After the Autumn of the Patriarch: Part 2 (was Re: everything'sreally ok)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Sun Oct 15 11:04:58 MDT 2000

>Those of you who don't subscribe to Brad de Long's list missed this:
>>A couple of years ago everyone seemed to agree that the
>>international financial institutions needed major reform--even
>>though half of critics (the Jeffrey Sachs-Joseph Stiglitz wing)
>>believed the institutions were too scrooge-like, and the other half
>>(the Ralph Nader-Wall Street Journal wing) believed the
>>institutions were too generous and liberal. The IMF was forcing
>>countries into deflationary policies that caused severe
>>depressions, or the IMF's generosity had encouraged overlending and
>>overproduction that had caused widespread crisis. But even though
>>the directions of the proposed reforms were directly opposed,
>>everyone seemed to agree that such major reforms were absolutely
>>necessary: all agreed that, in the words of William Greider of the
>>Nation, "the usual financial remedies [would] lead only to failure."
>>Yet here we are. So what went right?
>>What went right was that our global institutions did a much better
>>job of handling the crises of the 1990s than the folk wisdom holds.
>How blissful it is to live in this best of all possible worlds.

I missed this -- perhaps I should subscribe to Brad's list.  Brad's
wrong to imply that we live in the "best of all possible worlds," and
he's further wrong in minor details of the kind that Seth pointed out
(we know these errors of his already, though).  It does, however,
seem to me to be true that the recent direction of the Bretton Woods
institutions has been an unholy synthesis (= an un-Hegelian synthesis
of partial untruths, ignoring partial truths in implementation)
between two reformist camps ("be nice to the poor, make micro-loans,
remember the Grameen Banks, women & development, women in
development, blah, blah, blah" & "no more money to corrupt dictators,
crony capitalists, moral hazards, blah, blah, blah") in the endgame
of the nation states on the periphery.  There have been few Left
critiques of this unholy synthesis, aside from the libertarian duos
of Henwood (critique of the idea of "new economy") & Heartfield
(critique of post-modern "leftists" glosses on the idea of "new

At 10:57 AM -0400 10/14/00, Patrick Bond wrote:
>From: "Patrick Bond" <pbond at>
>To: lbo-talk at, lbo-talk at
>Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 10:56:59 +2
>Subject: RE: everything's really ok (nation-state)
> > From:          Peter van Heusden <pvh at>
> > I hope not, but I fear you're right. Luckily, there are forces beyond
> > NGOs, church leaders, etc. in the current mix of international protest -
> > because any attempt to follow the Keynesian model of national capital *as
> > a solution* would merely reinforce the role of the NGOs, etc. as the moral
> > guardians of capitalism.
>*Solution*? No comrade, no one wants to stop there, be sure! The
>futility of *solving* capitalism's local and global overaccumulation
>crisis at the scale of the nation-state is where we in the marxian
>camp logically depart from the Keynesians. It's just that the
>nation-state is the most logical line of defense under current
>circumstances (given how badly arrayed the balance of forces are at
>the global scale). The nation-state is where most Transitional
>Demands are made. Isn't capital controls just such a demand?
>Likewise, isn't delinking from WTO rules a necessary if insufficient
>basis for setting up a more radical developmental project? Or
>alternatively do you want rich white South Africans to continue
>taking their apartheid wealth out of here? And international traders
>to undermine any attempt at economic planning?...

I sympathize with Pat Bond, but he's swimming against the current:
the post-nationalist structure of feelings dominant in our epoch
(_after_ the Autumn of the Patriarch), in which much of the
Cosmopolitan Left (in the USA, the UK, Germany, etc.) has been
ideologically de-linked from reality (see Kenneth MacKendrick).  To
grasp the virtues of Transitional Demands, you need to have your feet
planted on the planet earth.


More information about the Marxism mailing list