World Bank memos

Rob Schaap rws at
Wed Dec 9 01:44:19 PST 1998

G'day Henry,

>Citing the past does not say much about the future. No one disputes that
>capitalism has made contribution to human civilization, although a debate to
>evaluate the balance between positive and negative impacts is still open. Marx
>acknowledged capitalism as a necessary phase in economic history, just as
>theocracy and monarchy once did.

>The question is whether capitalism has a future.

My sentiments, Henry!

If a doctor based all her prognoses on a patient's stats so far, that patient's eventual death would come as a great surprise to both parties.

That said, just because the patient is coughing up blood, doesn't necessarily mean death is imminent. Institutions (of which capitalism is but one) reside in minds, and can outlive the conditions which imposed the idea onto those minds by a long stretch.

I was thinking about Hiroshima a while back. It's only really here now because everybody agreed it was still here after its physical manifestation had been removed in 1945.

Socialism, in this sense, is more like the Olympic Games. Its physical manifestation disappeared 2000 years ago. And everybody seemed to forget all about it. But the bloody thing is here now nevertheless - an idea whose time came when the institutions of the nation-state and imperialism mixed with such apparent volatility a century ago.

Now, are the Olympic Games a deformed internationalism or just so much more imperialism?

On second thoughts, don't anybody answer that ...

Cheers, Rob.

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