Brad, Oskar, Noam

Henry C.K. Liu hliu at
Fri Mar 19 13:24:25 PST 1999

Brad De Long wrote:

> >>>>>> Consider: the twentieth century political world has included or includes:
> Kim Il Sungists
> Pol Potists
> Stalinists
> Leninists
> Trotskyists
> Left-wing anarchists
> State socialists believing in central planning
> State socialists believing in limited worker
> self-management
> State socialists believing in market economies and
> centralized control of politics by the CCP
> (Deng faction)
> Social democrats
> Liberal democrats
> Antisocial democrats
> Liberal republicans
> Social control republicans
> Laissez-faire republicans
> Libertarian republicans
> Right-wing anarchists
> Authoritarian oligarchs
> Populist oligarchs
> Military oligarchs
> "Soft" fascists
> "Hard" fascists
> National socialists
> and other factions as well...
> Against this backdrop, the differences between liberal democrats and social
> democrats are really quite minor: differences between what means are appropriate
> to achieve common ends, and differences between what ends commonly-accepted means
> will lead to in two generations or so.

Liberal democrats deny socialism. They tolerate mild versions of socialist measures in order to perpetuate capitalism. Social democrats aim to build socialism through Western democratic means. They tolerate capitalist measure in order to survived in democratic politics. The half full/half empty convergence view does not apply in rationalization their difference as being minor. One tries to empty the glass, the other tries to fill it, even though the current stage of the struggle happens to be occurring at a point where the glass is half fill or half empty.

> Seth Akerman writes of Lafontaine's desire for "wholesale reflation of the
> European economy to bring down unemployment and fend off attacks on the
> regulatory and welfare state."
> And I recall a Clinton-administration National Economic Council meeting (at which
> I stood against the back wall with the other aides)--perhaps in June 1993?--and
> heard Bob Rubin state that aggressive pursuit of deficit reduction was our best
> chance to get a prolonged investment-led job-creating high-productivity-growth
> recovery, and that without such a prolonged economic expansion the chances of
> defending and expanding the New Deal and the Great Society were zero...
> Brad DeLong

The fact is, after 6 years of power and having destroyed two thirds of world's wealth through Rubin's "free market"globalization, America is further away from New Deal or Great Society achievements than was under Nixon. Clintonite Liberal Democrats are just klepto Liberal Republicans who happen to be politically trapped in the Democratic Party because of their involuntary rejection by the blue-blood American establishment in their disadvantaged early lives and who are now adopting conservative notions that fit better with the neuveau riche mentality, while still mouthing progressive rehoteric to cover up the betrayal of the class origin.

The following is not from a Marxist radical, but the NY Times:

February 16, 1999

How U.S. Wooed Asia to Let Cash Flow In


They were serious men, prosperous and pinstriped, and they derided "the politics of class warfare" as they conducted a job interview with the young Governor from Arkansas.

It was steak dinner in a private room of the "21" Club in June 1991, and the top Democratic executives on Wall Street were

gathered at a round table to hold one of a series of meetings with Presidential aspirants in what an organizer called "an elegant cattle show." They were questioning a man with a meager salary but a silver tongue, and this was another show in which Gov. Bill Clinton charmed his way to a blue ribbon by impressing the executives with his willingness to embrace free trade and free markets.

"What was discussed was the need for the Democratic Party to have a new and much more forward-looking economic policy," Roger Altman, a leading investment banker and an organizer of the evening, recalled recently. "The Democratic Party needed to move into a new economic world."

Aides describe that evening as an important step in the business education of Clinton, who came to repeat and amplify the themes -- especially the need to move away from protectionism and push for more open markets in Asia and all over the world.

It was also the time that Clinton first met Robert E. Rubin, then the head of Goldman Sachs & Company, and although the initial encounter was cool, the two men eventually forged a close partnership that has left an enormous imprint on the global economy.

Clinton and Rubin, who became his Treasury Secretary in 1995, took the American passion for free trade and carried it further to press for freer movement of capital. Along the way they pushed harder to win opportunities for American banks, brokerages and insurance companies.

This drive for free movement of capital as well as goods was one factor in the long American-led boom in financial markets around the globe. Yet, in retrospect, Washington's policies also fostered vulnerabilities that are an underlying cause of the economic crisis that began in Thailand in July 1997, rippled through Asia and Russia, and is now shaking Brazil and Latin America.

End of except.

Henry C.K. Liu

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list