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Primitive America : the ideology of capitalist democracy
  1. Summer 12222
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Moore, a former member of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, is an economic adviser for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. To many people, that this important political and media figure openly espouses such extreme views might seem shocking. Yet Moore is by no means alone.

Summer 12222

This sentiment is widely held among economic elites. In a article for the libertarian think tank the CATO Institute, titled " The Education of a Libertarian ," Thiel declared, "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible. Thiel continued: "Since , the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of 'capitalist democracy' into an oxymoron.

The billionaire was subsequently grilled for his implication that women's suffrage was a bad thing. He concluded the article on a frightening, even fascistic note: "The fate of our world may depend on the effort of a single person who builds or propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for capitalism.

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Thiel's overtly anti-democratic views, although certainly extreme, are frankly not that uncommon. For plutocrats, capitalism — the system that allows them to hold on to their enormous wealth while billions of people live in grinding poverty — trumps democracy — which could threaten their wealth. In fact, the idea that capitalism is necessarily democratic is quite novel in history. Capitalism has its roots in 17th-century mercantilism, and, for hundreds of years, it existed in and with thoroughly undemocratic systems.

Adam Smith, one of capitalism's leading thinkers although, as world renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky has pointed out, Smith's work is frequently misrepresented , lived in the 18th century after all, at a time when democracy scarcely existed. Even after the industrial revolution, with the gradual rise of liberal capitalist democracy as the dominant form of government, full enfranchisement has remained elusive. For the vast majority of the history of capitalism, most of the population in ostensibly democratic societies was not able to vote.

In the U. Still today, large numbers of citizens are disenfranchised because of legislation discriminating against former felons and continued voter suppression practices like voter ID laws. Likewise, in Australia, Aboriginal people were not able to vote until And in France, women could not vote until Meanwhile, in the decades since activists finally earned the suffrage, through great sacrifice and struggle, capitalist democracies have gotten less and less democratic.

A study by professors at Princeton University and Northwestern University found that "economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. Many of the founding fathers of the U. Influential historian Charles Beard detailed in his opus "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States" how the rich founding fathers had specific economic interests in declaring independence from Britain, and were greatly enriched by forming a new independent government — particularly one that would preserve slavery, historian Gerald Horne emphasizes in his book "The Counter-Revolution of Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America.

Although a potential President Trump could unseat Washington for this dubious superlative. Alexander Hamilton, an architect of the U. He insisted that "the rich and well born" must be given "a distinct, permanent share in the government," in order to "check the unsteadiness" of the "turbulent and changing" masses. Only the wealthy elites can "maintain good government," Hamilton wrote. He continued: "Can a democratic assembly, who annually resolve in the mass of the people, be supposed steadily to pursue the public good?

Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. The founding father's ideological imprint lives on in the U. The newspaper Hamilton founded, The New York Post, remains active and influential, with a right-wing editorial stance under the ownership of conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Today, this open disdain for democracy is still prevalent among economic elites. Stephen Moore and Peter Thiel are joined by an array of capitalist ideologues who feel the same. Yet it is not just contempt for democracy that one will find in some libertarian literature. Even more troubling is how leading free-market thinkers have actively upheld authoritarian countries as positive examples of governance. The so-called "economic miracles" that took place since the rise of neoliberalism in countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, Chile and China are often admired.

In , libertarian economist John C. Goodman published an article in Forbes warning that democracy could threaten the free-market economies of Hong Kong and Singapore. Goodman applauded the large economic growth in Hong Kong, which has an undemocratic system of governance based on the model set up by British colonialists, and which saw massive pro-democracy protests in Authoritarian Singapore is another model for Goodman.

And he even spoke highly of China. The People's Republic of China very clearly made a break with socialism in , with the rise to power of Deng Xiaoping. New ecological, economic, political and social imaginaries that can construe the intensifying crises are crucial here. Whether they can be developed through connecting grass-roots resistance across different territories, places, scales, and networks and building on local experiences, or through broader initiatives aimed at building political, intellectual, and moral leadership through more encompassing political parties and social movements remains the key strategic dilemma for organizing resistance.

The challenge is how best to develop new forms of social organization — or an ecology of organizations — that can address both horns of this dilemma. This is not the topic for another scientific paper but for actual and potential social movements.

Capitalism and Democracy

Research Interests: Sociological theory, sociology of the state, sociology of capital, environmental sociology. Recent publications: Territory, politics, governance and multispatial metagovernance, in: Territory, Politics, Governance, ; The State. And he also showed explicitly or implicitly how these were formally and substantively incompatible with liberal democracy on Bonapartism, see Marx Whereas the former thesis tends to focus on symptoms at the level of the political scene, the latter tends to ground its analysis in more fundamental shifts in contemporary capitalism and challenges to national security — given that the national security apparatus links different apparatuses within the state, operates across its formal boundaries with society, and is itself linked through parallel power networks to important forces beyond the state.

Yet, its actions to date seem inconsistent with others. Along with tax cuts and other largesse for corporations and ultra-high net worth families, these measures will entrench corporate power and privilege. At the same time there is further sabotaging of the welfare state in areas such as education, health, housing, social security, and other safety nets and attacks on labour rights. Many measures coincide with the neo-conservative and neoliberal agenda of billionaires such as the Koch brothers and as relayed through multiple lobbying groups. Key beneficiaries in the short- to medium-term are the fossil fuel industries, the military-industrial complex, and financial capital.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Berliner Journal Fur Soziologie. Berl J Soziol. Published online Oct 9.

Primitive America — University of Minnesota Press

Bob Jessop. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Bob Jessop, Email: ku. Corresponding author. Abstract The often-asserted relation of formal adequacy or elective affinity between capitalism and democracy is historically contingent on both sides of the relation.

Keywords: Austerity state, Authoritarian statism, Exceptional state, Financialization, Liberal democracy, Neoliberalism, Political capitalism. The comprehensive contradiction in bourgeois democracy This brief discussion of political capitalism and the accompanying historical summary indicate that the adequacy of the bourgeois democratic republic depends on the overall economic, political and ideological situation and its implications for the equilibrium of compromise necessary for the democratic constitution.

In this context, he identified five major contrasts between normal states and exceptional regimes: Table 1 Normal States and Exceptional Regimes Source: based on Poulantzas , , Open in a separate window. Biography Bob Jessop born Footnotes 1 Marx analysed formally rational capitalism in Das Kapital. Corporate governance adrift: A critique of shareholder value. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar; Austerity against democracy. An authoritarian phase of neoliberalism? Authority in the twentieth century. Review of Politics. Das System: Die Machenschaft der Macht. Munich: Droemer; Die neuen Bonapartisten. Berlin: Dietz; Now the justice department admits it got it wrong. From catch-all politics to cartelisation: The political economy of the cartel party. West European Politics. Homeland Security, its law and its state: A design of power for the 21st century. London: Routledge; Economy and Society. The rise of authoritarian neoliberalism. Rethinking Marxism. The leader and the masses: Hannah Arendt on totalitarianism and dictatorship.

In: Baehr P, Richter M, editors. Dictatorship in history and theory: Bonapartism, Caesarism, and totalitarianism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Frankfurt a. Privatised Keynesianism: An unacknowledged policy regime. British Journal of Politics and International Relations. Constituting capitalism: Corporations, law, and private transnational governance. The finance-dominated regime of accumulation and the crisis in Europe. Berlin: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung; Financialization of the global economy.

Industrial and Corporate Change. M: Suhrkamp; The crisis of neoliberalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; Real-World Economics Review. Thinking the crisis politically: lineages of resistance to neoliberalism and the politics of the present conjuncture. Space and Polity. Golden rule: The investment theory of party competition and the logic of money-driven political systems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; The European welfare state: Golden achievements, silver prospects. Locating financialization. Historical Materialism. London: Pluto; Kapitalismus und Freiheit.

Munich: Piper; The conservative nation. Economic backwardness in historical perspective. The historical constitution of the political forms of the capitalist state. Testing theories of American politics: Elites, interest groups, and average citizens.

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Perspectives on Politics. The global panopticon? The neoliberal state, economic life and democratic surveillance. Selections from the prison notebooks. Hamburg: Das Argument; New York: Henry Holt; Sind Parteien in der Politik alternativlos oder ist ihre Rolle historisch begrenzt? In: Gehne D, Spier T, editors. Krise oder Wandel der Parteiendemokratie? Wiesbaden: VS; How Washington made the rich richer — and turned its back on the middle class.

The doom loop. London Review of Books. Policing the crisis: Mugging, the state, and law and order. London: Macmillan; Capital, crisis and the state. The bubble and beyond: Fictitious capital, debt deflation and the global crisis. Killing the host: How financial parasites and debt bondage destroy the global economy. Nicos Poulantzas: Marxist theory and political strategy. In: Ritzer G, editor. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization.

Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell; Credit money, fiat money and currency pyramids: Reflections on financial crisis and sovereign debt. In: Harcourt G, Pixley J, editors. Financial crises and the nature of capitalist money. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; Neoliberalism, finance-dominated accumulation, and the cultural political economy of austerity. Politics of austerity. London: Palgrave Macmillan; The symptomatology of crises: Reading crises and learning from them.

Some critical realist reflections. Journal of Critical Realism. The state: Past, present, future. Cambridge: Polity; Bonapartismus ohne Bonaparte. The quiet coup. From Hayek to Trump: The logic of neoliberal democracy. In: Panitch L, Albo G, editors. Socialist register Rethinking democracy. London: Merlin; The financialization of the American economy. Socio-Economic Review. Profiting without producing: How finance exploits us all. London: Verso; The state and revolution. In: Lenin VI, editor. Collected Works. Moscow: Progress Publishers; Financial derivatives and the globalization of risk.

Durham: Duke University Press; Indeed, the concept of interest became a new political idea. The 17th-century English political theorists Thomas Hobbes and John Locke thought of society as created by a compact among people, in which the state's primary obligation was to protect the interests of its citizens. A central interest was the right of property. This current in political thought culminated in the work of Adam Smith , who argued that the commercial classes, if allowed enough political and economic freedom, could best achieve prosperity for the country.

The crux of Smith's argument was that the economic order should be as independent as possible from the political order. Smith's Wealth of Nations was a critique of the existing system of state controls that he called mercantilism. He argued that state intervention not only diminished political freedom but also was economically inefficient. The state's proper role should be to protect private property and enforce contracts; production and distribution should be regulated by the market.

In fact, the idea of natural rights, now usually considered ends in themselves, were reinforced by the idea of economic independence.

Economic freedom, the privilege of having, keeping, and inheriting property, is protected in the U. The 19th century was an era of unprecedented economic growth, especially in Britain and the United States. It was the age of laissez-faire economic liberalism and free trade, when politics and economics were thought of as separate spheres of human endeavor. The modern firm was characterized by the sale of stocks and bonds which gave it access to the savings of the public, and the corporate form of organization gave it independence from its owner--in the eyes of the law, the corporation was a "person" and could sue as a legal entity, independently of its stockholders.

The stockholders, concerned primarily with the return on their investment, tended to cede their powers to salaried managers. By the end of the century most people worked in the factory and the office. Large industrial cities developed, and with them trade unions and working-class political parties that regarded employers and capitalists as their enemies and the capitalist system itself as something to be modified or even eliminated.