[OPE-L:6008] capitalist strategies to overcome the current economic and social crisis

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Mon Sep 24 2001 - 08:58:34 EDT

Re Chai-on's [6002]:

> If the crisis is so severe, they would require a sort of the state
intervention which directly contradicts with market principles of their own.

While it is unclear to me whether the world capitalist economy's current
crisis is as severe
as you portray, this does pose an interesting and important question: i.e.
will the severity of the crisis
require capitalist states to adopt different
strategies ('models') than those adopted internationally in recent years (as
exemplified by
'Neo-Liberalism' and IMF/World Bank 'development' strategies)?

This seems to be a real enough question. E.g. there has been recent talk
from conservative
sources for Keynesian demand-management policies. Others have raised the
specter of
'military Keynesianism' as a strategic response to the current economic
crisis.  _In a sense_
(but _not_ entirely) this would represent a departure from what you call the

I am not convinced, though, that capitalists here or elsewhere believe that
the current crisis _requires_
fascism to be overcome. Certainly, the resurgence of _nationalism_ can
assist capitalists in individual
nation-states in overcoming the crisis (e.g. during
war time, they can usually call upon the trade unions, and union 'leaders',
to make
sacrifices for the 'greater good' -- this, I suspect, will be especially
successful in driving down wages
for state employees in the US for whom 'quibbling' over wages might now seem

It is certainly possible, though, that in _some_ nations, more despotic
forms of
governance will emerge as a way of overcoming the crisis. E.g. the current
situation might strengthen the hand of some governments led by military

One might even argue, from the standpoint of 'efficiency' [!], that
dictatorships might
have significant advantages for the bourgeoisie in some countries. Such
can be used to marshal the resources of the state to outlaw unions,
opposition parties and strikes and can be a method for attempting to drive
down wages, lower the customary standard of living of workers, and increase
intensity of work and decrease the bargaining power of workers. Of course,
other capitalist strategies (e.g. Neo-Liberalism) also seek these objectives
but the specific _methods_ (i.e. conjunctural tactics) may be different.
from the perspective of implementing state interventionist policies,
have some 'advantages' over bourgeois democracy. E.g. state policies can be
more promptly implemented since time isn't 'wasted' debating which policies
to implement.

Yet, capitalist strategies must take into account the likely consequences in
terms of working-class
resistance. And, in many countries the suspension of bourgeois democracy
could lead directly to
immediate consequences (e.g. working-class
radicalization and revolt) that are neither in the interests of the ruling
class or are necessary at this conjuncture.  Thus, I suspect, most bourgeois
governments (at least in advanced capitalist
nations) will seek to maintain 'legitimacy'
and will use social institutions (e.g. the media) to gain support for state

[Yet, in reference to the media and the state, could it not be that in some
cases the tail (the media) can
wag the dog? Thus, the media -- often through its
'shark-feeding frenzy' types of coverage -- has had the ability to shape
national debates and even
create them. This is, though, not entirely new: witness the role of the
media in promoting war after the sinking of the "Maine"].

In any event, the question of what is the emerging international strategy by
capitalists to overcome
the crisis and the question of how the working-
class can effectively mobilize against such policies are obviously
conjuncturally important issues.

Do others have thoughts on these issues?

In solidarity, Jerry

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