Potemkin prosperity

Dennis Robert Redmond dredmond at efn.org
Mon Oct 1 14:18:47 PDT 2001

On Sun, 30 Sep 2001, Lawrence wrote:

> rest of American history. Please don't tell me that wages declined
> because of the right-wing, I doubt the 70s and 80s were more
> conservative than the 1920s or the stretch 1865 - 1900, during which
> real wages rose.

The difference is, in the late 19th century there was a huge frontier to soak up excess labor, very little foreign competition, and ready access to raw materials -- a unique and unrepeatable set of circumstances, which put a floor under real wages and generated the famous westward expansion celebrated in US cowboy narratives.

In the era of globalization, it's economic organization, industrial policy and brain cells which power development, not frontiers and raw materials. No, the Rightwing didn't cause the decline of the Empire -- the total system caused the decline -- but ironically enough, their nostrums made the problem worse, by slashing public spending, busting unions, gutting the welfare state, underfunding education, and papering over the damage with a stock bubble and trillions of euros from Japan and the EU.

-- Dennis

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list