The Economics of Fascism
To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement … Whoever defeats the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus … thereby it becomes its enemies.
-Philip K. Dick
I remember the day that it happened. The sky was dark and covered by grey clouds. The air was bitter and wet snow was being splashed up by vehicles on the street. I was walking in mid-winter and pondering why the study of history was so fraught with despair.
Sometimes enlightenment comes in flashes but awareness is not always pleasant.
As the wind kicked up and I passed the vast, broken landscape of my de-industrialized city, that flash happened. Words are used to construct a reality around us and they are the most important of tools for politics. We are immersed in words and our cognitive understanding of our place in history and the history of the nation is usually limited by the words and imagery uttered by the cognoscenti and approved of by some “authority.” Mostly, these are very limited sources.
But, the truth is out there.
One of the most astounding things that needs to be dealt with by anyone in this world, is how the individual is sold on the idea that he lives in liberty and is ultimately the sovereign of any democratic government, but in reality has very little power to promote change. In the United States, there has been an anxiety amongst many that democracy has been under threat of extinction.
Power has a tendency to self-perpetuate and to see itself as having an entitlement to lead, rule, and control the levers of social action. In the U.S., there is no better evidence of the decline of the “people’s sovereignty” than the fact that the government and the more influential media venues have been increasingly under the control of a hereditary political class. Certainly, the temptations for leaders to insinuate their progeny into the power class is great as the rewards are tremendous. This is one of the side-effects of ever-expanding government economy based on spending and the government having a large portion of the the economy under its regulatory control. Expansive government, as most historians have recognized, is the seedcorn of corruption.
But just how expansive is the government economy in the U.S.? As a reform movement, conservatism states that one of its principals is limited government. But just how limited do conservatives want the government to be? It is easy for the critics of conservatism to poke holes in one of its most important principles when there never seems to be a comprehensive plan to initiate serious reform. Or worse, when conservatives actually expand the government while they are in power.
I think that the following video will be helpful for those who truly want to understand the framework of the centralized state and its history in the U.S.
In the video, Professor Thomas DiLorenzo, one of the most important economic historians in the country today, discusses the nature of the Fascist economy. He clearly suggests, albeit in revisionist fashion, that the centralized state that exists in the U.S. today has a lot in common with the economics of Fascist Italy. He also discusses why the free market economy, that supposedly championed by conservatism and reviled by the Left, has probably not existed in the U.S. since the beginning of the Civil War.
It is a very interesting journey into economic history and is a good starting point for anyone interested in understanding modern, centralized, state-controlled economic ideas.
Some of the more fascinating highlights:
- The comparison between Fascist economic thinking and modern liberal thinking about central government planning.
- Abraham Lincoln as economic nationalist
- Connection between American centralization and the Bismarckian Welfare State of Germany-one of the first welfare states in Europe.
- Alexander Hamilton’s arguments for a centralized economy at the founding.
- The fondness for Fascism amongst American political elites of the 1920s and 1930s.
- The Fascist attack on classical liberalism.