Sowing Dragons

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at Princeton.EDU
Fri Apr 7 07:00:04 PDT 2000

>To fight the total
>system, you solidarize with its global contradictions, and one of its
>biggest is the clash between the neoliberals and the developmental states
>they would like to annihilate.

Dennis, your reading of Adorno has led you to champion authoritarian - militaristic state bureaucrats over global rentiers? Cmon, this is not the kind of "solidarization" that Adorno would have championed, right? Anyways, as Newt said about the welfare state, the developmental state was an artefact of the Cold War and was not only tolerated but actively built up as long as it was needed for security purposes.

South Korea is now being pulled out of recession on account of having been allowed to depreciate the won as long as it dismantles its internal system of corporate protection. Its recovery has nothing to do with the superiority of its kind of capitalism; indeed it seems to based on the capacity of the reserve center to run endless deficits. The American left's vision has been based on the superiority of Asian neo mercantalist capitalism over Anglo American financial capitalism (Asian superiority in the most advanced technology of semiconductors was supposed to ice the case--we've had this debate a few times already).

But do note that this vision was based on just that kind of productivism that Adorno critiqued. For example, we were reminded often enough that the rate of growth in GDP per capita is so much higher in Asian development states than Anglo American financial states. Of course actual GDP per capita--as well as GDP itself and absolute levels of investment and R&D--has remained higher in the US than in Japan (much less Korea) which has always had to invest a higher percentage of GDP to try to keep up. So Asian capialism never achieved productive superiority anyways, but Adorno would not have accepted the premises of such productivist left. Have you read Erik Krakauer's *Disposition of the Subject* on Adorno's critique of technology (northwestern, 1999)?

Yours, Rakesh

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