In the face of continuing right-wing attacks on Social Security since the Reagan era in the 1980s, MR has responded repeatedly by pointing to the phony nature of the Social Security crisis. Two articles of note are Jacob Morris, “Social Security: The Phony Crisis” in the February 1983 issue of MR and “Social Security, the Stock Market, and the Elections” in the October 2000 issue. Those wanting a thorough historical understanding of this struggle are encouraged to look back at these articles. Given the nature of the right-wing onslaught, which all along has pretended that the Social Security trust fund was threatened with “bankruptcy,” MR’s chief thrust has been to dispel such misconceptions. Our primary purpose has been to counter what has been one of the major propaganda campaigns of our time. If Social Security is in peril of “collapse” it is only because of current plans to privatize it. However, there is a great danger in this controversy of getting drawn into endless debates on the financing of the Social Security system in the United States, while losing sight of the more fundamental issues
Volume 56, Issue 10 (March)
The twentieth century’s dominant myth was that of a “rational capitalism.” The two economists who did the most to promote this idea were John Maynard Keynes and Joseph Schumpeter. Both were responding to the great historical crisis of capitalism manifested in the First World War, the Great Depression, and the Second World War. In the wake of the greatest set of horrors the world had ever seen, accompanied also by the rise of an alternative, contending system in the Soviet Union, it was necessary for capitalism following the Second World War to reestablish itself ideologically as well as materially. In terms of the ideological requirement, the two economists who accomplished this most effectively were Keynes and Schumpeter—not simply because they epitomized the best in bourgeois economic ideology, but also because they were the leading representatives of bourgeois economic science. What they set out in their analyses were the requirements of a rational capitalism and at least the hope that these requirements would be achieved
The discovery by a team of Indonesian and Australian researchers of the remains of a previously unknown species of hominid, Homo floresiensis, on the Indonesian island of Flores was characterized by some scholars as the greatest discovery in anthropology in a half-century and was selected by Science magazine as the leading runner-up for the 2004 “breakthrough of the year” (first place went to the discoveries of the Mars Exploration Rovers that indicate Mars was once wetter than it is today and potentially capable of supporting life). The discoverers of the new species note that it was a particularly small hominid, with an adult stature of approximately one meter and an endocranial volume of about 380 cm3, less than one-third that of the typical modern human and even small relative to its body size. They argue that it is most likely a descendant of Homo erectus that evolved in long-term isolation, with subsequent endemic dwarfing. Another interesting aspect of the find is that Homo floresiensis apparently lived until at least 18,000 years ago and was, therefore, a contemporary of anatomically modern humans. Many scholars where shocked by both the small stature of and late date attributed to the new hominid, with some moved to question whether the remains were not merely those of a deformed modern human, a suggestion that its discoverers reject as unsupported by the evidence
My wife Karen and I were on the road, traveling around the United States, for 150 days. We left Portland, Oregon on April 30, 2004, and over the next five months, we drove about 9,000 miles, through sixteen states. We visited thirteen national parks, seven national monuments, and towns large and small. We walked on streets and hiked on trails; we talked to people; we read local newspapers and watched local television stations; we shopped in local markets; and we observed as much as we could the economics, politics, and ecology in the places we stayed. What follows are some of my impressions
Ever since the major reversals of socialism in the twentieth century, first in the Soviet Union and then in China, leftists internationally have been faced with a serious question: After the initial victory of the people’s revolutionary forces, what can be done to keep on the “socialist road”? What measures can be taken to restrict the class differences inherited from the old society, fend off imperialist hostility and intervention, and prevent a new capitalist class from developing within socialist society itself?
Ed Cray’s new biography of Woody Guthrie marks another step in a growing interest in the left-wing Okie troubadour. In 1997, historian Charles J. Shindo published Dust Bowl Migrants in the American Imagination, which includes analysis of Woody Guthrie’s work along with that of John Ford and John Steinbeck. Joe Klein’s enthusiastic biography of Guthrie, first published in 1980, was reissued in 1999, the year after Ed Cray began the new biography. Elizabeth Partridge’s book for young readers, This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie was published in 2002
Yvonne Kapp is best known for her biography of Eleanor Marx (1855–1898). Published in two volumes in 1972 and 1976, it rescued the youngest daughter of Karl Marx from the obscure corner she occupied in biographies of her famous father and restored her to a position of prominence among the major players in the development of late nineteenth-century British socialism. In bringing her subject to life, Kapp manages at the same time to provide a panoramic view of the rise of the progressive movement, in all its variety and complexity. Upon its release, Eric Hobsbawm praised the work as “one of the few unquestionable masterpieces of twentieth century biography.” Verso has now reissued the books in one volume and has published this memoir of its author for the first time