Friday, April 15, 2016

To Krugman, on Sanders

In response to Krugman's Why I Haven’t Felt The Bern.

What, promising more than he can deliver? I'm sure no politician has ever done that before.

I think you're being seduced by the promise of competent technocratic governance on the side of the Clinton campaign, just as your profession was, decades ago, when it jumped over the right edge. The theories looked nice and the data would surely line up any day...month...year...decade...someday.

Unh-unh. They never lined up. Instead we have the new depression and the new wars. I'll return to those points. Meantime, let's look at Sanders.

Is Sanders promising more than a Sanders administration could deliver? Oh, probably. Is something like his vision possible? Yes, very probably. We are long past the point where Keynes could rightly excoriate Trotsky for having no real solutions, and therefore only being able to deliver brutality. Keynes himself was to provide the basis of those solutions, and others followed. A modern neo-socialism, guided by the economic and sociological work of the past century, could be made to work, if the political conflicts could be resolved. It may even be that a neo-socialist solution is the only possible way for democracy to survive the hard times that are upon us.

Now, let's take a look at Hillary Clinton's technocratic solutions. They are much like William Clinton's technocratic solutions of the 1990s which, we all know, failed miserably, and are still delivering poverty. The Clintons are a political team. They share many ideas and their economics is still a failed neo-liberalism. Her allies and backers support it entirely. There is a second kind of technocratic solution she advocates, what is more usually called realpolitik. We had all best beware of it. Realpolitik is a another failed 20th century policy that has killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

I don't believe Hillary Clinton is the sensible humane technocrat; I think that is Bernard Sanders.