Capitalist support for fascism....

Henry C.K. Liu hliu at
Sun Feb 14 10:41:35 PST 1999

rc-am wrote:

> hi henry,
> I think maybe you are separating the economy from ideology in a way that
> is not possible, especially when considering nazism and fascism.
> not only were the concentration camps run first as labour camps, but the
> ecstatic nationalism of fascism and nazism does make for a certain
> discipline within the 'regular' workforce than can't be accounted for
> except as ideological - and practical. if nazism in Germany was more
> 'effective', then I think much of the reasons for this can be found in
> the differing successes of this deployment of national identity as
> labour discipline.

Hi, Angela,

I am not trying to separate ideology from economics. Free markets is an ideology. Private property is an ideology. Democracy is an ideology. Most people tend to view the ideology that they have aceepted out of familiarity as natural and considered other culturally unfamiliar ideology as unnatural. For example, privacy as an ideology is considered in Chinese culture as anti-social.

Yet much of Western liberal argument have been saying that labor camps are inefficient economically (as well as ideologically repugnant), that democracy is good for business, that free markets are the only solution, that private ownership is the driving force of growth, etc, etc. Well, in the Germany of 1933-37, the claims were not operative. I am trying to find out why.

As for unemployment, any system that celebrates 4.5% permanent (structural) unemployment as an socio-economic achievement forces to me study other alternatives.

> I can't recall Kalecki's exact comments, but I would think it is not
> at all far fetched to say that unemployment is a form of discipline of
> its own. perhaps then it would be interesting to look at the degree
> to which the 'solution to the problem of unemployment' opens up the
> possibility of fascism and nazism. (that is, why is there assumed to
> be a 'problem of unemployment' rather than a 'problem of poverty'? the
> assumption that the two are the same, or that the latter falls under, or
> is overtaken by, the meaning of the former, is I think to break out on
> the path of nazi-like, if not nazi, solutions.)

> angela

Kalecki's criticism of facism can be applied equally to capitalism, particularly in America. American capitalism is not less oppressive, it is only more subtle and less visible to those immerced in American culture. Many Germans also did not feel the oppressiveness of Nazi culture in the early years.

Still, I know why Facism is bad. What I would like to know is why it worked in Germany in 1933-37.

Your point on "unemployment" and "poverty" is very valid. Even the fully employed have difficulty edging out a living wage that is not demeaning within the cost structure of the economic system.


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