More on Japan and American 'Democracy'

Jim heartfield Jim at
Fri Jul 17 10:25:46 PDT 1998

In message <Pine.PMDF.3.95.980716150643.539010290B- 100000 at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>, Dennis R Redmond <dredmond at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU> writes
>On Thu, 16 Jul 1998, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
>> I think it is misleading to speak of the USA and the Soviet Union (and
>> their respective foreign policies) as mirror images. Both marxism and the
>> world system theory should remind us that there is a specifically
>> _capitalist_ logic--logic of capital accumulation and expansion--underlying
>> American foreign policy, whereas such a logic was absent from the Soviet
>> one, even when we acknowledge its repressive aspects, especially toward its
>> own citizens.
>If only. The USA was the original, the Soviet Union was the mirror. The
>accumulation of capital took a different form in the Soviet Union: one
>mediated more by the pursuit of "val", i.e. military-industrial output,
>based on (1) a kind of clan industrialism, where enterprise managers
>skirmished with ministries over inputs, export opportunities and the like,
>and (2) extensive raw materials and energy inputs.

Surely the argument of Soviet-US equivalence is blown out of the water now. Leftists find it difficult to face up to the truth of the matter - the Soviet economy was even less efficient that capitalism, where there was at least an unconscious regulator in the market. The Soviet Union lacked any meachanism for the distribution of labour in society, leading to grotesque shortages, fragmentation of the national economy, astonishing levels of waste. The picture of the totalitarian society owes more to the fears of Hannah Arendt that it does to what was really happening in the USSR, which was about as monolithic as the Ottoman Empire. -- Jim heartfield

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