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LCD: Sorry social dems, your time has passed

by r------ Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 04:27:31 AM EST

As unemployment among the newest working generation passes 50% on the "periphery," (aside...periphery = Anglo-German euphemism meant to encapsule Spain, country clearly at the center of Europe, at the front lines of the last time we actually fought over something worth fighting for), and as a whole new generation decides to take a pass on "democracy," an institution which serves no one but our elites...


Prepare for the next crisis. People are already hungry in Europe, and they are amongst us. Prepare well, as Mao said, each time the imperialists impose war, another half billion citizens of the world pass to our side.

One step backward in order to make a great leap forward.

We are not so far away, on our "periphery," from that great leap forward. And our "leaders," especially the representative of the wealthy in France, Nicholas Sarkozy, continue to protect their own.

We will also protect our own.

Display:
Well, if  you're right, I suspect the outcome will be more like that of the Spanish Civil War then anything we might like to see.

Or maybe you liked Franco. I can never tell which dictators you're in favour of.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 08:11:04 AM EST
Condemn a generation, you get either that, or emigration. Ireland knows this well. Though, as far as civil wars go, Spain certainly fought for something, namely principles, Ireland's being more an exercise in the sort of tribalism which confirms the country's place in the UK.

Where do the emigrants go today? Well, I know Argentina is still a nice place, but only so many people can strike out for Buenos Aires and beyond. Supposed the US and Canada are still available too, though not as attractive as when I was a youth.

We do all recall how many Irish went to fight on Franco's behalf. And last I checked, they are still flying his flag in Spain, even when the so-called socialists are in power in Madrid, against whom I would think it obvious I am.

More to the point, given your penchant for conciliation all the while caviling against that with which you seek conciliation, I would think it more appropriate to state that your position is that of a Spanish nationalist, not mine.

We will have war in this generation, and there will be violence. Hopefully your lot will be on the right side, though that is far from clear.  

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 08:27:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
>We do all recall how many Irish went to fight on Franco's behalf>

Not really helpful either. As far as i understood, the participation of the blueshirts was rather marginal.

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 03:37:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though, as far as civil wars go, Spain certainly fought for something, namely principles, Ireland's being more an exercise in the sort of tribalism which confirms the country's place in the UK.

I think you romanticize Spain too much. The 1930's prior to the Civil War were rife with political violence, like the 1970s. I wouldn't wish for a repeat even it if looks we're likely to get one with a 40-year period...

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
Or maybe you liked Franco. I can never tell which dictators you're in favour of

I also find it difficult to tell how comments like this are supposed to encourage wider participation in debate on ET.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 02:33:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While gloating over the death of democracy and calling anyone who disagrees with you fascist is calculated to bring ET mainstream adulation?

<puke>

At this stage, comments like yours are discouraging me from participating in ET. No loss, you might say.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:39:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
calling anyone who disagrees with you fascist

If you have a beef with redstar over some previous conversation, perhaps you can take it up with him off line.  However in the context of this conversation it was you who suggested that he might be a fascist.

If you have a problem with me intervening in the conversation in this way, perhaps you might like to take that up with me off line.  I don't like to see anyone having to puke in public! :-)

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 09:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never been one to believe "it has to get worse before it can get better".  The experience of Nazism is that there is no end to how bad it can become.  You basically have to fight today with what resources you have today rather than wait for some imaginary cavalry to arrive when things get bad enough.

The lessons of one generation are forgotten by the next but one.  Why else are we repeating the mistakes of the 1920's and 30's and expecting an outcome other than the 1940's?

But ultimately, I am much more hopeful than that.  There is still time to change what some think must be inevitable outcomes.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 01:56:09 PM EST
Indeed.

I also wonder if demographics makes a difference when it comes to the violence level of conflicts. Early 20th century had a higher percentage young persons.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 03:28:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nazism was a ride in the park compared with Stalinism and Maoism.

But, I think you are wrong in practice (though I subscribe completely in theory: we have to avoid the worse outcome - there is nothing good from getting worse per se):

I do not think the EU is going in the right direction, the crisis will not be solved in an institutional way. The only way to avoid a massive disaster is through "decoupling": localism, local currencies, local food, local markets... Local autonomy, less interdependence.

We are (as nations) culturally too different to be too coupled.

Hope will not solve this, just the polite observation that we are different nations (lets avoid words like "better" or "worse") and should follow less connected paths.

by cagatacos on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 06:07:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree both on Nazism and on the notion that cultural differences must determine that European states must be allowed go their separate ways. The driving force of global "development" at the moment is global corporatism, and whatever hope the EU has of reining in the worst effects of this, smaller countries like Ireland, Greece and Portugal have none.

The problem is, rather, that we have allowed the EU vision and institutions to have been captured by EPP type parties and ideologies, and these are by no means averse to using nationalism, when it suits them, to disguise the true globalising intent of their policies - and indeed the transfer of wealth from poor to rich which is part of the globalisation project.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 06:28:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, if you allow me to be blunt, I think you are being slightly anti-democratic: In a democracy power will rotate. The EPP (or whatever similar group) will, from time to time, capture, to a great extent "the machine". Your idea works if people like you (don't get me wrong, I would vote for you ;) ) are ALWAYS at the helm. But that view is inherently anti-democratic - on a democracy power changes hands. The existing structure is not resilient to minor variations in power.

I suppose Migeru would even suggest that some of the underlying EU economic principles are EPPish in nature (I do not know enough to comment).

PS - I agree with the underlying view of this diary: the time of social democracy has passed (and I am a social democrat). It was appropriate for a certain point in time. There is no such thing as union backed political power (unions, as they were, are dead long time ago). Something else will follow in the lines of anti-authoritarian socialism. What? I do not know, but I eagerly wait to see it... I just very much doubt that it will be top down.

Another (intersting) discussion would be the issue of localism versus cosmopolitanism. I very much doubt the cosmopolitanism view. Indeed nature (life) is localist and decoupled: there are probably good reasons for that...

by cagatacos on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 06:42:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is nothing inevitable or unavoidable about the EPP capturing majorities in most EU Member states - but yes the institutions are currently skewed to favour EPP free market type ideologies and policy frames.  Nothing a swing to Left/Green majorities and a new Treaty couldn't cure.

But first the TINA narrative has to be shattered and democratic majorities in a majority of member states have to believe in TARA!  I thought bringing that about was part of what ET is about...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 07:29:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Nature" is more complicated than that. You could say it is localist and globalist at the same time. In politics and the economy, too, localism won't let you escape global or regional trends, because there is no true "national economy" (one surviving without any significant trade) and no true cultural isolation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 03:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think stating things in that terms is akin to not saying much. Of course there is always an element of localism and globalism in nature. But, especially for living things, localism is the massive rule. A Lion might be the "king of the forest", but its power is geographically very limited.

Compare with Goldman Sachs, NATO, EU, ...

Planet wide events are normally catastrophes (meteor impacts, volcanos, ...).

There are things like butterfly effects and so on, but they are mostly unpredictable (and generally with bad effects).

Extreme interconnectedness will inherently destroy diversity. That is the same as destroying life.

by cagatacos on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 02:47:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Lion might be the "king of the forest", but its power is geographically very limited.

So what? The lion still needs to breathe air that blows around the planet and drink water that circulates over thousands of kilometres, is affected by shifts of the weather, not at all uncommon droughts and volcano outbreaks, and hunts herd animals who wander for hundreds of kilometres over the steppes. And that's just a lion; then there are birds and fishes. I don't get the "massive rule".

Compare with Goldman Sachs, NATO, EU, ...

Compare with what? Honestly I don't think biological analogies are all that helpful. Back to my point, do you think a completely isolated local economy can be built, and if not, how do you think the external exploitation of economic dependencies can be prevented, and how do you think the formation of global monopolies on the basis of scarce resources (be them like Goldman Sachs or United Fruit or the East India Company) can be prevented? And how can the leaders of all the small local statelets be stopped from robbing and dreaming of conquest and empire?

they are mostly unpredictable

What does that have to do with anything?

Extreme interconnectedness will inherently destroy diversity.

One may make that argument, but you haven't put forward any evidence in that direction yet, and you aren't arguing for moderate interconnectedness but for practically nil.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 04:14:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A lion in the wild is also liable to die of exposure, infection or hunger at half the age it could reach in captivity. Modern, interdependent civilisation does have advantages.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 04:28:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really in that respect. Most (infectious) diseases come from precisely from agriculture and concentration and growth.

In primitive societies, IF (big, big if - I know) you survived childhood, you would fare reasonably well.

by cagatacos on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:02:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In primitive societies, IF (big, big if - I know) you survived childhood, you would fare reasonably well.

Are you saying that is not the case in agricultural societies or since the industrial revolution?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:54:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If by "reasonably well" you mean "live until 40 or 50," sure.

There is a reason hunter-gatherers don't die of cancer.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 04:24:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If power rotates in a democracy then we don't have a democracy, because the last time I can remember power in the UK rotating to a government with a genuine left-ish slant was in the 1970s. Since then we've had a choice of right, centre-ish-but-right, and far right.

I suppose Migeru would even suggest that some of the underlying EU economic principles are EPPish in nature (I do not know enough to comment).

The EPPish principles are baked into the constitution, beyond the reach of democracy. And the constitution was designed to be as a difficult to understand as possible, which made a democratic mockery of the EU's integration process.

We were fooled on ET. We hoped the EU was primarily a social project, when in reality some social sugar frosting was dusted around a rock-hard core of retrogressive economic imperialism.

Bottom-up democracy was never an option.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:54:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... which has been largely implemented by the right, which is why it's so deeply dysfunctional.

The very name of the EPP is a give-away : they conceive of Europe as a federation of peoples, rather than as a federation of people.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Once upon, the EU was very much a christian democratic project too. All these agricultural subsidies and protectionism - very christian democratic.

Of course, how much the EPP members are still christian democrats is in doubt.

Juncker is still one, a kind of living fossil.

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:30:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet Juncker was the one to first go into the media and call on Greece to start massive privatization.

Regarding the EU, methinks at the birth of European integration, it was not at all SocDem (they weren't yet in power; it was earlier conservatives and liberals who launched things); Social Democrats played a role at the time the EC turned the EU.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 09:32:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the EU, methinks at the birth of European integration, it was not at all SocDem (they weren't yet in power; it was earlier conservatives and liberals who launched things); Social Democrats played a role at the time the EC turned the EU.

Not so much liberals and conservatives, but christian democrats. Even today there is tradition of cooperation in the EP between Christian democrats and social democrats. But perhaps I shouldn't oversell my point.

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 09:52:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought Jean Monnet was a liberal, but now I can't find any reference to his political leanings.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:02:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His boss in 1950, who lent his name to Monnets proposals, was Schumann  - a Christian democrat.
But as I said, I don't want to claim no liberal or conservative played a role.
by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:09:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, upon checking the Founding fathers of the European Union article on Wikipedia: while all other luminaries except Monnet were Christian Democrats, Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium was a Socialist.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:30:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EPPish principles are baked into the constitution, beyond the reach of democracy. And the constitution was designed to be as a difficult to understand as possible, which made a democratic mockery of the EU's integration process.

I opposed the Constitution on procedural grounds. The unreadability and the undemocratic process. Only now I think I understand the extent to which it was wrong (and I have suggested that the lyrical left rightly opposed the Lisbon treaty but for the wrong reason). But, then again, a lot of was wrong in the Constitution was in there since the early 1990's Treaties of Amsterdam and Maastricht, and Jerome did point this out. The reforms we were being asked to vote about in the Constitutional referenda were not actually for the worse, all things considered. The rot was already in.

However, the EU has had positive effects. For going on 25 years the Erasmus programme has been a formative experience for academically deserving youths from all over the continent. Within 15 years this generation of people will begin to dominate European policy. Too bad they will inherit a smoking ruin.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the idea of the EU has had a positive effect. In some places. To some extent.

But not in Anglo-Saxonia, where it's still That Place That's Cut Off From Us and Wants Our Money.

And not among the financialists, where it has become That Place Where the Spectre of Mediterranean Communism Still Hurts Our Profitability.

The EU has become quasi-religious - a repository of both positive and negative idealised projections that can mean whatever anyone wants them to mean. It benefits some people, hurts other, and it's not always easy to work out which is which.

So I suspect it's going to go the way of the League of Nations. There will be an attempt at EU 2.0 in two or three decades, and it may well be better. But it's going to mean removing the influence of the financialists and baking in some real democracy.

Things will be very different by then anyway, so I'm not even going to try to guess what's going to happen.

In fact  I don't think the problem is with the EU - it's with the philosophies the financialists use to sell their nonsense. Those philosophies have to be discredited before progress is going to be possible.

Once they are, cooperative federation is going to become a much easier sell, because it won't need to be sold at all.

Unfortunately getting from here to there may be messy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:47:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So I suspect it's going to go the way of the League of Nations. There will be an attempt at EU 2.0 in two or three decades, and it may well be better.
Let's hope retracing the way from the League of Nations to the United Nations doesn't include another European war...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:55:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, we don't have democracy in europe, right now!

we just have a better approximation of it than anywhere else, (which when you include, as you must, the real knuckle dragging nations where it's only just beginning to dawn on their populaces that it exists,) doesn't leave the bar very high...

we had cheap oil, that gave us a middle class, a social luxury that had never previously scaled up beyond a thin slice of professions, doctors, lawyers and such who were just middlemen between the elite and the plebs.

without a middle class you can't have centrist party politics, the issues are too nakedly stark to fudge around much with, and ideology is atavistically tribal.

many voted christian democrat in yurp hoping that the pols would cleave (more) closely to humanitarian concerns, respect for the downtrodden, charity etc, the 'cleaner karma' krew, but in tandem with the church's moral pedestal fissuring, this is a fast-weakening attractor to voters, save the most crusty, rosary in hand, who still believe that choirboys like Casini in Italy are somehow closer to what Mother Mary would want for the nation.

simple folk to whom lighting an electric candle in their parish church is at least as effective as their vote, especially when as happened often, it was the priest himself who told them whom to vote for!

centrist parties lack passion, yet are (only too) familiar with realpolitik and compromise, yet extremist ones are more unbalancing, though harder to hollow out of meaning, since people have to be passionate to inhabit the colder political peripheries and not apathetically give up their drive to better their worlds.

as a person interested in the spiritual, personally i believe the karma we europeans are carrying has a lot of purifying to do, we're on a financial high horse of our own making, and anyone who's read even the first pages of Zinn's masterpiece of history, knows that we didn't adhere to any of our vaunted christian principles as we raped and killed, enslaved and plundered our rapacious way to power starting in the 15-6th centuries. yes we trumpeted them as if they were going out of style, we missionarised the 'heathens' into our black-crow austerity of an already derelict and degenerated religion, there was no crime we didn't stoop to in order to swell the coffers of the ancestors of those greedy creeps whose addiction to power and influence are now holding a financial gun to europe's collective head, accountable to no-one as they have eliminated any alternative, consciously and methodically that might threaten their grip on the levers of the machine they have crafted to ensure their continues survival as cream skimmers, managers-of-workers, and rentier-boys.

so in a nutshell, in my bones i know this europe i love has moral dues to pay, as do many of us here, who support the EU's efforts to be charitable to those countries we impoverished, and still continue to do so with our giant multinationals making a wreck out of Nigeria. are we offered a pol to vote for who will help us change that, or even pretend to, to vote for?

noooo, so people go to greenpeace or avaaz because they have integrity to get things done.

global organisations!

so that's the silver lining... the EU may be about to endure the fate so many predicted from the start, far too much of a pipe dream... but if it fails there is only a global federation to look forward to, an idea that doesn't scare me as much as seem inevitable, just logistically, just as english being ipso facto agreed world language and chipping of everyone and everything. emotionally i am on the side of thise who will try to delay these changes, but i wouldn't have wanted buggy whip makers to go out of business in the advent of the auto age either. shit happens...if euope fails we take the best of the ideas it tried to enshrine and we go for a global union, maybe it was just a rehearsal.

or...breathless hush... the young people who have grown up without the shrill toxins of patriotism so drilled into them, who have experienced the freedom of getting on a bus one night in florence and wake up in amsterdam without being woken up 5 times to produce their passports, who have combined their studies in different countries pretty seamlessly, who speak several languages effortlessly, these people who after swallowing their parents' hopeful bromides that working hard at your studies would guarantee you'd sup with silver and not have callused hands now see soup kitchens and breadlines on the horizon, just behind the robothugs with the tazers, all because the precious gamesters and their lust for power waxed to fat on their gluttony they bought and enslaved whole political systems designed to keep them in check (democracy!) and revealed how distorted a noble ideal can become once inveigled with bad faith actors and slippery sophistries. their numbers combine withose other diasaffected, the pensioners already squeaking by, the cuts in public transport and care for the sick, while the bonuses keep rising for banksters and accomplices whose consumption of luxury goods is rising to the stars. it's paris 68 all over again, but his time for real, all over europe, not giving up till the elite's relationship with the social pact changes fundamentally, not just half measures.

it's a recipe for revolt, and some very stupid, shortsighted people seem completely unconcerned about it all. more champers, dahling?

we are about to be taken down several pegs, and we deserve it. the good in us will prevail, or not. we can work at it, step by step, because that's all we can do to ensure the former. Greece is the sacrificial goat. as she goes, the others will follow, and europe will fail.

if she defaults, and italy, spain, portugal and ireland all stand up and do an argentina on the ECB and IMF, who's going to win? argentina's economy improved immediately when they punched the IMF in the nozzle, the change we need is mostly in our minds, methinks. the banks hold a gun to all of our heads, don't play nice and we shut down the ATM's, play nice and we rob you blind, screw your women and salt your fields.

gotta go to do some real work now
:)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:08:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Go on, make this a diary (when you're back from the bit of work).

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:40:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Local autonomy, less interdependence.

The problem is that less interdependence doesn't equal no interdence. I'm all for local food and local markets as far as possible, less sure about local currencies, but for example you won't get local energy (now you have to import fossil fuels, with renewables you'd have to 'import' balancing capacity), you won't get local water management (and that includes drinking water, irrigation, hydroelectric dams, sanitation issues) where rivers flow from one country to the next, you won't get large-scale redistribution in the form of structural funds to help poor regions, and a lot of similar things. So there will be interdependence, and any interdependence can cause conflicts and vehicles of blackmail – which, by historical experience, usually lead to war. And war doesn't just mean inter-state conflict: I think your vision of the EU breaking up into lots of small states would, even with the best intentions at the start, inevitably lead to another massive round of ethnic cleansing.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 03:47:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which park are you referring to?
by rootless2 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 11:39:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are (as nations) culturally too different to be too coupled.

That's what Hayek said.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 11:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the problems with Abrahamic religions (communism being the worst offender) is their belief in linear time.

Mother Nature has news: Social democracy is passing. Everything is passing. This is nothing offensive in this post if one has a natural view of things. Things die, ideologies included.

There is indeed nothing in this post, other than a trivial observation. A trivial observation that can shock (or was written in that intent) people who fail to observe that cycles are natural...

The real question is: how will the memetic remnants of soc dem be reborn in the 21st century?

Indeed, we need to help social democracy to die. The longer the zombie stays, the more we are delaying (and weakening) its successor.

There will be authoritarian philosophies aplenty that need to be fought against (left or right). Re-invention is needed.

Die social democracy, die!

by cagatacos on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 07:16:13 PM EST
Social Democracy may no longer be the whole solution (if it ever was), but it is still potentially part of the solution...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:32:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How so?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:35:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because any progressive movement is going to have to make alliances with social democratic parties and Greens if it is to overturn right wing majorities.  (I make a distinction between "social democratic parties" and parties, which, for historical reasons. still have social democrat in the title, but which have long since become part of the conservative reaction).

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:44:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, you mean it in the parliamentary majority bringer sense; then I agree. I was thinking of the level of ideas.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 09:29:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
where a 21st century progressive party gains hegemony is at hand. They've sure as hell got momentum.

In France, it's thinkable, but there's still plenty of ways to f**k it up.

(I'm disappointed that in the "peripherals", the process is not off the ground yet.)

Sure, you can work with the social democrats as you gradually supplant them.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:38:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the Greens? The ones that sent German troops off to war for the first time in the history of the Federal Republic? The ones that presided over the creation of an enormous precarious low wage sector? I'm thrilled.
by generic on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:47:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:18:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Despair mainly. I just want to note that the Greens could survive turning into a green washed version of the FDP. Especially if the FDP itself crumbles.
by generic on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 02:27:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A left-liberal party nowadays.

And I would wait another six months if the current high is permanent.

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:12:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile back in Canada -

The socialist democratic party (New Democratic Party) on the eve of its greatest success ever considers:

A) no longer being socialist

delegates put off a vote on a potentially divisive resolution to drop the word "socialist" from the preamble to the party's constitution.

B) no longer being socialist and dissolving itself

party delegates also rejected a resolution calling on the party to reject all future mergers with the Liberals -- which leaves the door open to potential future talks between the two opposition parties.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/06/19/ndp-convention-socialism.html

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sun Jun 19th, 2011 at 07:57:42 PM EST
But the same is surely too of the Christian democrats: Vanished in Italy, in trouble in the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, crumbling in Germany.

And even other, non-christian democratic right-wing parties are not healthier: The time when Labour and conservatives gathered 90% of the votes in UK is over.

Parties to the left to social democrats are hardly in better shape.

And the protest movements - will they still exist in a year?

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 03:45:42 AM EST
I don't see any danger to the EPP's Europe-wide hegemonic position.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:28:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. I said Christian Democrats, not right-wing parties. And if we look at some of the countries I mentioned and at the long term trends, I don't see hegemony in Italy or the Netherlands or Belgium or even Austria. And all these countries were once text book examples of christian democratic hegemony.

Has probably a lot to do with the long-term decline of the hegemony of the catholic church and the catholic union movement.

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:37:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, "Christian Democrat" is a question of definition, too: Austria's ÖVP is a "People's Party", it can be counted as Christian Democrat only on the basis of its ideological charter. Which of the main conservative parties in Mediterranean countries do you count as Christian Democrat?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:27:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christian democratic parties are the ones in Luxemburg, netherlands, Belgium, CDU and CSU in Germany, ÖVP, CVP in Switzerland, DC in Italy. ND in Greece and PP in Spain are not christian democratic parties. You don't have christian democratic parties in Scandinavia and in the UK. Fianna Fail isn't really one, but comes close. There was a influential christian democratic party in France in the forties/fifties.

A traditional christian democratic party is catholic social conservative, pro property, especially small and middle business-owners, pro rural, anti-market, protectionist and has christian union wing.

The catholic thinking on the economy is quite important here.

Of course it is more complicated, because of fusions on the right. But Switzerland is illustrative here : There you have a catholic party - CVP -, a conservative party SVP and liberal party FDP. The SVP is right-populist now and CVP and FDP in decline.

So you need a catholic or at least mixed country and catholic working-class movement. So no CD in Scandinavia and great Britain and Greece and no CD in Spain. France is bit odd here, but I blame de Gaulle.

Western Europe of the fifties was dominated by Christian democrats. I think they are in decline now because of the decline of the catholic church, teh decline of farming and the vanishing of the catholic working class movement. All christian democratic parties are heavy neoliberal now. And if you want to join a union or a social democratic party, nobody is afraid of atheism now and so there is no need for a special christian union anymore.

I would assert that other center-right parties like the Tories are in long-term decline too.

generally speaking the old two party system of one center-left and one center-right party is breaking down in western europe.  

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:59:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're equating Christian Democracy with the Catholic Social Doctrine since Leo XIII? I suppose you can use such a restrictive definition if you like, but then not only you exclude most parties in the erstwhile Christian Democrat and People's Parties International but also, for instance, Liberation Theology which is a catholic working-class movement on the left.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:30:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now. But it is a necessary component:

1. Identity politics  
a party of catholics, often keeping together against the others

  1. Social conservatism founded in catholic doctrine

  2. a reformist working class wing build around the catholic social doctrine.

Followers of liberation theology don't tend to be christian democrats. And catholic supporters of left-wing movements in europe didn't tend to inspired by liberation theology, the left in europe being quite secular.

And as far as I understand, my definition is the standard one in political science. There is or at least was  a difference between christian democrats and conservatives and liberal parties.

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To let the discussion move to other subjects: the Social Democrat turn to neoliberalism (Third Way and all) was discussed extensively on ET, but when and how were the EPP Christian Democrats 'converted' to government downsizing free market believers? Was it a gradual process that had a continuity as far back as the CDU's 'adoption' of Ludwig Erhard, or were there more significant changes in a shorter timeframe in the eighties or nineties?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:06:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you look at the six founding nations, all except France were dominated by christian democrats. And in the fifties even France still had a relevant christian democratic party.
by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:50:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't have christian democratic parties in Scandinavia

By name, you have one each in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, so you need to indicate that you won't use the nominal sense.

A traditional christian democratic party is catholic social conservative, pro property, especially small and middle business-owners, pro rural, anti-market, protectionist and has christian union wing.

So in your definition, the Catholic part excludes ND; I'm not sure what everything doesn't fit about Spain's PP and Portugal's SD. Regarding Ireland, didn't you think of Fine Gael rather than the liberal Fianna Fail? Back to Spain, what about Catalonia's UDC?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 09:54:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't have christian democratic parties in Scandinavia

By name, you have one each in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, so you need to indicate that you won't use the nominal sense.

Not after the next election.

And in any event it's part of the Anglo-American tradition, not the Central European tradition. I would claim a greater ideological and cultural overlap between Erdogan's party and the CDU than between the CDU and the Danish Christian democrats.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:01:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK the Swedish one is similar to the Danish one, but the Norwegian one has a longer history with more similarities to the Catholic counterparts, albeit again AFAIK it was never a big party.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:09:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<excludes ND; I'm not sure what everything doesn't fit about Spain's PP and Portugal's SD. Regarding Ireland, didn't you think of Fine Gael rather than the liberal Fianna Fail? Back to Spain, what about Catalonia's UDC?>

Regional parties don't count! Honestly i don't know. I think the situation in Spain and Portugals different because of the legacy of the dictatorship, but.... I mean, are the Pd more rural then the socialists or do they have a union-wing?

Is there a orthodox social doctrine? A orthodox workers movement coupled to ND?

regardign Ireland, I do know that FG is EEP and FF unaligned, but wasn't FG not always the educated-town-liberal party and FF the rural-nationalisitic-protectionist party? Isn't FG slighty higher class? FF looks more christian democratic to me.

Christian democrats in Scandinavia: None of them is or ever was dominant, the right is splittered between conservatives, right-liberals, center parties and christian democrats. The center parties take away the space of christian democrats, I think.

Around 6% in Sweden, 0.9% bin denmark, 4,03& in Finland and 5,5% in Norway - I think we can`t compare  these parties to teh CD in core europe. And most odf them seem quite recent imports of the concept or the name. Only the Norwegian party is older.

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:39:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FF and FG are more or less indistinguishable on ideology: the differences are mostly tribal. FF are a bit more populist, FG a bit more economically conservative. They'd both fit comfortably in the EPP, it's just FG got there first, I think, and they can't both be in the EPP.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 11:12:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regional parties don't count!

Why not? You listed the CSU.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to brush over the fact that I don't know anyhting about the spanish regional parties. And the CSU is more integrated into a larger federal coalition then other regional parties.
by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:08:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UDC and its liberal ally together had a dominance in Catalonia comparable to that of the CSU in Bavaria. In federal politics, they aren't in a fixed alliance with a major party, but IIRC have been part of government majorities; but I don't see why that should be so important: Catalonia has 7.5 million inhabitants, that's more than both Flanders and Vallonia (which have their own separate Christian Democrats) and much more than Luxembourg.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 02:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Swedish one has deep roots in an active movement of non-state but Lutheran churches - frikyrkliga (in opposition to the state Lutheran church). These used (late 19th, early 20th century) to support the liberals as they primarily wanted freedom from government interference. The secular liberals and the religious opposition had the same goals.

From the 60ies on, the Christian democrats has instead got this support as the focus has shifted to a kulturkampf about the role (if any) of Christianity in society. So while vaguely pro the welfare state, they focus on social issues where they in general fight a rear-guard action against more rights for women and non-heterosexuals.

They are perpetually balancing on the 4% line in parliament elections, but generally count on the "brother 4%" effect to get support votes from other parties on the right. ("Brother 4%" is so named after the earlier "Comrade 4%" effect that kept the communists in parliament with soc-dem support.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. That is the only party who knows what they stand for.
by kjr63 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 09:13:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Themselves.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 10:44:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.
by kjr63 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
like all parties, ideally.

with regard to italy, one man's name explains the fail of CD politics:

andreotti.

the links between musso and the vatican becoming more widely known probably helped too...

people voted for them because they thought they'd go to hell if they didn't!

they got there anyway

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 01:59:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that the SocDems' time has passed, but I'm not sure how it follows from the diary text :-)

On the premise: I disagree, I think we are rather far from any revolutionary leap forward, at least one in a Marxist sense. For that to even be a possibility, I think the elimination of the middle class has to be largely completed.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:01:15 AM EST
The elimination of the middle class would have to be rather quick in historical terms. Otherwise people will get used to the new reality. Boiling frogs and all that.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:27:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that the middle class is never going to be revolutionary (although that depends, as May '68 did include the middle class), not that its downgrading would cause a revolution.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misŤres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:47:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a mileurista (see also) revolt after all. Though old fashioned Labour activists seem to still be behind the organizational capabilities demonstrated yesterday.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:52:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are the mileurista mostly revolutionary or reactionary, trying to maintain the status quo ? It seems many basically want access to the same deal their parents' generation had - which was a pretty good deal.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misŤres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:11:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're not trying to maintain the status quo, since the status quo is "a system that is anti-them". There's also a lot of "another world should be possible".

I certainly don't see any desire to engage the established political process.

I don't know if that makes them revolutionary.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:22:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From where I sit it seems like the issues that drove the growth of social democratic parties and programs in the 19th and 20th centuries are returning with a vengeance.

I see an increasing role for political movements with traditional SD programs (though whether the established SDINO parties get the memo in time is very much an open question).

And I must say, I do not relish a conflagration as you seem to.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 05:59:12 AM EST
and a possible solution in some areas - that is, a newly-minted, but fundamentally 'old-school' SD type of program.

On the other hand some places are experiencing, and more will undergo, some level of conflagration. I think - to some degree - that redstar is just warning us to be alert and, if necessary, be prepared. It's unlikely that an SD structure will emerge in such cases.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 03:41:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A 50% unemployment rate does NOT mean 50% of the people are unemployed.

This is especially not true for youth unemployment.

France's 20-25% unemployment rate translates into 8-10% of youth being unemployed. Not great, but not quite the same thing. The same is true in most European countries where students don't need to work and are thus not in the work force.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 06:33:17 AM EST
Conversely, however, the ability of young people to pass easily between the labour force and the student population can tend to mask real unemployment, because there is no such thing as an "unemployed student."

This effect seems to exist in Denmark. I ran the numbers the other month, and unemployment by age starts out low for the younger than 25 year olds, then skyrockets until you hit 30, then declines slowly until your mid-40s, then rises slowly until your 50s, then drops precipitously.

Now, unless you wish to claim that there is something which makes a 23-yrs old and a 60-yrs old more attractive for employers than a 27-yrs old and a 52-yrs old (I can think of one for the 27-yrs old - they have or are about to have babies. The 52-yrs old is a lot harder to justify), then you'd almost have to conclude that this is an artifact of the fact that the young and old move freely between the labour market and various education, resp. retirement programmes.

So a measured youth unemployment of 50 % could equally well translate to 60 % real youth unemployment, with ten percentage points being masked by the fact that only employed students are counted as part of the labour force.

tl;dr: The unemployment rate depends on how you slice the numbers, but it ain't good right now.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 08:36:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Social Dems may be in trouble, but it's remarkable to me how the Marxist point of view has become a museum piece in such a short period.  The European Communist parties were actually serious forces just 30 years ago. And in the US, there were communists or socialists of some stripe at the forefront of most social movements. But now, all that remains is an exercise in nostalgia.
by rootless2 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:11:00 PM EST
Even in 1980 there wasn`t much communist party strength in Europe. The PCI was strong, but that was rather a special case. The french party was well on the way to a minor party. And in most other countries they did hardly measure. Membership was still strong, but that alone doesn't makes a influential party.

And there are still a few parties to the left of the social democrats socialist in the Netherlands, Left in Germany etc.

(Admittedly post-communist parties are just social democrats)

by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:26:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(yes, because social democrats have moved to the social liberal space)

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but I was thinking of eastern europe. But perhaps we should set that aside for the moment; this whole discussion is a western european one.
by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:59:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the Italian post-communists were also Social Democrats (the PDS of Massimo d'Alema - as opposed to Rifundazione Communista, because it was the PDS that inherited the large vote block).

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:30:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would argue that the only Social Democrats in the traditional sense are the European Left parties (and thus RC) and the PDS is social-liberal.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 11:23:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but it was still something of an intellectual force then. Go back a few years and the huge French debate over Sartre's attempt to reconcile Marx and existentialism appears like a debate between varieties of anabaptists in the 1500s from our viewpoint.
by rootless2 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 12:47:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But thsat is rather 1960 or 1970. In the late sixties and the seventies it did shift to the new left and around 1980 it shifted in green direction.
by IM on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:02:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes - but - and maybe I'm wrong - when I think about even the 1990s, it seems like there was more of a sense that the traditional marxist left had something important to contribute to the debate. The Greens in Germany had that long Reds vs Green dispute too.

In any case, the reduction of marxist thought to an esoteric and vanishing academic discipline is quite comprehensive.

The most vital use of marxism now seems to simply involve dredging up some of the language to be used as a badge of social status in showing that one is a real "leftist" as opposed to some awful centrist - kind of like dropping some latin into the conversation.
 

by rootless2 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:17:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll subscribe to that.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 01:41:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue with Marxians (or at least with their rhetoric - when they get down to brass tacks and present policy proposals, it's usually solid social democratic policy that Anker Jørgensen, Mossadeq or Allende would have had no particular objection to) is that they seem stuck in the 19th century view that ownership implies control.

To the extent that they are actually serious about this view, they will find themselves fighting symbolic battles against shareholders over ownership while neglecting the important battles against management over who gets to capture the regulators and write the regulations.

In other words, Marxism as an ideology has failed just as much as the neoclassicals to respond to the institutionalist critique.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 03:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a number of issues where Marxian economics simply failed, but in the current political world, it seems more of a source of terms like "hegemony" and "imperialism" that are used to fake a certain level of intellectual rigor.
by rootless2 on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 04:49:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 20th, 2011 at 05:09:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
they seem stuck in the 19th century view that ownership implies control

I'm not sure that's true anymore, in the limited sense, not only because the emergence of a managerial class has been noted, but also because that managerial class pretty quickly become owners themselves - if they aren't owners to begin with. Also there is a systemic Marxian in its origin current (Wallerstein is an example) that sees things a bit more  

There are many Marxian perspectives (that perhaps being one of the problems with current Marxism), and I think that their demise has much to do with the triumph of neoliberal doctrine. I'm with RD Wolff on what are the bases of a Marxist alternative proposal, and the reasons behind its decline in the West. I think that one of the most important reasons for this was the experience of the USSR which, though enabling the existence of a realistic SD/New Deal alternative in the West, was such a failure that anything associated with it was tainted with its faults.

Having said that, I am finding that nothing brings back Marxism and its relevance back to political prominence as much as an economic collapse and the destruction of the middle class: I just saw a poll in Greece where >21% of voters would vote for explicitly Marxist, in one form or another, parties. The polarization of society seemed like a failed prediction until now...


The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 11:56:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not saying that ownership and control cannot coincide. They obviously can (and, if you allow a parasitic leisure class to run your society, they will).

I'm saying that you can strip the parasites of ownership without stripping them of control. And you can strip them of control without stripping them of ownership.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 12:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes and Wolff, in the piece linked to above wants to strip them of both:

The Marxian response to such repeated crises would be neither an oscillation toward private capitalism (the neoclassical solution) nor one toward state capitalism (the Keynesian solution). It would not favor one form of capitalism over another. The Marxian alternative solution to capitalist crises would be to change the system, to move society beyond capitalism on the grounds that we can and should do better. Because traditional visions as well as "actually existing" versions of socialism were overwhelmingly and often exclusively focused on its macro-dimensions, our argument here will instead focus on the micro-level. That means we will sketch the sort of transformation inside enterprises that would mark a transition from capitalist into non-capitalist organizations of the production, appropriation, and distribution of the surpluses.

The goal would be to put workers inside each enterprise in the collective position of receiving the surpluses they produce in that enterprise. That would, of course, position them also as the distributors of those surpluses. The surplus-producing workers in each enterprise would, in effect, become their own collective board of directors. They would replace traditional corporate boards chosen by and responsible to major shareholders. This would eliminate the capitalist enterprise's built-in confrontation between workers and capitalists. Workers who have become their own board of directors would systematically alter the what, where and how of production and likewise the distribution of enterprises' surpluses. Had this change been in effect in the 1970s, real wages would not likely have stopped rising, nor would the export of jobs have soared, nor would so many health-endangering new technologies have been installed at worksites. And these are but some illustrative examples.



The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 12:19:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meh.

Seats on the board is a cute ambition. But I've been the Humphrey to a middle manager, so I know how easy boards of directors are to get around. Not that we ever did deliberately run circles around them. But given the fact that we had all the numbers and all the modelling capacity and they, well, didn't, we certainly could have.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 01:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not seats on the board. All seats on the board. The productive unit is owned and managed by the people who work for it (more or less, I can imagine other arrangements). Thus this is no longer an organization that seeks to maximize shareholder profit but to pay salries and fees. This is the goal anyway, I assume that anything that democratizes the workplace and the company is considered, on this programme, positive...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 08:18:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Board does not manage the company. The management manages the company.

If push comes to shove, the board's options are really quite limited: Liquidate, fire the management, or accept managerial decisions. Presumably, an employee Board would not wish to liquidate simply out of professional differences with the management, and there is an upper limit to how many executives you can go through in a year before you begin to degrade the functionality of your organisation.

I suppose it might be different if the Board were made up of employees, since they would have first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of the organisation.

Or it might not. After all, it is still the management that has the analytical infrastructure to conduct strategic planning. And the Board does not.

That is not to say that ownership is wholly unimportant. Owners have the option to liquidate, and as long as they have that it is important to prevent them from sabotaging the company. But that can be solved by reducing the required return on investment with appropriate regulation of the money markets. As long as the money market RROI is low enough, you can usually use dividends to bribe the shareholders to not interfere with what they do not understand.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 08:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you made the key comment: "... it might be different if the Board were made up of employees, since they would have first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of the organisation." This is the paradigm shift.

Deming and Juran pointed it out, and it had about a decade's worth of a limited trial run in many segments of U.S. manufacturing. I'm here to tell you that it was successful in its own objective terms, but, without the Marxist critique, it merely served to create profits for plowing into low-labor-cost economies.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 01:35:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... but honestly I'm not expecting that it'll do anything that strong unions, competent regulators and a less psychopathic business school curriculum wouldn't be able to accomplish.

But it's certainly worth a try. Particularly since it would not cost society anything - the shareholders and their representatives are fairly useless in terms of ensuring proper corporate governance.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 03:13:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The goal would be to put workers inside each enterprise in the collective position of receiving the surpluses they produce in that enterprise. That would, of course, position them also as the distributors of those surpluses.

What about housing? How would they buy them?

There are many questions here:

  • Do productive enterprises make a  lot of profit?
  • If some of the workers capture the real estate, would other workers pay them rent?
  • What about banking? Will workers collect interest?
  • Banks create credit, inflate real estate, push down production, rewards rentiers, forces forclosers... what changes?
  • And the basic theory says that rents have a force to capture all surplus from increasing productivity. There is not much benefit for industrial workers when all the surplus is captured by real estate and resources.
  • That system to work demands monopoly production, where industrial monopolies capture surplus. No individual entrepreneurship? How is then capital allocated?
by kjr63 on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 03:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Taxation solves the first issue you raise
I assume that for Wolff land and housing should not be tradeable commodities but public goods that the state or the community apportions.
Similarly for banking: it should be a factor of production not an independent industry. Similarly for all sorts of infrastructure
As for individual enterpreneurship, I assume it is submerged in various collective efforts.

Since Wolff is a marxist (and importanly of the non-mumbo-jumbo school), I imagine that if enough of us are interested we could ask him to send us something related and answer questions?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 08:25:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Taxation solves the first issue you raise

Property tax? Indeed, Henry George's remedy. But "the left" opposes property taxes..

I assume that for Wolff land and housing should not be tradeable commodities but public goods that the state or the community apportions.

The "Leninist" alternative, that may work.

by kjr63 on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 10:55:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The goal would be to put workers inside each enterprise in the collective position of receiving the surpluses they produce in that enterprise. That would, of course, position them also as the distributors of those surpluses.

This argument is flawed. Surplus is not only profit and wages, but rents (the "pure surplus," without any costs.) The article seems only talk about distribution of profits, not surplus.

by kjr63 on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 05:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rent, as you use the term here, is simply return to a factor of production, not in principle distinguishable from any other form of profit.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 06:49:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. Profit is a return to capital, rent return to land.
by kjr63 on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 10:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And land, like all raw materials, is a species of capital.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 10:59:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. The difference is very important. "Capital" is a flexible term, but everything nature has given for free is not capital.
by kjr63 on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 06:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I elaborate a bit:

Not-man-made = Land
Machines = Capital

by kjr63 on Thu Jun 23rd, 2011 at 06:21:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Land and Capital have different operative effects especially in the micro-economy.  Letting one, trite, example suffice: access to urban land is only possible through a public space, e.g., streets; access to urban capital is 100% possible through private means, e.g., old boy networks.    

Conflating the two leads to confusing the two thus inhibiting proper analysis and Modeling.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 10:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even more in "macroeconomics." Investment in capital creates surplus, "investment" in land is a taxing license.
by kjr63 on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 01:29:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Much of what would be called "capital" in kjr63's definition, however, is also only available contingent upon access to public infrastructure. The dirty little secret of modern capitalism is that it's largely a planned economy, where it can be difficult to discern where the public sector ends and the private begins.

Oh, and much of what in kjr63's definition would be called "land" can also be (and usually is) appropriated by private individuals and their old boy's network.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 24th, 2011 at 03:00:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sees things a bit more as a complex system (I meant to write)!

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 12:24:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My brother, who works on Wall street still, reported to me in 2008 that practically everyone he knew was reading Marx.
by Upstate NY on Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 at 04:22:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a similar vein, has anyone noticed where the Dutch CDA is going?

And, of course, is the German CDU/CSU, still "Christian" in values?

In some sense, social democracy is more alive than Christian democracy, no?

by cagatacos on Tue Jun 21st, 2011 at 03:04:17 PM EST


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