Promoting mass purchasing power

Michael Cohen mike at
Tue Sep 22 14:50:23 PDT 1998

Charles Brown wrote:

> Micheal,
> This is from a few days ago, but
> I hope you don't mind taking it up
> again.
> I don't
> think it is on Louis and us Marxists to come
> up with ways to get the working class moving
> more than it is on "Keynesians".....

I am writing this privately because I don't think its discussion issuesthat are relevant to the list. I am simply a Professor who is quite left wing. I personally favor political revolution of a strong armed working class but this doesn't exist. I find Capitalism an extremely stable economically historically, it has existed since the middle ages in Italy and shows no strong evidence of collapse. I feverently wish it would, the human race deserves a better social system than this crude exploitive system.

My knowledge of what is going on today is limited. I am a professor who is in a Neural Network Department and I know a small amount of economics and finance. I've persued this as a hobby all my life however, and would like to do more to help out the political left....

If I was Marx today I would echo his famous statement, 'Je ne suis pax Marxist'. However, like Marx I think economics and Social Science ought to be done in careful scienctific, and analytic terms which to me means careful mathematics based on economic reality, and statistics where relevant. I see no difference in principle between physics and economics but economics is far more difficult so there has been less progress. My own pet peeve is statements based on 70 year old analysis no matter how correct in the past and not rethought. I agree there is a great poverty in standard economics and social science but this is no great suprised. I like carefully worked out and analyzed plans and solid analysis which back them up. I see too little of either.

You ask me for a political program. You wish I had one I had confidence in. The first thing which is necessary is careful reliable analysis. If there is going to be an economic crisis here when is it going to happen, what will be the mechanism, what will be the result of the crisis. What will be the political opportunities and how do we go about expliting them. I truly have no convincing answers to these questions, but I see none in this group either. I have little patience for pat answers, the problems are simply too important. People are exploited and dying and suffering unnecessarily while we wait for answers, even more important is once we understand a system how do we do something about it.

It seems to me self--evident that there is tremendous opportunities in countries which are newly industrializing or reindustrializing like SE Asia and to a degree Russia. In general opportunity lies when social control breaks down due to economic crisis. American workers as well as foreign social democrats need to support financially workers movements abroad. Foreign strikers need to be imported so as to make Americans aware of what the struggles abroad are. Institutions like the World Bank and the IMF need to have labor components. There is no reason why economic development money should not include funding for labor organization. Its a very good idea. It doesn't seem impossible. One could finance a world wide Labor Bank which would finance labor organizations in developing countries ....

Second, demands relevant to working conditions as well as wages need to be made part again of labor contracts. The Swedish program not successfully adapted there where the workers pay would include substantial stock in the firms seems terriffic. The question is how to get this started in the US.

I could go on. Buts whats lacking is substantial solidarity among Labor in general. Capitalists have enough but Labor does not, especially in the US, and expecially world--wide. I don't understand how to break this down. The sooner the better.


-- Michael Cohen mike at 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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