- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Not likely.

Posted by: Dr. Cruel on October 21, 1999 at 00:51:54:

In Reply to: World War III? posted by Farinata on October 20, 1999 at 19:02:44:

Not likely. Good line of thought, however; unfortunately, it is shaped by the faulty (and self-serving) nature of Left-wing analysis.

How does the U.S. respond to groups that threaten its primacy? If they do so through economic competition, they tend to be vacillating and indecisive. Since Americans are so conditioned to see fair trade as an absolute good, they aren't likely to support a government that would act to restrict it (especially if such actions made their already expensive Japanese cars and electronic toys even more expensive). Such a threat must be one to the security of the U.S., must be something that will directly affect Americans, and should be salted with a significant number of atrocities (preferably with accompanying photographs). Indeed - the successful depiction of American involvement in Vietnam in exactly these terms, with a void in documentation regarding the vicious repression of people in the region by the North Vietnamese regime, was sufficient to end that involvement, condemning millions of locals to their doom.

Also, in regards to the film industry, there is a wide gulf between what is "seen" by the contemporary producers and directors of such works and what actually exists in real life. If anything, filmmakers are almost universally hostile to American policy. There are those who have gone so far as to buy the film rights to Tom Clancy's books, just so that they can be remade in as anti-American a manner as possible. Tony Scott's films also come to mind. The simple fact of the matter is that, were the U.S. to suffer under such a crisis, there would likely be several films out soon afterwards depicting the event as the direct result of a corrupt American administration (especially if the Republicans were to win a majority in 2000). Likely one of these would win an Oscar.

What might occur is that communists, becoming emboldened by a weakened, cash-strapped society, would use such a collapse as an excuse to initiate a civil war, perhaps along racial or class lines. Such a move likely would fail; most rational people are not particularly fond of the communists. It could result in the sort of backlash experienced in Weimar Germany, in the wake of the Spartacist uprising and the machinations of the Bolsheviks (and the resultant rise of the friekorps that crushed it). Or, it might be more quietly dispelled, as in revolutionary Spain, leading to a sort of pensive stagnation of the society (with the people, in despair at the possibility of further attempts, would allow the state almost unlimited powers).

Personally, I think we'd simply weather the storm, as we did in 1929. Americans are too sensible to react impulsively, like the more homogeneous societies of Europe. What would most likely occur is that the resulting ploys at "Trotskyism" that would be launched at the republic would quickly fizzle out, as they did in the 30's, leading to - as has been typical throughout the history of the U.S. - another long period of capitalist domination of the economy (and, of course, the almost unspokenly obvious prosperity that would result).

Although, being one that leans somewhat towards Objectivism, I am certainly attuned to Mr. Greenspan's concerns.

"Doc" Cruel

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