Chris Sciabarra's Attempt to Reverse-Engineer Marx

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Wed Sep 20 08:07:06 MDT 1995

At 8:48 AM 9/20/95, Chris M. Sciabarra wrote:

>        Welfare was created to keep the poor in their place because the
>social economy of the early 20th century was careening from one statist
>crisis to another, smashing up in the Great Depression which was caused
>by Federal Reserve monetary manipulation.  Corporations and unions JOINED
>FDR in creating the original New Deal corporate state modelled on
>Mussolini's Italy.  Welfare was part of this corporativist structure, as
>it was for Bismark.  If it helps the poor from starving, it also helps
>the rich keep the poor from fully grasping the system that created
>poverty.  The social democrats who provided the rich with an ideology of
>altruism to help the poor may not have known that that ideology would be
>used in such an insidious way, but thems the facts.

*Statist* crisis? This is old territory, I know, but I can't help myself.
Libertarians, even those as sophisticated as CMS, have a vision of a "pure"
capitalism onto which meddlesome states are always grafting their
distortions. This vision of capitalism seems as utopian as anything the
utopian socialists ever came up with. Has there *ever* been a significant
capitalism that wasn't pioneered and sustained by state action? And doesn't
the extraordinary history of the 19th century, of boom followed by bust,
show that capitalism is quite capable of generating its own crises without
a meddlesome state's help? (Historical factoid: in the second half of the
19C, the US economy spent about half its time in recession/depression;
since 1945, it's been cut in half, to a quarter of the time.)



Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax

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