Marshall Plan & K flight

William S. Lear rael at
Mon Oct 5 13:50:49 PDT 1998

On Mon, October 5, 1998 at 08:17:50 (-0700) Brad De Long writes:
>>I was under the impression that it was not necessarily only European
>>fat cats who were benefitting, but US corporations who were selling
>>goods and services to Europe (Chomsky says, "the generosity was
>>overwhelmingly bestowed by American taxpayers upon the corporate
>Aha! Two arguments--one that European fatcats used the bulk of Marshall
>Plan aid to facilitate their flight of capital, a second that the bulk of
>Marshall Plan aid chiefly benefitted U.S. plutocrats. Both can't be true,
>yet Chomsky tries to make both.

Could have been that first the Europeans helped themselves, then the benefits to US corporations came later...

>One reason that I am even more annoyed by Chomsky than by Alan Milward is
>because of phrases like "...bestowed by American taxpayers upon the
>corporate sector." Most Americans work for or sell products to "the
>corporate sector." ...

So whatever makes corporate America happy is good for America? I thought people like GM CEOs were the only people making this sort of statement... Yes, here it is:

What is good for the country is good for General Motors, and

what's good for General Motors is good for the country.

---Charles E. Wilson, Testimony before Senate Armed Forces


>To try to draw a sharp distinction between "American taxpayers" who paid
>for and the "corporate sector" which benefited from the Marshall Plan is a
>deliberate attempt to create false consciousness. I think that the world is
>divided into two groups: the good guys, who try to raise the level of the
>debate about public policy and the road to utopia; and the bad guys, who
>are in the business not of education but of propaganda. I judge that
>Chomsky belongs to the second group.

You judge wrongly. The whole point of Chomsky's outline of the effects of the Marshal Plan aid was to point out that it was not generous humanitarian effort to "rebuild Europe". It was taxpayer-financed expansion of US markets to benefit the rich and powerful, both here and in Europe. Sure, if the rich and powerful are happy, workers may be so as well.

>I said that U.S. trade in the aftermath of World War II *wasn't* "roughly
>balanced." It isn't. Look back at what I wrote.

Yes, you are absolutely correct, my mistake (I plead lack of sleep due to a new child). Even so, looking again at your numbers, it almost *exactly* balanced by 1951. And who is to say that 5.4 is not "roughly balanced"?

I still don't believe your story. I'll have to understand the relationship between BOP, ex-im, etc. before I give final judgment, though.

>A more general point: in looking at Chomsky's argument--incoherent as it
>is, and false in its underlying facts as it is--I would like everyone to
>note that the rhetoric is profoundly anti-internationalist, and the
>argument is at its root at least pseudo-fascist in the strict sense of

Oh please. Chomsky's argument is nothing of the sort. His take is the same as it has always been: a few greedy bastards are running the show, thwarting democracy, etc. I've heard more creative --- and equally ill-informed --- slanders about Chomsky from Alan Dershowitz.

>The underlying point, after all, is that America's "taxpayers" were and are
>being looted by their government to advance the interests of sinister
>foreigners and the shadowy masters of America's corporations. (If you throw
>in a reference to Goldman Sachs, it could have come straight out of the
>mouth of Pat Buchanan.) We've seen this rhetorical pattern--good,
>hard-working people who play by the rules and pay their taxes on the one
>hand; sinister shadowy figures who don't look like us, talk funny, and live
>by manipulating symbols in ways honest folk can't understand on the
>other--in the past. We are seeing it more and more on all sides of the
>political debate--right, center, and left--today.

You just can't help yourself, can you? You toss in Goldman Sachs and you're off to the races fantasizing about Pat Buchanan.

I suppose you are going to place Thomas Ferguson on the podium as well, because he told me that there is "No question primary beneficiary and reason it was done was to help US companies stay in Europe, esp. the auto companies, oil, and banks."

So, Brad, is Tom Ferguson a proto fascist as well???


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