[Marxism] a question I can't answer: Why do European capitalists prefer stagnation?

Einde O'Callaghan eindeoc at googlemail.com
Thu Mar 12 08:23:51 MDT 2009

mihaly koltai wrote:


> The other point I tried to raise is this: German capital actively supported
> budget cutbacks and labour market deregulation (which depressed demand and
> pushed the German economy into a nasty slump) during and after the 2001
> recession, because they could rely on an export boom, that made up for the
> loss in internal demand.
> But now, export earnings of German (and in general European) industry are
> plunging, and internal demand remains depressed - and it seems that the core
> EU countries are _still_ unwilling to step up government spending. (not to
> speak of Eastern Europe, but that's another story)

I suspect that there are two aspects here.

The first is connected with the personnel - the people who have been 
promoting the policies taht led to the disaster are still the leading 
figures in the main economic actors and they are reluctant to ditch 
their approach, even though it is potentially disastrous. Something like 
"old dogs being reluctant to learn new tricks", particularly when the 
new tricks involve doing exactly the things they've been rubbishing for 
teh last decade and a half at least.

The second is the fear of the German ruling class taht they will end up 
picking up the tab for the whole of Europe - particularly when they 
still tend to view it all as the Americans fault anyway.

There is no rule that says that the ruling class as a class will always 
immediately act in its own interests - each capitalist is pre-occupied 
at the moment with saving his own skin even if it means condemning his 
competitiors to perdition and thus undermining his own stability at a 
later stage - "band of warring brothers" and all that. Ultimately the 
capitalist system is irrational even if all the individual actors act 
rationally in their own individual interests.

Einde O'Callaghan

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