Thursday, December 26, 2019

Edward Luttwak - Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Written in 1994, and yet it's the most pertinent article I've read in a long time. Neoliberalism is causing enormous change, destroying communities and traditional ways of life, while jobs have become much more insecure, much harder, and with less pay.

As societies advanced, it was said that the service industries would replace lost manufacturing jobs, but they didn't tell you that the high-tech jobs would pay much less than the old manual ones.

On the whole, people don't like change, they prefer security and familiarity, the safety of a regular job, the family, and community.

The Conservatives offer even more change, and tell people to be more dynamic and fleet-of-foot, while the socialists offer more benefits for the disadvantaged, but those in precarious work, often on low pay, and maxed out with huge mortgages and rents, might feel they don't qualify as disadvantaged, so many of them turn towards fascism instead, or proto-fascism, hoping it will turn the clock back to the better days, or at least resist further change. They think the 'Strong Men' will fight off the rest of the world, and conserve the old ways of life.

That capitalism unobstructed by public regulations, cartels, monopolies, oligopolies, effective trade unions, cultural inhibitions or kinship obligations is the ultimate engine of economic growth is an old-hat truth now disputed only by a few cryogenically-preserved Gosplan enthusiasts and a fair number of poorly-paid Anglo-Saxon academics. That the capitalist engine achieves growth as well as it does because its relentless competition destroys old structures and methods, thus allowing more efficient structures and methods to rise in their place, is the most famous bit of Schumpeteriana, even better-known than the amorous escapades of the former University of Czernowitz professor. And, finally, that structural change can inflict more disruption on working lives, firms, entire industries and their localities than individuals can absorb, or the connective tissue of friendships, families, clans, elective groupings, neighbourhoods, villages, towns, cities or even nations can withstand, is another old-hat truth more easily recognised than Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft can be spelled. 

London Review of Books

Edward Luttwak - Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

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