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Economic advice from David McReynolds…

Sorry for the splashy title. Actually, former War Resister’s League secretary, socialist Presidential candidate and Green Party Senate candidate David McReynolds simply kept up the circle of forwarding around this very good article to his e-mail lists. But, as most things that David McReynolds admires, it is a thought-provoking article.

(excerpt from) The Guardian UK
Socialism has failed. Now capitalism is bankrupt. So what comes next?

by Eric Hobsbawm

Whatever ideological logo we adopt, the shift from free market to public action needs to be bigger than politicians grasp

The 20th century is well behind us, but we have not yet learned to live in the 21st, or at least to think in a way that fits it. That should not be as difficult as it seems, because the basic idea that dominated economics and politics in the last century has patently disappeared down the plughole of history. This was the way of thinking about modern industrial economies, or for that matter any economies, in terms of two mutually exclusive opposites: capitalism or socialism.

We have lived through two practical attempts to realise these in their pure form: the centrally state-planned economies of the Soviet type and the totally unrestricted and uncontrolled free-market capitalist economy. The first broke down in the 1980s, and the European communist political systems with it. The second is breaking down before our eyes in the greatest crisis of global capitalism since the 1930s…We don’t yet know how grave and lasting the consequences of the present world crisis will be, but they certainly mark the end of the sort of free-market capitalism that captured the world and its governments in the years since Margaret Thatcher and President Reagan.

Impotence therefore faces both those who believe in what amounts to a pure, stateless, market capitalism, a sort of international bourgeois anarchism, and those who believe in a planned socialism uncontaminated by private profit-seeking. Both are bankrupt. The future, like the present and the past, belongs to mixed economies in which public and private are braided together in one way or another. But how? That is the problem for everybody today, but especially for people on the left…

KW: This article by Hobsawm, and this idea, truly inspired me. I have been thinking a lot about socialism as a paradigm for awhile, and the circle of activist colleagues and thoughts around me are all like “fix it to a good capitalism” or “go socialists”, even a couple “go communist.” I like the idea of perhaps creating a whole new path. Yes, that seems possible…and needed.

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