Commentary on Political Economy

Thursday 4 August 2011

Two stories have just come up: the first is from the Handelsblatt (for those who read German) about how the US treasuries are the safest place to be in -

The second story has broader significance: the FT recounts how German and Dutch workers co-ordinate wage and productivity increases to maintain employment through capitalist investment and business cycles (it's called Mitbestimmung - "consultation"). This is all very well, but let us remember that it works best in an export-oriented economy, such as the German. In other words, it is part of that soziale Marktwirtschaft (social market economy) that pretends to buy domestic social peace at the cost of employment in other countries! This kind of "planned economy" or "concertation" has its antecedents in the old Prussian and Junker authoritarian and imperialist state structures - something Joseph Schumpeter brilliantly identified as the origin of World War One in Imperialism and Social Classes, as did Hilferding in Imperialism, and Lenin in a book by the same title - all written around the same time after 1914. Here is the FT story:

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