Saturday, November 21, 2009

might as well face it, we're...,


WashingtonBlog | Leading political journalist John T. Flynn wrote in 1944:
Militarism is the one great glamorous public-works project upon which a variety of elements in the community can be brought into agreement.
But Flynn warned that:
Inevitably, having surrendered to militarism as an economic device, we will do what other countries have done: we will keep alive the fears of our people of the aggressive ambitions of other countries and we will ourselves embark upon imperialistic enterprises of our own.
Indeed, the creator of the theory of military Keynesianism himself warned that those who followed such thinking would fearmonger, appeal to patriotism and get us into wars in order to promote this kind of economic "stimulus". As The Independent wrote in 2004:
Military-fuelled growth, or military Keynesianism as it is now known in academic circles, was first theorised by the Polish economist Michal Kalecki in 1943. Kalecki argued that capitalists and their political champions tended to bridle against classic Keynesianism; achieving full employment through public spending made them nervous because it risked over-empowering the working class and the unions.

The military was a much more desirable investment from their point of view, although justifying such a diversion of public funds required a certain degree of political repression, best achieved through appeals to patriotism and fear-mongering about an enemy threat - and, inexorably, an actual war.
At the time, Kalecki's best example of military Keynesianism was Nazi Germany. But the concept does not just operate under fascist dictatorships. Indeed, it has been taken up with enthusiasm by the neo-liberal right wing in the United States.

I disagree that this is a partisan issue. The Independent piece portrays the "neo-liberal right" as special warmongers; I don't believe there is much difference with the "neo-liberal left", or "neo-conservative right", or whatever. Indeed, political labels are fairly meaningless. What is important is the actions one takes, not his rhetoric about his actions.