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The Worst of All Possible Worlds: Did Market Leninism Win the Cold War?


The Worst of All Possible Worlds: Did Market Leninism Win the Cold War?

John Feffer

Imagine an alternative universe in which the two major Cold War superpowers evolved into the United Soviet Socialist States. The conjoined entity, linked perhaps by a new Bering Straits land bridge, combines the optimal features of capitalism and collectivism. From Siberia to Sioux City, we’d all be living in one giant Sweden.

It sounds like either the paranoid nightmare of a John Bircher or the wildly optimistic dream of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders.


The US will continue to slide toward the abyss as long as the return on investment is so meager here. Capital flies to Ulaanbaatar before Detroit. Only true political leadership could change this fact. The US prints money but does not apply it to the future in a true fool’s errand. A once forward looking nation has been captured by its own “exceptional” narrative. Pathetic.


This is a very disappointing article that has errors in commission as well as omission. Regardless of that it is also repetitive and actually seems pointless. Certainly if his main idea is that US isn’t able to see that it isn’t exceptional and that the wheels are falling off the EU bus, there are better and easier ways to say this:
1)The implicit claim that the US was once about ‘the little guy’ - “If the American tradition of liberalism and democracy was once all about “the little guy” – the rights of the individual, the success of small business – the United States has gone big in the worst possible way.” - Wrong. This was always the public rhetoric and never the reality.
2) Reusing Fukuyama’s erroneous prediction is one thing, failing to mention that he recanted of this, is another and, IMO, intellectually suspect.
3) " the virulent strains of ethno-nationalism that tore Yugoslavia apart" As if the machinations of the US and EU had no role in fomenting that break up.
4) “The vast Eurasian landmass, the historic pivot of geopolitics, is sinking into despotism with a corporate face and cosmetic democracy.” - Fails to even mention the rise of Podemas in Spain in conjunction with Syriza which is itself dismissed as heading for an exit from the EU. “Greece is contemplating what once was heresy, its own Grexit or departure from the Eurozone.”
5) “America has not yet descended into despotism, so the convergence is hardly complete. But it might be only one right-wing populist leader away from that worst-case scenario.” Overlooks that homegrown despotism may exist without looking like those other countries’ methods and therefore may have a homegrown face that is already looking straight at us.
6) " with a surging far-right party pounding its anti-immigrant drumbeat, even Sweden seems to be heading in the same dismal direction." Actually, because of the the last election in Sweden, they now have a Prime Minister from the left, thereby reversing this dismal trend.
Are there other problems? Who cares?
Unfortunately, this article reads to me like it was pulled out of a drawer from 10 years ago, slightly dusted off and submitted with a too short deadline. Perhaps an unused, unedited PhD thesis?
As I said, very disappointing.