Why the Left Fails on the Economy

In recent decades, progressive forces in the United States have split between two positions, both of which surrender a robust and hopeful sense of national citizenship. On one track can be found a cosmopolitan economic elite that embrace a multicultural world order shaped largely by the politics of corporate globalization. On the other track are radical critics of the racism and imperialism of the American state who often support local community and transnational solidarity but maintain a deep cynicism, even despair, about the American project. Both groups have abdicated the national story to their shared political enemies.

Exactly! And that’s why the Left can win any battle except the ones that concern the economics. This is why it’s been defeated, time and again, on everything that has to do with money. This is a movement that can bring us gay marriage (and yay for that, it’s an enormous and wonderful achievement that makes me happy every time I think about it) but can’t bring even the tiniest victory over the neoliberal economic forces.

If all you do is dismantle obstacles in the way of liquid capital, of course the capital will win.

If you ever wondered why the Left is do good at winning ideological battles but is so impotent on the economy, here’s your answer.

12 thoughts on “Why the Left Fails on the Economy”

  1. You know I can’t really disagree with that quote. Except I don’t really feel like there are strong political forces promoting a”robust and hopeful sense of citizenship” anywhere on the political spectrum.

    Please don’t tell me the right has a hopeful sense of citizenship. Their sense is only robust in defining out groups. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of banshees gibbering with fear and anger.


  2. …Yes, very insightful, I must say.

    Things —
    – A national story that isn’t jingoistic / triumphalist: well, those who would identify with such would be a minority. I really should write a memoir with this theme, and show how it can be the story of more people. I would cause readers to reimagine community.
    – Nation-states, armies, wars. Is this a problem, they can also be quite destructive. ?


    1. Wars are not an exclusive attribute of the nation-state. They existed before, during and will exist after. The welfare protections, however, didn’t exist before the nation-state.


  3. “why the Left is do good at winning ideological battles…”

    Can you tell me which specific wars the Left is winning all these battles in?? 🙂


    1. Gay marriage is a positive example. Making the corporate world, especially the big tech completely subservient to the ridiculous speech codes is a negative example.

      There are many many places of employment where nobody would dare reveal that they support president Trump. And I’m not talking about something some pathetic little places. I mean the really big and important ones.

      Look at the deeply idiotic #metoo. How many people have been tossed out of jobs, blacklisted, sued, persecuted because they sat next to an alleged harasser in a meeting or weren’t completely unfriendly towards him?

      It’s the war for the title of moral arbiters and guess who already won it?


      1. Yeah, you’re right, the Left is winning the “culture wars” on almost all fronts — I’m a non-combatant nowadays, so haven’t paid all that much attention to the faint gunfire in the distance…


  4. OT:
    On As The Mueller Investigation Turns or Nixon, But Much Stupider:

    USA Today
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury has found Paul Manafort guilty on eight of 18 counts in the financial fraud trial of a man who just two years ago helped President Donald Trump secure the Republican nomination for the White House.

    Manafort was found guilty on five counts of submitting false tax returns, one count of failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts, and two counts of bank fraud.

    He faces a maximum of 80 years in prison.

    U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III declared a mistrial on the other 10 counts. The judge gave prosecutors a week to decide whether they would seek a retrial on those counts….
    The verdict here does not mark the end of Manafort’s legal troubles.

    <a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/nyregion/michael-cohen-plea-deal-trump.html>The Failing New York Times
    Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, made the extraordinary admission in court on Tuesday that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump.

    Mr. Cohen acknowledged the illegal payments while pleading guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and other charges, a litany of crimes that revealed both his shadowy involvement in Mr. Trump’s circle and his own corrupt business dealings.

    ..He told a judge in United States District Court in Manhattan that the payments to the women were made “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” implicating the president in a federal crime….
    Mr. Cohen also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and a single count of bank fraud, capping a monthslong investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors who examined his personal business dealings and his role in helping to arrange the financial deals with women connected to Mr. Trump…
    …He will be sentenced on Dec. 12 before Judge William H. Pauley III. Though Mr. Cohen faces a maximum of 65 years in prison, the plea agreement provides for a far more lenient sentence: The government calculated the sentencing guidelines at from 51 to 63 months and the defense put them at 46 to 57 months. A final guidelines determination will be made by the Probation Department, but the ultimate sentence will be determined by Judge Pauley.


    1. I’m Ukrainian, so I have many reasons to hate Manafort. I’m glad the nasty bugger will go to jail. It’s a little too late, of course, but better than nothing.

      As for the other bit, pushing the story of Trump’s sex life is the most surefire way to lose every election for the foreseeable future. Nobody from the party of Bill Clinton should touch this story with a pole.


      1. What’s hilarious and bizarre is the idea that he had this public perception of a family man and devoted husband to lose. Everyone knew he was a grubby sleazebucket who only gets people to sleep with him for money. [Well he does resemble Melania’s father and that’s the only marriage didn’t follow from an ‘oops’ so maybe it’s love?] “Three porn stars is enough, but five is a bridge too far!” said nobody ever.

        This scandal only makes sense if it’s Pence.

        Hurricane Lane is heading for Hawaii as a dangerous Category 4 storm
        Hurricane Lane has weakened to a Category 4 storm, though it is forecast to remain a dangerous hurricane as it draws closer to the Hawaiian Islands, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center says.

        The good news is that Kiluea has calmed down so there’s no firenado happening! Also no false alarm about a nuclear missile!


        1. Exactly. Who wants president Mike Pence, a sincere and vicious anti-gay fanatic? Definitely not me. I don’t see how he’s an improvement on Trump. I’m sure he didn’t cheat on his wife. But what the hell do I care about the adventures of his penis? What I want is for us to go to elections and win and not swap a freak for another freak.


          1. Good point. Although I meant that Pence has a reputation as a family man and faithful husband so buying off the porn stars and mistresses to preserve his reputation and base makes sense.

            He’s not. And nobody is saying Pence has legal troubles.

            A selection of headlines:
            Markets Shouldn’t Worry About President Pence

            Pence is greatest VP since John Adams, congressman says

            Pence prays with Mollie Tibbetts’ family in Iowa, promises federal support


            Guess I’d better yell about my senators about Kavanaugh.


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