Why conspiracy theories are reactionary

The defects of Hofstadter’s paranoid style

From 1950 to 1954 the Cold War exacerbated resulting in persecution of alleged communists and socialists in the US. This period is referenced as McCarthyism. Senator McCarthy headed the infamous hearings conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, which compiled an index of one million suspects. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under Director J. Edgar Hoover, who was one of the most fervent anti-communists, led the investigations.

The number imprisoned was in the hundreds, and some ten or twelve thousand lost their jobs. In the film industry, over 300 actors, authors and directors were denied work in the U.S. through the unofficial Hollywood blacklist. Charlie Chaplin was one of them. Blacklists were at work throughout the entertainment industry, in universities and schools at all levels, in the legal profession, and in many other fields.

 “Guilt by association was the watchword, as loyalty oaths, blacklists, registration requirements, and congressional inquiries sought to identify and penalize those who were sympathetic to or associated with the Communist Party, irrespective of their involvement in any otherwise illegal activity.” (David Cole, 2002, p. 997)

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A view on capitalism from different angles

A  view on the crisis from different angles

The focus on the flaws in the financial system may hide other causes of the crisis. The polarization in income distribution, in particular, tends to get glossed over as a potential cause of the crisis. Financial deregulation is only half of the story, the polarization of income distribution, thus the growth of inequality is another one; it is their interaction that provided the grounds for the crisis. 

Engelbert Stockhammer’s paper at RMF tells us in a nutshell the following:

“Neoliberalism has led to a shift in power relations between capital and labour. As a consequence income distribution has shifted sharply in favour of capital. Economically this has a dampening effect on domestic demand (as demand is wage led in the world as whole) which provides the background in front of which the macroeconomic imbalances that erupted in the present crisis have to be understood.”

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