Friday, October 24, 2008

No Austrians In Foxholes

The old joke goes there are no athiests in foxholes. With the crash of international financial capitalism there are no Austrians in foxholes. Capitalism rushes to the embrace of it's state to bail it out. Everyone now accepts that State Capitalism resulted from the previous Great Depression and in order to avoid another one, the State is required to save the financial market. Some American libertarians and conservatives decried the state bail out of the banks, but no rational self interested capitalist was listening to them.

Nor contrary to some wags were they thumbing through the Communist manifesto to find a solution. They simply were returning to their Keynesian roots, apologizing abjectly for their folly of declaring him dead and useless.

Suddenly the darlings of the neo-cons, Ayn Rand, von Mises and Hyaek, were no longer the belle's of the ball. They once again quickly became relegated to the dustbing of history. Once again an anomaly of booming capitalism, a joyful ideology for those who embraced the greed of an unregulated market, an excuse to line pockets of the wealthy while ignoring the neccisity of producing real value; goods, services, infrastructure. Today the bankers and financiers are now fully fledged Keyensians.

In the Nouvel Observateur weekly, columnist Jacques
Julliard rejoiced that France was no longer hearing “diatribes” against its
“archaic” system.
“Where have the (economic)
liberals gone?” he asked. “Since Bush nationalized the American banking system
we don’t hear from them anymore.

Even the most stalwart follower of Ayn Rand has admitted the failure of her ideology.

Greenspan is having a crisis of faith.

The former chairman of the Federal
Reserve and long-time deregulator admitted to U.S. lawmakers yesterday he "made
a mistake" in assuming banks could self-regulate the complex derivatives
It was an about-face for Mr. Greenspan, a diehard supporter of
deregulation. He was a close friend of Ayn Rand, the most notable of
libertarians who champion the individual over the state. Yesterday, he threw her
theories under the bus, but it was no shock to Ms. Rand's followers.

It is in fact startling to hear the right wing President of France sounding like a socialist, but not unexpected given the gravitas of the current crisis.

idea of the all-powerful market that must not be constrained by any rules,

by any political intervention, was mad. The idea that markets were always right
was mad," Mr Sarkozy said. "The present crisis must incite us to refound
capitalism on the basis of ethics and work & Self-regulation as a way of
solving all problems is finished. Laissez-faire is finished. The all-powerful
market that always knows best is finished," he added.

In fact it appears that the only ones proclaming the joys of unregulated markets are those from the Eastern Bloc, former communists and socialists who have never experienced the joys of American capitalism in all its gory glory.

In a
letter published on Tuesday by the daily Mladá fronta Dnes,
Václav Klaus says that the global financial crisis did not result
insufficient market regulation, but, on the contrary, from excessive
interventions and increasing public spending.
According to
Klaus, there is a
risk that the rescue packages proposed by some governments
will turn the
European banking system into a partially state-owned and
centrally regulated

Ironic that. He sounds like Bush, Paulson, and Greenspan prior to the crash. They now have abandoned their faith in self regulated markets, and have embraced the need for state capitalism; a regulated capitalism supported by huge investments of public funds.

know many Americans have reservations about the government's
especially about allowing the government to hold shares in private
banks. As
a strong believer in free markets, I would oppose such measures under
ordinary circumstances. But these are not ordinary circumstances," Bush

But in reality the state promoted the ideals of the financial and monopoly capitalists as their own, they did their bidding, even as they do it now. Its about power in and over the markets. There never was an unbridled capitalism of small self employed artisans, which is the libertarian ideal, in fact capitalism is not about work or business, but about accrual of capital for its own sake.

Whether it was Keynes and the social contract after WWII or the shift towards monetarist policies and free trade in the seventies, eighties and ninties, it was all done by the capitalist state, in order to maintain and stabilize capitalism.

The mistake made by the left and the right was to assume that state capitalism was 'socialism'.

This mistaken link between public ownership and socialism was the result of the ideologues of the 2nd International, who adovcated that capitalism would evolve into socialism, that is public capitalism would arise from private monopoly capitalism.

After the Bolshevik revolution, and the subsequent Great Depression, capitalism was in a historical crisis, its old models no longer sufficient to meet the demands of those who create capital, the working class. Class war was on the horizon, the final death knell of capitalism was being wrung by a mobilized militant working class and by the failure of financial capitals coinciding.

The capitalist state was reformed to meet this crisis,based on variations of models of Keynes General Theory. State Capitalism is the highest form of capitalism, and that is what Randites and Austrian School apologists forgot.

Is this ciris out of the ordinary as Bush claims? Was i unpredicatable as Greenspan and Volker claim. Why no. Many pundits have pointed ot the similarities of this crash to those in the past; some going as far back as the Great Crash of 1873 in the U.S., the Great Depression of 1931-33, the 1973 post Viet Nam war crash.

What do all these crashes have in common? They occurred in relation to rapid industrialization of economies during and after large scale wars. In the case of 1873, it occurred after the civil war destroyed the last of the small scale artisinal base of American industry replacing family shoe making businesses and the like with large scale factory production.

The Great Depression occurred after WWI and the 1973 crash occurred as a result of America's incurssion into Viet Nam.

At the begining of the Bush regime in the U.S. the Republican government went from having a surplus to having a deficit. And those wags on the right, the very same neo-cons who a decade before had deonounced government deficits that led to expanded public sector infrastructure growth, now were cheering on the Bush government to expand its deficit especially when it came to planning for war against Afghanistan and then Iraq.

The wat in Iraq led to a government deficit that dwarfs those of the seventies and eighties.

That is the elephant in the room. America celebrated like it was 1929 for eight years under Bush, while sending their sons and dughters to fight in a foriegn war. There was no war rationing, no draft call, no need to commit by Joe or Jane Yank to Bush's war. So it was party time back home.

America also ended it dominance in manufacturing and actual production during the Reagan era. As we entered the new millineum right wing libertarian mags like Reason praised the end of America's dominance in production claiming the new capitalism in America would be based on service sector jobs.

And they were partially right. With contracting out and offshoring an essential part of the New World Order of the WTO and expanding globalization of capital, America now found itself no longer manufacturing goods at home, but buying them at WalMart from newly emerging fordist economies in Asia.

Americans laid off in manufacturing ended up in low paid jobs selling products they once made at the local WalMart. America now relied upon its citizens to produce capital not through manufacturing but through consumption.

America made credit easily available, and American's liquidated their savings in an orgy of spending that kept America going for the past eight years.

Was this crash unexpected? Of course not. It began a year ago, but Bush, Paulson, Greenspan, Bernake, and the right wing neo-cons were in denial. I have blogged as have others predicting this crash. That it would be as serious as the Great Depressions of 1873 and 1933 was also not unexpected, nor was the fact that the monopoly and financial capitalists flight back into the safe arms of the Nanny State unexpected.

There are no Austrians in foxholes when the economy melts down. Ideology is tossed out and capitalists and their politicians once again embrace state capitalism to bail them out.


Black Gold
The Return Of Hawley—Smoot
Canadian Banks and The Great Depression
Bank Run
U.S. Economy Entering Twilight Zone


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