Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Professor Robert Kuttner, whose interview with Steve Bannon was the final straw that precipitated the exile of Bannon from the White House, has authored a new book, Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? It advances some ideas that I have discussed here already and allows for some further insights.

As I have stated before Ronald Reagan opened the global floodgates of the demise of the "housebroken" capitalist economic system that had built the USA, and the rest of the world that followed along, to its economic apex after WWII and Bretton Woods Agreement. As Kuttner states, this system worked pretty well for the rise and expansion of the middle class. But Reagan and all of his successors have worked hard to erode all of this, thus enabling the likes of Trump and Bannon to exploit the consequent sufferings that took several generations to fester sufficiently, including doing so by racializing much of the debate.

The following interview then discusses how this has played into the cultural issues that have separated the abandoned working class from the Democratic Party, and who have now enabled Trump to cuckold the Republican Party.

Of course, such as Reagan was preceded by the process that began in the 1950's with the ecumenical movement, the Vietnam War, and the counter-culture. And as Kuttner stated, when people feel under threat they prefer to pull back into their cultural cocoon of reactionary nationalism. In this case feeling ironically comforted by the Chaos of their bold new rhetorical champion, as the Germans had done almost a century before. But, to what ultimate end?

Jerry Russell

Staff member
Here's an article by Cameron Pike at Saker's blog (yes, I know, I've been giving this blog more attention than it deserves.) The author starts by observing (as we often do) that words such as Capitalism are abstractions and that we don't share a common understanding of their meaning:

Most online discussions today about poverty and austerity, especially in social media by even those with the best of intentions, are vacuous; filled with lots of words that don’t have any tangible meaning – no physically equivalent value. Disconnected from this hollow definition is the very essence for which value is given to anything which sustains and increases the quality of human life. We give up our intellectual reason to authoritative voices on topics we don’t know enough about very easily when such abstractions are deployed.
Her diagnosis is that our "capitalist" economy has deteriorated into a predatory system controlled only by the top 0.1% bankers and military-industrial complex, and operated primarily for their benefit. She goes on to express the view that if only we could get Glass-Seagall reinstated, and establish a National Bank to compete with the private banks, then all our problems with over-powerful oligarchs would be solved.

Most of the comment thread disagrees that such simple proceedings would be sufficient. Many feel that "Capitalism" is unworkable in any form. I think there's a fear that any level of economic inequality creates a slippery slope, and that the winners inevitably expand their prerogatives until we arrive at the collapse of capitalism into fascism or feudalism.

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Yes, it seems that the hardliners and others of the right-left world have everything reduced to a set of black and white binaries, when the world is not generally made of such. I agree with Pike that restoring Glass-Steagall and having a National Bank (not the private Federal Reserve) would be good, but that we would need even more mitigation measures.

For starters, corporations need to be downgraded from 'superhuman' status, their directors need to be made strictly accountable, and the lobbyist swamp needs to be drained. We need universal health care, and pressure other countries into abandoning retrograde economic systems like the neo-colonialism yet in our southern neighbors.