[NetBehaviour] Capitalist reform agenda?

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 16 16:42:25 CEST 2020

Hi all,

This article by Mariana Mazzucato sounds a lot to me like the current campaign motto of the non-incumbent US political party, i.e., to rebuild a "better" version of the US and global economy after Covid-19.


The main political question of 2020 then seems to me to be:  will conservative entities "pull out all the stops" to prevent the loss of the executive and legislative branches next month, because they will not ever accept a Mazzucato type agenda?  Or, is it pretty much OK with them so they will let the electoral process put them out of power (to some degree) for a cycle or two?

My guess is that total or near-total cancellation of US democratic processes carries a cost with it, and US conservatives do not have enough to gain in November to make it worth the cost.  So, they accept minority status for a while and allow the voting process to go ahead somewhat.  I personally think this is an 80% chance.

However, if there is some kind of subterranean agenda like a major war being planned by which conservatives will decide to pull out all the stops to win, that changes the ratio considerably.  In either case, political economy will remain to some degree afflicted by injustice, inequality, and corruption; in my opinion much more so if the conservatives go all-out to retain power and less so if the centrists are allowed to win.

Clearly the Mazzucato approach includes more of the social conscience which even Adam Smith called for, i.e., laws, regulation, and cultural norms to act as guardrails against the most vicious and brutal kind of market practices exemplified by laissez-faire, chien-mange-chien, and so forth.  At some point adamant libertarianism does begin to make literally no sense.

Given the rather loose ties to democratic process that US conservatives adhere to, it does seem prudent to me to think in terms of cultural activities which may be needed to advance progress, or economic creativity a la Mazzucato, in the absence of a genuinely compulsory political structure of authority.

Or to put it another way, if worse comes to worst are there still cultural activities which can keep progress resilient after the loss of virtually all political agency?  We may find out.

All best wishes and regards,


PS -- fun Leonardo image about the election: The Battle of Anghiari, by Rubens.  🙂

From the article:
More than 50 years later, in the midst of a global pandemic, the world has a chance to attempt an even more ambitious moonshot: the creation of a better economy. This economy would be more inclusive and sustainable. It would emit less carbon, generate less inequality, build modern public transport, provide digital access for all, and offer universal health care. More immediately, it would make a COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone. Creating this type of economy will require a type of public-private collaboration that hasn’t been seen in decades.

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