torsdag 15 december 2011

Ett bra Iversen-citat om kapitalism och demokrati, apropå Streecks NLR-essä

Wolfgang Streecks relevanta och långa essä från det senaste numret av New Left Review, "The Crises of Democratic Capitalism", ska översättas till svenska, och diskussionerna om den påminner mig om ett episkt citat från den kvantitative Harvard-statsvetaren Torben Iversen. Citatet kommer från inledningen till Iversens kapitel i Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, och sätter fingret på den centrala teoretiska fråga som ligger bakom Streecks nutidshistoriska diskussion: hur kan kapitalismen och demokratin, med spänningen mellan kapitalismens ojämlikhet och demokratins nominella jämlikhet, förenas? Och det är så oerhört elegant och effektivt skrivet; hur ska man börja en essä om inte så här:
"A question permeates much comparative political economy from the classics to
contemporary scholarship: how it is possible to combine capitalism with democracy?
The former produces stark inequalities in the distribution of property and income,
while the latter divides power in a manner that is in principle egalitarian (one person, one vote). So why don’t the poor soak the rich? And if they do, how can capitalism be a viable as an economic system?"


Iversens essä finns att läsa här, som pdf.

Den konservative FT-kolumnisten Christopher Caldwell, vars bok om multikulturalism i Europa Perry Anderson har hyllat, hyllar i sin tur Streecks NLR-essä:
"The most powerful description of what has gone wrong in western societies was recently laid out by the German sociologist Wolfgang Streeck in the New Left Review.

He argues that full employment policies of the golden age of social democracy caused the voting public’s measures of the proper allocation of resources to diverge widely from market measures. Meeting both measures required more resources than governments could get their hands on. They filled the gap through various tricks: inflation, deficit financing, deregulated private credit and now the public commandeering of private resources for bail-out programmes.

Every effort to fix our current economic ills runs into the problems Prof Streeck lays out. Is a bail-out regime, or an austerity regime, compatible with democracy? The last prominent leader before Mario Monti, Italy’s new prime minister, to exercise power as an appointed senator was Augusto Pinochet. Is Keynesian stimulus compatible with democracy? The scandals in the US over the Obama administration’s subsidies to green-energy giants have been exacerbated by the question of whether there are products that a government can require its citizens to buy – an issue that the administration’s health plan has brought before the Supreme Court.

/.../ The present crises – of inequality, growth, debt and currencies – demand a degree of economic predictability that liberal democracy is having trouble providing."
Caldwell, "The protests failed but capitalism is still in the dock", FT 18 november 2011

Inga kommentarer: