[OPE] Michael Parenti interviews Doug Henwood

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri Jul 10 2009 - 13:00:04 EDT

A few excerpts:

(...) what we've seen-first in the Bush administration and now from the
Obama administration-is that the public is getting nothing in return for the
vast amounts of money spent. We don't know where the money is going-it's
completely opaque. The Fed has admitted that they either don't know, or they're
not telling. There was an amazing exchange in Congress a few weeks ago [see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXlxBeAvsB8 ] between the Fed's Inspector
General, or whatever her title was, and a Republican congressman who was
asking her where the money has gone. She was either incapable of giving an
honest answer or didn't know the answer but she just couldn't even lie
effectively. It was remarkable. We don't know where all this money is going.
http://beyondmoney.net/2009/06/12/fed-inspector-clueless-where-has-all-the-money-gone/ ]
And we're not getting any significant institutional change out of it. The
Obama administration seems to want to recreate the status quo before the
bust. They occasionally talk about creating a new economy, a new economic
model, but they're not really doing it. They really seem to be in awe of
Wall Street power and unwilling to challenge it in any significant way.

(....) Rail: Why do you think the bankers won? Henwood: There are two parts
to that. The longer term structural issue is that Wall Street, the financial
system, is basically a mechanism for the creation and exercise of ruling
class power. It is the heart of the capitalist economic and social system.
So taking on Wall Street is very, very complicated. But, there is also the
sense in which these guys represent a social interest that has done very,
very badly and they could have had their toes stepped on a bit-and they
haven't. If you go back and compare when Roosevelt gave that speech to the
Democratic Convention in October 1936, he said: "Never have the rich and
powerful been so lined up in their hatred of a political candidate and I
welcome their hatred." You cannot imagine Obama saying anything remotely
similar. (...)

(...) Well if we look at the long sweep of things, to generate growth in
capitalism you need some sort of leading sector, you need some sort of
transformational technology that spreads throughout the economy. (...) There
was an attempt to make technology that leading sector in the 90s. It worked
for a little bit, but it really didn't generate the kind of boom we saw in
the 19th century or part of the 20th. We need one of those now to get out of
this. If we don't have some sort of new leading sector, we have a long
period of a very stagnant and troubled economy ahead of us. And I think
there's very good reason to believe that some sort of green technology could
do that. It could preserve life on earth, presuming that we want to do that,
but it could also generate a long term economic boom that would transform
daily life and create whole new dynamic economic sectors, dynamic
technologies that would lead to long-term growth in incomes and employment.
Without that, I don't see what's going to do that, and it's going to take a
dynamic public sector to encourage that.

(...) The American ruling class has reinvented itself many, many, many times
over the centuries, so that's always possible, but right now it still seems
like a very incoherent formation.

Complete interview:

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