[lbo-talk] Krugman: The Road to Romneycare

Wojtek S wsoko52 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 28 10:55:11 PDT 2011

[WS:] I did not make any claims about neoliberalism, which to me is an abstract label anyway. This discussion started about the kind of health care system implemented by Romney and Obama. I made a claim that historically, US government was more concerned with appeasing individual capitalists than European governments, which were more likely to buy 'social peace" through public welfare services than its US counterpart.

The underlying assumption of this argument is, to paraphrase one Margaret Thatcher, that there is no such a thing as capitalism, only nations and their institutions that vary in the degree and type of their responsiveness to various monied interests. Both European and US governments acted fundamentally to protect what can be generically called capitalist economy (private ownership of the means of production, protection of private property and profitability, etc.) but they differ in the way they do it: The US was more likely to serve individual capitalists and forget about the grunts. The Europeans were more likely to appease the grunts which had the effect of creating favorable social conditions for the whole system rather than serving individual capitalists.

Charles questioned that by asking why the US system has shown signs of stability despite my claim that the US government did less than its Euro counterparts to create favorable conditions for the system by appeasing the grunts. I replied to this that The US government did not have to do that because US capitalists was less likely to face serious challenges from below than their Euro counterparts. To which Angelus replied that today Europe is just as neoliberal as the US - which was quite tangential to my argument, and chastising me for underestimating the revolutionary potential of the US masses.

I have no idea what that potential is or will be in the future, but everyone can see it that has not been sufficiently high in the past, for otherwise we would have had a different system of social services - and, I may add. political power relations - than we currently have. I also have no idea what it means for the long term stability of capitalism, which as I explained is a shorthand name for different institutional arrangements sharing certain features, but it is quite obvious to me that today US capitalists can do what they want and get away with it without feeling threatened by popular backlash.


On Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM, brad <babscritique at gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't understand what you are claiming Woj.  Your assumption seems
> to be that neoliberalism is bad for capitalism.  What evidence is
> there for this claim?  The US has been more successful than Europe
> because it has been better at disciplining the workers.  Once again it
> seems to be leading the way in getting people to expect less and less
> and blame each other for the situation.  The whole view that
> neoliberalism will lead to captialist collapse seems to come from the
> economistic view that capitalism if left to its own devices would
> implode.  I doubt it.  It needs to beat down.
> Brad
> ___________________________________
> http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/mailman/listinfo/lbo-talk

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list