If you’ve noticed a spike in red-baiting from the Right lately, it’s because they’ve discovered the existence of Jesse Myerson, who recently wrote of economic reform proposals he felt “millenials” should push for. Contrary to the howls about Soviet gulags and the like, what Jesse promotes therein sounds once you get past his own snark about them like a couple familiar tropes of the Social Democrat, teamed with a few positions of broader pedigree than most realize. The idea of a basic income guarantee, for example, was fairly recently the (favorable) subject of a book by right-wing author & pundit Charles Murray, while the land value tax brings back Georgism and the observation of economic rents in land ownership.
While the emphasis is on these proposals not being as alien as they ended up portrayed thanks to the American Right’s tendency to call anything to the left of Atilla the Hun Commie Marxist, there is a feature I particularly notice of the whole that has implications for something far more radical. Consider the state of the economy at the moment: virtually no one is recovering beyond stock brokers & CEOs, employment is so scarce that the unemployment rate falsifies itself downward by people dropping out in despair, wages have been stagnant forever. That in this environment consumption drags is so obvious a toddler could figure it out.
The stubbornness of capitalism is even being acknowledged by high-finance flacks — witness Larry Summers basically saying nothing beyond a state-crafted bubble could possibly burn through all the surplus capital laying around.
Now, think back to how the structure of the economy was built to this point: artificial scarcity. The crushing of labor. Hoarding of natural resources. The monopoly privilege grants of “intellectual property”. The banking cartel demonstrated by the actions of the Federal Reserve & the rotating door between the supposed “regulators” of high finance & the worst actors of such. Keep that in mind & glance at Myerson’s reform proposals: job guarantee, basic income, taxing land value. What he is basically seeking is to replicate a facsimile of conditions within the current system of capitalism that would’ve been the case already had the initial impositions of privilege via state collusion never taken place. Without the enforcement of artificial scarcity & restraints that inflate capital necessity, there would be way more openings for small scale entrepreneurship and the assumption that all must work for someone else or starve would go away, while surplus value would reach the rest of us as water from a popped balloon rather than any “trickle” — with that thus, more stable financial lives for the rest of us come forth.
The comrades of capital look askew at people like Jesse and fear they come to bury them, when really they increasingly look like their last shot at salvation. If their brains could grasp that, they’d shift from red-baiting to hoping people take heed of his suggestions and not Kevin’s.