Good point, Michael! Come back, Thorstein Veblen, all is forgiven.
I am really just making a plea for the introduction of world history
into this discussion. The fastest-growing economy in the world between
1890 and 1913 was Russia with an annual growth rate of about 10%,
similar to China's today. We all know what happened next after the
imperialist powers started fighting each other and the revolution was
not in Germany. The British thought the world economy was in a Great
Depression 1873-1896, but it turned out that returns on middle class
savings (consols) were being squeezed by American and German capital,
while the world economy boomed (Siberia, South Africa, Brazil).
We are not just witnesses to the self-serving ideologies of the
super-rich. (Thomas Jefferson presciently called commercial
monopolists a psuedo-aristocracy and wanted to include inhibitions to
their growth in the constitution, but the Federalists got round that
one. Whether he knew that or not, Veblen made the same point a century
later and now it is our turn.) There are massive changes taking place
under our noses and, as far as nettime is concerned, you would think
nothing much is going on outside the US.
I think the main difference between Brian and me is that he wants to
engage personally with the politics of our moment in history and this
comes across sometimes as being myopic (which he is not), whereas I
want to get a sense of the global picture and that makes me rather
detached about the politics. I do think we are entering a period of
war and revolution that could be as long as the neoliberal phase and
that is why I gobble up what Brian has to say.
I did produce this reflection on revolution and the human economy not long