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71

The End May Be Nigh, But For Whom?

7
terms
2
notes

Mann, M. (2013). The End May Be Nigh, But For Whom?. In J. Calhoun, C. et al Does Capitalism Have a Future?. Oxford University Press, pp. 71-98

defined by Max Weber in opposition to instrumental rationality: "determined by a conscious belief in the value for its own sake of some ethical, aesthetic, religious, or other form of behavior, independently of its prospects of success"

73

Sometimes they are driven not by instrumental rationality but by what Weber called value rationality, sacrificing personal calculative interest to an overall ideology.

—p.73 by Michael Mann
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

Sometimes they are driven not by instrumental rationality but by what Weber called value rationality, sacrificing personal calculative interest to an overall ideology.

—p.73 by Michael Mann
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

referring to the 17th century English author Thomas Hobbes, whose best-known work, Leviathan, describes a situation of unrestrained, selfish and uncivilized competition

74

Given his Hobbesian view of the human need for a single Sovereign, that bodes ill

—p.74 by Michael Mann
strange
3 years, 2 months ago

Given his Hobbesian view of the human need for a single Sovereign, that bodes ill

—p.74 by Michael Mann
strange
3 years, 2 months ago

defined as "the pursuit of austerity measures in order to destroy inefficient firms, industries, investors, and workers" by Michael Mann

77

reached its ghastly climax in what was called "liquidationism"

—p.77 by Michael Mann
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

reached its ghastly climax in what was called "liquidationism"

—p.77 by Michael Mann
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

when GDP growth slides back to negative after a quarter or two of positive growth

78

the Roosevelt administration's overconfidence that recovery was underway led it to deflate in 1937, which produced a "double-dip" recession

—p.78 by Michael Mann
uncertain
3 years, 2 months ago

the Roosevelt administration's overconfidence that recovery was underway led it to deflate in 1937, which produced a "double-dip" recession

—p.78 by Michael Mann
uncertain
3 years, 2 months ago

lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group, which lessens social cohesion and fosters decline; popularized by French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his influential book Suicide

84

America suffers from anomie, an absence of shared norms, as well as alienation--Durkheim as well as Marx

—p.84 by Michael Mann
unknown
3 years, 2 months ago

America suffers from anomie, an absence of shared norms, as well as alienation--Durkheim as well as Marx

—p.84 by Michael Mann
unknown
3 years, 2 months ago

(in the context of capitalist crisis) avoiding the low-growth phase problem by exporting manufacturing to places with cheaper labour, thereby raising profits for a while

87

This is what some have called the "spatial fix" to capitalist crisis.

—p.87 by Michael Mann
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

This is what some have called the "spatial fix" to capitalist crisis.

—p.87 by Michael Mann
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

the incessant product and process innovation mechanism by which new production units replace outdated ones; coined by Joseph Schumpeter in 1942 as "the essential fact about capitalism"

88

what Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction", which he identified as being the core of capitalist dynamism

—p.88 by Michael Mann
notable
3 years, 2 months ago

what Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction", which he identified as being the core of capitalist dynamism

—p.88 by Michael Mann
notable
3 years, 2 months ago
89

Moreover, new markets need not be restricted by geography. They can also be created by cultivating new needs. Capitalism has grown adept at persuading families that they need two cars, bigger and bigger houses, more and more electronic devices. Whoever dreamt of this fifty years ago? What will our grandchildren consume fifty years from now? We cannot begin to envisage their consumer fads, but we can be sure there will be some. Markets are not fixed by territory. Planet Earth can be filled and yet new markets can be created. That, of course, depends on what some have called the "technological fix" and it is more or less what Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction," which he identified as being the core of capitalist dynamism—entrepreneurs pour money into technological innovation which results in the creation of new industries and the destruction of old ones. The Great Depression in the United States was partially caused by the stagnation of the major traditional industries, while the new emerging industries, though vibrant, were not yet big enough to absorb the surplus capital and labor of the period. That was achieved in World War II and the aftermath, which then suddenly released enormous consumer demand held back by wartime sacrifices.

So the vital question now is whether another technological fix is occurring, or is likely to soon occur. There are new dynamic industries like microelectronics and biotechnology. But the problem is that so far they have not been big enough to provide a satisfactory fix, especially for the labor market in the West, where the new industries tend to be more capital- than labor-intensive. The decline of manufacturing industry in much of the West has generated unemployment there which the newer industries have not been able to much reduce. Recent innovations like computers, the Internet and mobile communication devices do not compare with railroads, electrification and automobiles in their ability to generate profit and employment growth. The "Green Revolution" has been the recent exception, providing a great boon to agricultural production, mainly in the poorer countries Also important has been the expansion of the health and educational sectors, which are more labor intensive and in which the labor is more intellectual and more middle class. Their expansion is likely to continue, as the length of life, and especially of old age, and educational credentialism continue to increase.

—p.89 by Michael Mann 3 years ago

Moreover, new markets need not be restricted by geography. They can also be created by cultivating new needs. Capitalism has grown adept at persuading families that they need two cars, bigger and bigger houses, more and more electronic devices. Whoever dreamt of this fifty years ago? What will our grandchildren consume fifty years from now? We cannot begin to envisage their consumer fads, but we can be sure there will be some. Markets are not fixed by territory. Planet Earth can be filled and yet new markets can be created. That, of course, depends on what some have called the "technological fix" and it is more or less what Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction," which he identified as being the core of capitalist dynamism—entrepreneurs pour money into technological innovation which results in the creation of new industries and the destruction of old ones. The Great Depression in the United States was partially caused by the stagnation of the major traditional industries, while the new emerging industries, though vibrant, were not yet big enough to absorb the surplus capital and labor of the period. That was achieved in World War II and the aftermath, which then suddenly released enormous consumer demand held back by wartime sacrifices.

So the vital question now is whether another technological fix is occurring, or is likely to soon occur. There are new dynamic industries like microelectronics and biotechnology. But the problem is that so far they have not been big enough to provide a satisfactory fix, especially for the labor market in the West, where the new industries tend to be more capital- than labor-intensive. The decline of manufacturing industry in much of the West has generated unemployment there which the newer industries have not been able to much reduce. Recent innovations like computers, the Internet and mobile communication devices do not compare with railroads, electrification and automobiles in their ability to generate profit and employment growth. The "Green Revolution" has been the recent exception, providing a great boon to agricultural production, mainly in the poorer countries Also important has been the expansion of the health and educational sectors, which are more labor intensive and in which the labor is more intellectual and more middle class. Their expansion is likely to continue, as the length of life, and especially of old age, and educational credentialism continue to increase.

—p.89 by Michael Mann 3 years ago
91

There is a further obstacle to revolutionary change. The communist and fascist revolutionary alternatives to capitalism were disasters, and they are the only ones to have emerged so far. There are no other alternatives around and almost no one wants to repeat either of those. Socialism, whether revolutionary or reformist, has never been weaker. Fundamentalist Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are the surging ideologies of the world and they tend to contemplate otherworldly as much as material salvation. This-worldly alternative ideologies of the 20th century failed. In poorer countries brought into the global economy we might expect the rise of socialist or similar movements, but they are likely to become reformist. Modern social revolutions have almost never occurred without major wars destabilizing and delegitirnizing ruling regimes. In the two biggest revolutions of the 20th century, in Russia and China, world wars (with different causes than capitalist crises) were necessary causes of revolution. Wars are thankfully in decline around the world—in fact only the United States continues to make inter-state wars—and there are no anticapitalist revolutionary movements of any size in the world. Revolution seems an unlikely scenario. The end really is nigh for revolutionary socialism.

The future of the left is likely to be at most reformist social democracy or liberalism. Employers and workers will continue to struggle over the mundane injustices of capitalist employment (factory safety, wages, benefits, job security, etc.), and their likely outcome will be compromise and reform. Developing countries will likely struggle for a reformed and more egalitarian capitalism just as Westerners did in the first half of the 20th century. Some will be more successful than others, as was the case in the West. China faces the severest problems now. The benefits of its phenomenal growth are very unequally distributed, generating major protest movements. Revolutionary turbulence is certainly possible there, but if successful it would likely bring in more capitalism and perhaps an imperfect democracy, as happened in Russia. America also faces severe challenges since its economy is overloaded with military and health spending, its polity is corrupted and dysfunctional, and the ideology of its conservatives has turned against science and social science. All this amid the inevitability of relative decline and the growing realization that American claims to a moral superiority over the rest of the world are hollow. This seems a recipe for further American decline.

shiet

—p.91 by Michael Mann 3 years ago

There is a further obstacle to revolutionary change. The communist and fascist revolutionary alternatives to capitalism were disasters, and they are the only ones to have emerged so far. There are no other alternatives around and almost no one wants to repeat either of those. Socialism, whether revolutionary or reformist, has never been weaker. Fundamentalist Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are the surging ideologies of the world and they tend to contemplate otherworldly as much as material salvation. This-worldly alternative ideologies of the 20th century failed. In poorer countries brought into the global economy we might expect the rise of socialist or similar movements, but they are likely to become reformist. Modern social revolutions have almost never occurred without major wars destabilizing and delegitirnizing ruling regimes. In the two biggest revolutions of the 20th century, in Russia and China, world wars (with different causes than capitalist crises) were necessary causes of revolution. Wars are thankfully in decline around the world—in fact only the United States continues to make inter-state wars—and there are no anticapitalist revolutionary movements of any size in the world. Revolution seems an unlikely scenario. The end really is nigh for revolutionary socialism.

The future of the left is likely to be at most reformist social democracy or liberalism. Employers and workers will continue to struggle over the mundane injustices of capitalist employment (factory safety, wages, benefits, job security, etc.), and their likely outcome will be compromise and reform. Developing countries will likely struggle for a reformed and more egalitarian capitalism just as Westerners did in the first half of the 20th century. Some will be more successful than others, as was the case in the West. China faces the severest problems now. The benefits of its phenomenal growth are very unequally distributed, generating major protest movements. Revolutionary turbulence is certainly possible there, but if successful it would likely bring in more capitalism and perhaps an imperfect democracy, as happened in Russia. America also faces severe challenges since its economy is overloaded with military and health spending, its polity is corrupted and dysfunctional, and the ideology of its conservatives has turned against science and social science. All this amid the inevitability of relative decline and the growing realization that American claims to a moral superiority over the rest of the world are hollow. This seems a recipe for further American decline.

shiet

—p.91 by Michael Mann 3 years ago