Big Business and the Nazis

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Wed Jun 17 20:05:19 PDT 1998

Thomas Ferguson's work had an enormous impact on me; along with Noam Chomsky and Mike Davis, he is the reason I could not fit into a poli sci department (later I would discover the council communists who had a major impact on the young Chomsky, it turns out). Ferguson's work brilliantly demonstrates that the political spectacle is often reducible to intra-capital conflicts (has anybody ever carefully worked out the situationists' critique of the political spectacle; there's a new bio on Debored out that seems very interesting). But the role of money is politics is no surprise: credit card companies write bankruptcy laws; insurance companies are behind (I suspect) the new NIH standards of overweightness (hefty premiums for the 25 and above body mass); Trent Lott declares to a meeting of doctors that he wil lead the fight against health care but they are going to have to pay for it. Of course these are blatant examples, and Ferguson's work is subtle. But I do have questions: 1. I am not convinced that capital can be split into a financial and industrial sector, with the former controlling the Fed and implementing deflationary monetary policy in the favor of financial capital. Actually this more refers to Gerald Epstein than Thomas Ferguson. 2. This image of the state as a contested arena in which rival blocs hegemonized by different fractions of capital fight it out seems to me not quite right. It would be interesting to revisit the Miliband/Poulantzas/Hirsch debates of the 70s. best, rakesh

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