Trotskyism as anti-communist propaganda: Question for Doug

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Sun Sep 15 12:56:20 MDT 1996


At 6:06 PM 9/14/96, Vladimir Bilenkin wrote:

>It occured to me that one phrase in your piece could be vulnerable
>to possible objections from the likable fellows, like Andrew Ross, let alone
>the smart piggish chaps, like Rifkin.

It wasn't Rifkin I referred to as a smart pig - he's an idiot and an
opportunist. It was Lawrence Summers.

>Contra the consumer capitalism
>line, you argue that <<..consumer credit fundamentally involves poor and
>middle income people borrowing from rich ones, which makes the lenders
>richer in the end>>. Yet the apparently endless bull market has been
>made possible, it seems,  by "middle class people" extending credit
>through mutual funds (I am one of them) with one hand while borrowing
>with another. Moreover, for the first time in history this small guy
>investment has become global, which can add to the above-mentioned
>company of your likable if piggish opponents quite a different group
>of characters, like MIM.

All depends on how you define middle class. In the U.S., people below the
top 10% of the wealth distribution have insignificant amounts of spare
change to put into mutual funds. It may seem like a lot to them, but in the
big picture, it's the macro equivalent of a rounding error.

Doug

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