Monday, November 17, 2008

Economic Possibilities

There is a lot of talk about how the financial crisis is awakening the possibility of "alternative" modes of economic organization (look how timid that is when you write it out like that).

One of the easier points to score off Karl Marx is to note that his observation that capitalism carried within its bosom the seeds of its own destruction is flat-out wrong.

I mean, we still laugh at this conjecture, don't we? Even now, when the structure of capitalism appears to be collapsing as he predicted, ideology steps in and keeps it going until we've all forgotten that it had collapsed in the first place, and we can again point mockingly at the "socialists" whose experiments went disastrously wrong?

Could it be that what Marx failed to account for was the robustness of capitalist ideology? Its normative flavour?

Is this why even stauch, incessant critics of capital all over the media and the blogosphere can only muster "possibilities", because they too cannot really see the alternatives they themselves so deeply desire?

The current solution to the financial crisis does not point to 1917, or to the future, but 1944. We appear to be resetting the clock. Perhaps this is the true secret to capitalism's endurance - its timelessness.

and if many of us seem conceptually comfortable with abandonning even the idea of progress in order to save capitalism from its own destruction, what hope is there for any other "possibility"?

Just some thoughts.

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