For the last half-century, US and UK capitalisms led the way in undoing the parallel legacies of the New Deal and Europe’s social democracies. From its ascending Thatcher-Reagan couple to its descending Trump-Johnson imitation, neoliberal capitalism replaced Keynesian capitalism. Private corporate capitalists funded effective campaigns to celebrate neo-liberalism. The US and UK institutionalized it by de-regulating and privatizing further and faster than anywhere else More
Cheer up. The Left is winning the battle of ideas. Ideas are the basis for organization, and organization is prior to change. The signs are in the evolution of statements and platforms presented by Democratic presidential candidates. As the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote, eighty and some years ago:Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.
It is a basic fact of economic life in capitalist economies: recessions happen, there are cycles of boom and bust. By the 1850s, Karl Marx had pretty well figured out the how and why, the underlying mechanisms. His account has held up well over the years, though you would hardly know it to hear mainstream macro-economists tell it. More
This discussion of Keynes is evocative of our ‘democratic market neo-communism’ with some crucial differences: but in the end the devil is in the details. And there is a crucial threshold: the issue of expropriation. But the point here is to not let socialism become state capitalism: the creation of a ‘Commons’ requires a new legal definition of issues of property.
In any case the socialist solution will both mimic and yet distinguish itself from an archetypical liberal system. Although the model is open to all sorts of modifications, e.g. the question of worker cooperatives, etc, it deliberately attempts to take a ‘liberal’ prototype and remorph that into a (neo-)communist system starting with a definition of a Commons. Instead of a worker controlled government which is an undefined void which can end up in a one party anti-democratic system run by a vanguard, we retain the whole apparatus of a parliamentary system with parties with some variants of combined one-party and multi-party rule.
Note that in a system with a Commons, the larger public is not required to be on the receiving end of a state capitalist ‘plan’ and can demand by right a share of that common resource. There is no simple solution to a system that is socialist in the context of degrowth: a pseudo-communist elite without a legal Commons will soon legislate austerity of the larger whole as a new bourgeoisie. Our type of system must plan in advance with checks and balances a crisis outcome to balance ecological and economic issues.
But the overall result with its combined market, planned (and third sector) might well have a distant relative in Keynesianism.