A MOLLY POINT OF VIEW:
PREDICTABLE AND OTHERWISE PART 1:
For many years I have held a rather heretical (in the usual lefty point of view) opinion. I personally believe that we are living in a post capitalist society that is better described as "managerial" rather than "capitalist". This is, of course, a moot point, and I recognize that no society is purely dependent on only one mode of production and exchange. The inclusion of exchange is important to differentiate my point of view from merely another 'historical materialist' point of view, one that is solely focused on prouction and neglects to one degree or another the world of consumption.
I'll leave the justification of this opinion for another time.What is important here is just like an idealized "capitalist" society has its periodic crises somehow connected to "overproduction" so does managerial society has its own cycles.of crisis. The business cycle, of course, never followed the rule book laid out by Marx in Capital . When Marx wrote his magnum opus in the most free trade society in the world at the time of its maximum free trade existence ie its closest approach to an ideal "capitalism" it was at least seeminly possible that history would follow the schemata that Marx laid out.
There was, however, a fly in the soup.History didn't march to a Marxist drumbeat. This was amptly demonstartrated by Eduard Bernstein in the early years of the 20th century ( see Evolutionary Socialism ). The proletariat was not forced into increasing poverty. So-call "intermediate strata' did not disappear and instead multiplied. The force of monopoly went so far and then settled into a dynamic balanceas new economic opportunities opened up. The Leninist incantations of ìmperialism`failed to explain the fact that the workers found that they could improve their position by both trade union and political ways.The marxist left was left with a theory of price that always failed to either predict or explain the cost that a commodity fetched on the market (free, semi-free or stateized).
In the end there was a business cycle that was more of less controlled (abolished ? ) by state management- both the authoritarian communist and the Keynesian methods. What was left was a society that continued to have periodic crises. Only some of these were classically economic. Others were very much social/political as various underclasses would rebel against their managerial overlords. Of course the eruptions of such rebellion was not wholly predictable, but I seemed to have found a least a crude periodicity of such rebellions in both the so-called capitalist world and in the state socialist world as well. The period was anywhere from 7 to 10 years, and it would often be demonstarted in the state socialist societies not as open rebellion but rather as economic crises, presumably due to somewhat "passive rebellion" on the part of workers and consumers.
Thyere was also the fact that no economic system in history has been pure. The state socialist societies existed only because of an underground capitalist black market that made said societies livable. Feudalism contained elements of both capitalism (the merchants) and managerial rule (many of the monastic orders). Our present society wavers between a managerial system and a capitalist one with the caveat that the decision to adapt prouction and consumption to the rules of the market lies with managers, especially those of the state, the managerial class par excellance.
Next time: Recent rebellions.