Sunday, October 18, 2009

Capitalism as an Infectious Disease

Joseph Schumpeter once wrote, "the budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies."

Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1954. "The Economic Crisis of the Tax State." International Economic Papers, 4; reprinted in Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1991. The Economics and Sociology of Capitalism, ed. Richard Swedberg (Princeton: Princeton University Press): pp. 99-140.

Yesterday's post dealt with the way that budget choices create pressures that shape pension funds' choices, something like the way that people in desperate states make decisions that they would not make under ordinary circumstances. However, the skeleton ranges across the body of society. For example, ordinary people often must depend their pensions fall victim to a similar logic. In fact, one of the many objectives of the privatization of Social Security was to make workers identify with the objectives of capitalism. Andy Stern of SEIU suggests how that kind of thinking even infects the supposedly progressive union movement. Here is the exchange from Business Week:

Q: Has the recession led you to rethink the way you operate your union? What is the SEIU doing to prepare for a recovery?"

A: "Well, it's made us appreciate that we have to be better partners with our state governments and employers in terms of efficiency. It makes us appreciate that our pension funds are tied to the success of the economy. And it makes us very much want to come together with other Americans and employers and people in the nongovernmental part of our country and say we need to create a 21st-century American economic plan so Team USA can compete and win."

Bartiromo, Maria. 2009. "Union Leader Andy Stern on the Future of Big Labor." Business Week (28 September).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unions haven't been worth a damn since they swore off seeking a shorter work week.