Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Not old enough to remember those Republicans, but that was sort of my point. As yoou point out the spectrum has moved sharply right on economic policy, yet back before it did, Gailbraith was a mainstream liberal Democrat on economic policy - i.e. a mainstream leftist in a much more left wing environment.  As far as the three you are calling centrists, again, read some of their stuff - their views are standard issue for the left wing of left wing continental European parties today. Of course they are also way to the right of the official doctrine of pre WWII socialist parties. But for the present day, your definition makes no sense. Lets take Germany. If we follow you the left wing of Die Linke is left, the right wing of Die Linke, the left wing of The Greens, and the left wing of the SPD are centrist, and everybody else is right wing. By 1960's definitions that's true, but so what? I also would find it silly to use todays definitions and  call Ludwig Erhard a member of the German right or Ed Heath of the British right or to call Brandt right wing because he was far to the right of the Weimar era SPD (in theory at least, in practice it was a different story - what would you call someone like Hilferding).

And FWIW I'm pretty damn sure I have a much better idea of at least European policy positions and debates in the fifties, sixties, and seventies than you do (reading every goddamn issue of Spiegel and Die Zeit, plus a random fifth of the FAZ issues from 1945-1975 sort of helps with that. I'm also pretty sure I have a better idea of how the planned economies of Eastern Europe worked - lots of books, and hundreds of thousands of pages of archival documents give me a certain insight). I have far less knowledge of America in that period, but easily enough to know the sort of basic stuff about Nixon's economic policies.

On the other thread for some reason you troll rated me for disputing the idea that regardless of whether the price of diesel is two Euros/l or 20 there would be no difference in the total vehicle miles of freight trucks and for suggesting that labour costs had a good deal to do with the shift of the textile industry to low wage countries.  

As for what my ideas are and their impact, I'm not quite sure how the notion that we should have an economic system like Germany in the sixties and seventies - (i.e. a little bit to the left of America in the sixties) led to this disaster. Perhaps you might care to elucidate. Or perhaps not, that's your perogative, just as it is mine to make what comments I wish. It is not your right, however, to troll rate what you disagree with.

by MarekNYC on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 01:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as the three you are calling centrists, again, read some of their stuff - their views are standard issue for the left wing of left wing continental European parties today.

Marek, there's no contradiction there. Even Europe has moved so far to the right it's scary. It also means that at least some of the "left wing of left wing" are not as out to lunch as they are made to appear.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 03:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The change has been entirely political. It's about attitudes, not economics. The pre-Carter attitude was that the working classes had a certain inherent dignity and deserved a seat at the table.

The post-Reagan consensus was that the working classes - and that includes white collar working classes, who would usually think of themselves as middle class - were only worthy of abuse and contempt.

The two remaining political positions in the US is the far right fuck-em-all position, which glories in the abuse and contempt. And the less far right throw-them-a-bone position which accepts that some strategic concessions may be necessary, as long as they're kept to a minimum.

The idea that workers have an equal place both in democracy and in the economy has been eradicated.

This isn't an arguument about economic theory, but about enlightenment vs aristocracy. The enlightenment view of the inherent equality of all individuals is considered a quaint piece of history by the US political classes, and not a living principle.

So - it's unlikely that policy will change until this point of view is changed. Rational forward planning can't happen as long as there's more interest in abusing and taming the majority of the population than in creating a culture in which it's possible for everyone to flourish.

Perversely, for the aristocrats, destruction of the environment is a valid end in itself, because it's one of the way they can demonstrate their specialness.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jul 10th, 2008 at 11:52:09 AM EST
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Quite a lot of the enlightenment thinkers, at least the French ones, would pretty much agree with the current aristocracy that the workers don't deserve much...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Jul 10th, 2008 at 12:49:22 PM EST
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