Brenner on competition

Michael Cohen mike at
Wed Sep 16 18:31:57 PDT 1998

Max Sawicky wrote:

> >> . . . No fixes from the IMF or G7 will work. The problem is that there is
> excess capacity. We are witnessing a crisis of overproduction. Capitalism
> has no solution for that.>
> Excess capacity only exists in relation to
> an external thing -- insufficient demand.
> (Look Mom, it's dialectics!)
> Otherwise you'd be saying there is too
> much consumption overall, not merely
> the "wrong" kind of consumption. If
> you're that green, we need a truly
> red Lou P to expose you to the masses.
> Obviously the system can create new
> demand if it chooses. It's real
> difficulty in my view is its ability
> to juggle the mutually aggravating
> instabilities of business failure,
> debt default, capital flight, etc.
> Creating new demand is simple.

Max it seems to me naively that while economically I agree with you, socially creating new demand is a big problem. Logically during the great depression in the US if you simply had the government print money and hand it out to people without jobs who have clearly unmet needs you have created the demand you needed. Ditto this would be welcome in any deflating economy. Furthermore, you end up undermining all the class distinctions based on money status, important motivators in the current world for sure.

Furthermore, if you do this on a regular basis the need to work at anything but the most enjoyable job becomes unnecessary. You remove the major incentive for labor at unpleasant jobs which will be necessary for the forseeable future in any industrialized economy.

Interesting in this regard was Nixon's guaranteed national income proposal. Nixon proposed this a long time ago on the grounds that it was the most "efficient" way to get people off welfare. Neglecting the details, I thought the idea was a terriffic one. The welfare beaurocracy opposed the program for obvious reasons and it had no popular support for reasons outlined above.


-- Michael Cohen mike at Associate Professor, Center for Adaptive Systems Work: 677 Beacon, Street, Rm313 Boston, Mass 02115 Home: 25 Stearns Rd, #3 Brookline, Mass 02146 Tel-Work: 617-353-9484 Tel-Home:617-734-8828 Tel-FAX:617-353-7755

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