It's really been fascinating the last few days to watch the highly paid clowns on CNBC mumble and stutter as the obvious bankruptcy of capitalism is further exposed. Their clown prince, Jim Cramer of Mad Money, has been especially entertaining. Trillions in theoretical wealth has vanished into the dark void of nothingness from whence it came and no one in elite circles really knows what to do. Every "remedy" that US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and his counterparts in Europe have implemented so far have had but one goal: rescuing insolvent financial institutions. Meanwhile, the real economy of productive work in which tangible things of value and utility are created is being left to die on the vine. The rot on Wall Street has not yet fully infected the real economy or "Main Street" in popular parlance, but that may change quickly if the buffoons now calling the shots are not reined in--and soon. Even hardcore self-professed conservatives and true believers of capitalism such as investment professional Karl Denninger are utterly disgusted with the Paulson Gang.
What I'm not seeing anywhere on bubble-vision or reading in the Wall Street Journal is criticism which fundamentally questions the efficacy of capitalism itself as the best means of addressing a modern society's needs. This should hardly be surprising given that the mainstream corporate media's primary function is maintaining the status quo while preaching the gospel of consumerism. No, as always one must look to other sources.
Sj D'Arcy, a writer with whom I've only recently become aware, has laid out a compelling proposal for dealing with the crisis from a Left perspective and sees the current discrediting of capitalism at the systemic level as a unique opportunity for true progressives to leave the sidelines so to speak and get into the game. Infamous neo-liberal economist Milton Friedman once noted that during a crisis the ideas that are generally adopted to cope with it are the ones that "happen to be laying around". Naturally it helps if the ideas "laying around" were placed there by elites who are at or very near the levers of power. For the Right this has nearly always been the case over the past half century, however, the current crisis has the Right on the ropes, disoriented and reeling as opposed to the Left as is the usual pattern. Capitalism as a theory hasn't tumbled to these depths since 1930's--the last time the Left was resurgent in the US. This presents a unique opportunity for the Left to be relevant again in the US and shouldn't be squandered on sectarian squabbling (a Left staple).
D'Arcy's essay is a must read for those unfamiliar with the mechanics of this crisis and are unsure of how the Left fits in the present debate regarding a way forward.
[PS. The links that follow D'Arcy's essay are extremely valuable as well.]
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