Capitalist support for fascism....

Henry C.K. Liu hliu at
Sat Feb 13 19:50:44 PST 1999


You miscontrued the meaning of my misspelled statement (Sorry, in the midst of a bad flu, spelling worse than normal which is bad enough).

Your statement: "You can't have a full employment economy under capitalism without the repression of labor". But the correct statement should really read: "You can't have a full employment economy under capitalism EVEN with the repression of labor".

My point was that many other fascist policies in other countries did not work as smoothly. What made Hitler's policies different ?.

I was not trying to be an apologist for Hitler, just plain honest intellectual curiosity. (Its amazing that this statement needs to be made.) I hope we are not arguing that Hitler was economically successful because of bad ideology. Obviously, a lot of bad ideology lead to also bad economic results.

The Kalecki statement you quoted is quite uninformative beyond ideological judgement. I hope he is not saying unemployment is the price one must pay for peace.


Doug Henwood wrote:

> Henry C.K. Liu wrote:
> >Political idelogy aside, what made Hitler policy work?
> If I remember right, this was one of the founding controversies of this
> list: you can't separate the political ideology of Naziism from its
> practical side. You can't have a full employment economy under capitalism
> without the repression of labor. As Kalecki said:
> <quote>
> 4. We have considered the political reasons for the opposition to the
> policy of creating employment by government spending. But even if this
> opposition were overcome--as it may well be under the pressure of the
> masses-the maintenance of full employment would cause social and political
> changes which would give a new impetus to the opposition of the business
> leaders. Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, the 'sack'
> would cease to play its role as a 'disciplinary measure. The social
> position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and
> class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage
> increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political
> tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full
> employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire, and even the
> rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the
> workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices, and thus
> adversely affects only the rentier interests. But 'discipline in the
> factories' and 'political stability' are more appreciated than profits by
> business leaders. Their class instinct tells them that lasting full
> employment is unsound from their point of view, and that unemployment is an
> integral part of the 'normal' capitalist system.
> 1. One of the important functions of fascism, as typified by the Nazi
> system, was to remove capitalist objections to full employment.
> The dislike of government spending policy as such is overcome under fascism
> by the fact that the state machinery is under the direct control of a
> partnership of big business with fascism. The necessity for the myth of
> 'sound finance', which served to prevent the government from offsetting a
> confidence crisis by spending, is removed. In a democracy, one does not
> know what the next government will be like. Under fascism there is no next
> government.
> The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or
> consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on
> armaments. Finally, 'discipline in the factories' and 'political stability'
> under full employment are maintained by the 'new order', which ranges from
> suppression of the trade unions to the concentration camp. Political
> pressure replaces the economic pressure of unemployment.
> 2. The fact that armaments are the backbone of the policy of fascist full
> employment has a profound influence upon that policy's economic character.
> Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed
> forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest. They also induce
> competitive rearmament of other countries. This causes the main aim of
> spending to shift gradually from full employment to securing the maximum
> effect of rearmament. As a result, employment becomes 'over-full'. not only
> is unemployment abolished, but an acute scarcity of labour prevails.
> Bottlenecks arise in every sphere, and these must be dealt with by the
> creation of a number of controls. Such an economy has many features of a
> planned economy, and is sometimes compared, rather ignorantly, with
> socialism. However, this type of planning is bound to appear whenever an
> economy sets itself a certain high target of production in a particular
> sphere, when it becomes a target economy of which the armament economy is a
> special case. An armament economy involves in particular the curtailment of
> consumption as compared with that which it could have been under full
> employment.
> The fascist system starts from the overcoming of unemployment, develops
> into an armament economy of scarcity, and ends inevitably in war.
> </quote>

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