Sun Jun 10, 2012, 04:25 AM
HiPointDem (20,729 posts)
The Crisis and the Consolidation of Class Power (David Harvey)
Does this crisis signal the end of neo-liberalism? My answer is that it depends what you mean by neo-liberalism. My interpretation is that it’s a class project, masked by a lot of neo-liberal rhetoric about individual freedom, liberty, personal responsibility, privatisation and the free market. These were means, however, towards the restoration and consolidation of class power, and that neo-liberal project has been fairly successful.
One of the basic principles that was set up in the 1970s was that state power should protect financial institutions at all costs. This is the principle that was worked out in New York City crisis in the mid-1970s, and was first defined internationally when Mexico threatened to go bankrupt in 1982. This would have destroyed the New York investment banks, so the US Treasury and the IMF combined to bail Mexico out. But in so doing they mandated austerity for the Mexican population. In other words they protected the banks and destroyed the people, and this has been the standard practice in the IMF ever since. The current bailout is the same old story, one more time, except bigger.
What happened in the US was that 8 men gave us a 3 page document which pointed a gun at everybody and said ‘give us $700 billion or else’. This to me was like a financial coup, against the government and the population of the US. Which means you’re not going to come out of this crisis with a crisis of the capitalist class; you’re going to come out of this with a far greater consolidation of the capitalist class than there has been in the past. We’re going to end up with four or five major banking institutions in the United States and nothing else. Many on Wall Street are thriving right now... Some people are going to be burned, but overall it’s a massive consolidation of financial power. There’s a great line from Andrew Mellon (US banker, Secretary of the Treasury 1921-32), who said that in a crisis, assets return to their rightful owners. A financial crisis is a way of rationalising what is irrational – for example the immense crash in Asia in 1997-8 resulted in a new model of capitalist development...
But this can lead to a deeper political struggle: there is a strong sense of questioning why are we empowering all the people who got us into this mess. Questions are being asked about Obama’s choice of economic advisers... Why would you now bring in so many of the characters who are pro-Wall Street, pro-finance capital, who did the bidding of finance capital back then? Which is not to say that they aren’t going to redesign the financial architecture because I think they know it’s got to be redesigned, but who are they going to redesign it for..?
Whether we can get out of this crisis in a different way depends very much upon the balance of class forces. It depends upon the degree to which the entire population says ‘enough is enough, let’s change this system’. Right now, when you look at what’s been happening to workers over the last 50 years, they have got almost nothing out of this system....In the US over the last 7 or 8 years, the condition of the working classes in general has deteriorated, and there has been no mass movement against this. Finance capitalism can survive the crisis, but it depends entirely upon the degree in which there is going to be popular revolt against what is happening, and a real push to try and reconfigure how the economy works...
5 replies, 1109 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
The Crisis and the Consolidation of Class Power (David Harvey) (Original post)
|Egalitarian Thug||Jun 2012||#2|
Response to Quantess (Reply #4)
Sun Jun 10, 2012, 11:29 PM
HiPointDem (20,729 posts)
5. I recommend Harvey's you tube videos on the right to the city. he gives a history lesson on
the neoliberal class project which includes interesting background like what really happened in the 1975 NYC "bankruptcy".
shock doctrine has been going on for a long time.