Economics/Class Relations

Attack the System: Alternative Economics

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economic alternatives

Keith Preston discusses the present economic decline and the need for a new economic paradigm. Topics include:

  • Widening class divisions in the United States and the ongoing shift towards towards a two-tiered Third World model economy;
  • Aristotle’s observation that a healthy society needs to avoid extremes towards either plutocracy or egalitarianism in favor of a large middle class;
  • The writings of Paul Craig Roberts as a guide to the ongoing destruction of the working and middle classes;
  • How movements like the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and the Ron Paul campaign represent rising economic frustrations;
  • The need for a new crop of political leaders who are able to pull discontented economic currents together towards the goal of attacking the system of corporate and state sponsored economic oppression;
  • How the conventional wisdom that portrays economic policy as a choice between only big government from the Left or corporate exploitation from the Right sets up a false dichotomy;
  • How big government and big business work hand in hand to protect ruling class privilege at the expense of ordinary working people;
  • The original aims of the classical socialist movement of the 19th century and how these have been corrupted and perverted by the state over time;
  • The ideas of several contemporary writers who have produced interesting works on alternative economics.

6 replies »

  1. Great show Keith! Please let us know what kind of reception it gets from the VOR audience. I hope you do more noninterview shows like this in the future, you got a lot of good info across in a very short period. If I had any constructive criticism it would be that most people will only listen once or twice, it’s not like a word document that people will refer back to for names and sources, so, when you cite a writer or reference a blog, maybe slow it down, repeat it or even spell it out. I’m listening to the whole program a second time, this time with a pen and paper so I can look up some of the people mention.

  2. The radical idea and hard pill to swallow for most people is that there are economic models other than the one we are living in, and that they are relevant and they work. I’m currently on one of the larger Indian Reservations in the country. The economic activity here is representative of other Native communities I’ve been in. There’s a spot where wood cutters sell cords of fire wood off the back of their pickups. There’s an open air market in a parking lot where you can buy everything from hand crafted silver jewelry to socks and baseball caps. There’s even someone who specializes in refurbished axe and hatchet handles. There are food vendors all over the place. This is all in stark contrast to the fast food joints that are starting to invade; and I shudder at the thought of Wal Mart moving in. I’ve been explaining to folks that the state highway system, as convenient as it is, is subsidized economic imperialism. Is it worth it? I don’t think so.

  3. You talked a bit about economic nationalism, but does the traditional libertarian critique of economic nationalism factor into your thinking at all?

  4. I think the “free trade vs economic nationalism” dichotomy is a false one just like the supposed dichotomies between “big government vs big business,” “capitalism vs socialism,” or “public vs private.”

    Carson’s analysis of plutocracy as state imposed privilege is as relevant to this question as any other. What is commonly called “free trade” is really just state subsidized and supported economic imperialism. “Economic nationalism” of the kind thinkers like Paul Craig Roberts or Pat Buchanan endorse is really just a type of “social democracy of the Right.” The social democrats mistakenly attribute plutocracy to the market economy and private enterprise and fall into the trap of seeing the regulatory welfare state as the antidote rather than the cause. The economic nationalists mistakenly attribute corporate imperialism to the private economy and fall into the trap of seeing a state acting in the “national interest” or “public good” as the solution.

    In a decentralized economy based on local production for local markets the producers aren’t going to fire themselves in order to exploit repressed Third World labor. They’re not going to lean on the government to intervene militarily for the purpose of protecting foreign investments or opening international markets. They’re not going to import a large quantity of replacement labor in order to suppress wages. They’re not going to liquidate industries in order to create some quick cash flow. They’re not going to beg chain stores to come into their community and undercut them.

    I generally agree with much of the critiques of corporate imperialism offered by both Marxists and economic nationalists, but I think both of them emphasize the wrong things and are too limited in their vision.

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