Jamie Galbraith rallies the faithful: "Sorry to be defeatist - it’s the way I feel. Prove me wrong."
Seventy-six years ago a Senator from Alabama — yes, Jamie, Alabama — proposed a solution to an earlier unemployment crisis. And you know what? The Senate approved it 53-30. But the Big Boys objected and we got the NRA instead. "It will be remembered," wrote brain truster Rexford Tugwell, "that one of the reasons why NRA was sponsored by Roosevelt, and why the act was passed in the special session of spring, was the threat of a thirty-hour law being pushed by Senator Hugo Black." Tugwell was wrong. It has not been remembered. It is forgotten that Roosevelt only acted in the face of a more radical mobilization.
The problem with the solutions you propose, Jamie, is that they are the kind of moderate, respectable responses that might be forthcoming from an Obama administration if (and only if) there was momentum building for a more radical response to the jobs crisis.
There is a 240-year arc to this crisis, a 60-year arc and a 30-year arc. The 240-year arc is "capitalism". The 60-year arc is "the cold war" and the 30-year arc is "neo-liberalism". Until enough people understand how those three arcs relate to each other, there’s not going to be any resolution of this crisis. Moving beyond the neo-liberalism of the last 30 years cannot mean restoring some solution from a more distant past. What is most frightening about the present crisis is that its resolution has the potential for a previously inconceivable degree of emancipation. It is precisely the THREAT of freedom that is evoking such great resistance.
"Civilization has to defend itself against the specter of a world which could be free. If society cannot use its growing productivity for reducing repression (because such usage would upset the hierarchy of the status quo), productivity must be turned against the individuals; it becomes itself an instrument of universal control."