earlier, the emotions that advertising brings out in us are quite the opposite of what may be seen as the best in us: our possibilities for compassion, for reflection and reason, for enlightened self-interest."(194)
"Long ago, Albert Einstein glimpsed what the past had already revealed and what was lying in wait over time:
"Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an axe in the hand of a pathologcal criminal."
That 'axe' has been wielded by those in politics, the military, and in business. They have been given or have taken the power emerging from the interacting processes of capitalism, imperialism, industrialism, and nationalism, much aided now by the media, which 'have become an increasingly important battleground for political debate and culture'."(195)
"The renewed dominance of neoclassical economists has been virtually unchallenged for about 20 years. Have they made a difference? And if so, for better or for worse? The answer here, unsurprisingly, is that they have made a big difference, and for the worse. The recent role of the media in 'mind management' has been noted. But the media does not produce ideas, they transmit them. And what is transmitted regarding economic policy derives its authority directly or indirectly from the teachings of mainstream economists - in advertising, in governmental pronouncements in articles and in economics education with, it must be feared, enduring effect."(195)
"Here are some mainstream supporting arguments regarding certain public policies, along with some emphatic responses by Stretton [Hugh Stretton, Economics: A New Introduction, 1999, 63 - GdG](his emphases):
1) Monetary restraint alone will stop inflation and then revive employment - in conditions in which it won't do either.
2 ) Reducing public investment will increase private investment - when in fact it will reduce private investment.
3 ) Free trade exchange will make our manufacturing efficient - when in our particular circumstances it will put too many of them out of business, increase long-term unemployment, and wreck our balance of payments.
4 ) Cutting wages would increase employment - when it would not.
5 ) Shifting taxes off the rich onto the poor will induce the rich to employ more of the poor - which it will not.
6 )A freer capital market will allow more people to buy their houses - when in fact it allows fewer people to buy their houses.
7) Rent controls always hurt tenants - when in many circumstances they can greatly help tenants."(196)
"Economic growth was seen as one of many means to various ends until a generation or so ago. Now, growth sits as a dictator on the throne of economic policy: 'growth regardless!'"(200)
"In contrast [tot het lovenswaardige boek uit 1995 van Jeffrey Madrick The End of Affluence: The Causes and Consequences of America's Economic Dilemma; Madrick ziet nog wel mogelijkheden tot verantwoorde groei. - GdG], this Epilogue will conclude with a skeletal argument proposing a set of desirable, necessary, and possible programs which, seeing the iconic status of growth in the realm of policy as both inadequate and dangerous, instead constitute qualitative and structural changes."(200)
"And then there is the environment. The enthusiasts of growth in all parts of the political spectrum, if for differing reasons, pay small if any heed to the already substantial and harmful 'collateral damage' of continuous growth. They pay even less to what is implied by continuing down that road by the already industrialized nations plus the numerous 'emerging-economies': the virtual certainty that the earth will lose its ability to support most species precisely because of the constituent elements making for growth."(202)
Groei is afhankelijk van consumptiegedrag, globalisatie, en de afhankelijkheid van de opkomende economieën. Over consumptie:
"It is widely understood that most of the world's peoples are inadequately supplied with the basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care. Even in the very richest nation, the United States, that is true for a good third of the population. In the poorer countries, the World Bank reports, about a quarter of the world's population lives on less than $1 dollar a day, and their numbers are rising.'
Given that reality alone, today's feverish consumption by the top 10-15 percent of the world -what is purchased, plus its accompanying and often destructive wastes -would be a cause for something more than concern. To be sure, a large percentage of consumption, whether in rich or poor nations, is for commodities serving some useful purpose; what is striking is how much of consumption is frivolous, irrational, or self-destructive - especially compared with the desperate lives of most in the world."(203)
Als voorbeeld: de auto en de schadelijke kanten aan de productie en het gebruik ervan. Tweede punt is dus de globalisering. Daarover:
"What were the magic wands that permitted private trading, production, and financial interests to persuade their governments and most people to accept policies clearly beneficial to a few and just as clearly damaging to many? The answer lies in the overlapping worlds of ideology, media, and politics; and at its center lies the nature of contemporary democracy - as distinct both from its beginnings and its idealized form."(205)
"... full democracy is incompatible with capitalism's innate inequalities of income, wealth, and power, and of prestige and status."(2006)
Vandaar dat overheden met op de achtergrond de grote bedrijven de angel uit de democratie proberen te halen door propaganda: manipulatie van informatie, gekleurde voorlichting, verkiezingscampagnes die alleen maar over uiterlijkheden gaan, corruptie van politici, en dergelijke. Ook het derde aspect aan het dogma van de groei - de opkomende economieën en de hoge exportpercentages ervan - laat de beperkingen zien zoals blijkt uit de crisis van 1997-1998 in die landen:
"For almost all the developing countries, and to the extent that their resources and factories are indebted to, and / or owned and directed by outsiders - an extent which is almost always substantial - both their natural resources and their labor forces are directly or indirectly under the control of foreigners, and exploited with little or no consideration of their harmful effects."(211)
"In the real world, and even though hundreds of millions are already starving to death, the underlying threat is not starvation but ecological disaster for all - preceded and accompanied by what has been seen here as an ongoing set of social disasters, including in the richest countries. And the real tragedy is that there are not only possible but also very desirable alternatives. To those we now turn - in a form something like an annotated and very general outline."(212)
"In the entire literature of mainstream economic theory you will never find the word 'need' - it's almost as though it were a 'dirty word'. In any case, it is not a simple matter to answer those and related questions, such as whose needs and which needs. And in the exploration and the resolution of such questions it would be found that still other questions are thus raised, among them: What structures of production, consumption and foreign trade, and of income, wealth and power are required to allow the economy to meet those needs? What is it in existing structures that prevents those needs from being met and in what ways must such structures be modified? By and for whom? In what patterns and at what pace? It's a puzzle."(212)
"To implement the kinds of changes to be noted now, the human action needed is that of a political movement substantial enough to surmount the great power of those who have constructed the status quo out of those same possibilities."(212-213)
In lijn met Gramsci bepleit Dowd ideologische vernieuwing.
"He [Gramsci - GdG] meant that our entire vision of what constitutes the good society - in its economic, political, social, and cultural dimensions has of course been learned; that it is not enough, say, to be against environmental deterioration, or for higher wages and public health care. If we are to make substantial and enduring progress toward a better society, we must combat what we have been taught with our own social vision, not just fragments of such a vision. To repeat: we must think anew."(214)
"In essence, what we can and must worlc for if life is to become better for all and cease to become worse for most are changes in the structures of production that yield less in the way of frivolous goods and services and more in the way of those needed - and enjoyable -by all, in the realms of goods and services, within and between all nations. That could not happen without a substantial lessening of national and global inequalities of income, wealth and power; as it happened it would constitute a movement toward economic, political and social democracy."(215)
Uitgebreid notenapparaat met veel verwijzingen naar bronnen.
Lange lijst van literatuur.