Monday, February 22, 2016

Michael David Cobb Bowen — American Socialism = Progressive Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism has a good chance in America because they can always claim underdog status. They cannot be held responsible for the bankruptcy of their ideas because they are too clever in their manipulations of regulatory and tax law. They will bleed that which is profitable to fund that which is wasteful without ever actually taking charge.


The original socialist impetus was moral as was made clear to me in my reading of George Orwell. His excellent book 'The Road to Wigan Pier' made the case for socialism in Britain. Essentially in those days before the advent of the supermarket, when more people farmed with oxen than tractors, a few oligarchs could conspire to restrain their investment in an industry and actually starve people. This was proven in England's coal mining industry. The plan for socialism was generally simple which was to gain control of such industries and compel investment so towns like Manchester would not be devastated. The demand for socialism included things we take for granted today, like standardized hours, overtime pay, educational stipends, investment matching and workman's compensation insurance for injuries on the job. In other words 'benefits'. But the larger idea was of 'scientific socialism', ie a vision of how technology could benefit the working class.

Today we have benefits and we have a larger number of capitalists and corporations than ever. It cannot be said that a half dozen privately owned companies control entire industries such that a collusion between them to go golf instead of invest in job creation will actually starve whole cities. Markets have become more global and open. If American capitalists don't find steel an attractive investment, Indian capitalists will buy the mills at a discount. In short, the deprivations of capitalism are not as deadly as they once were before WW2 when the average worker didn't have electricity.

Read the full article HERE.