Financial Structures and Egalitarian Economic Policy
In various incarnations, egalitarianism has been a fundamental concern of economic policy for most of the twentieth century.  I wish to thank the following people for their stimulating comments on this work: Philip Arestis, Dean Baker, Fred Block, Bob Brenner, Jerry Epstein, Andrew Glyn, Ilene Grabel, John Grahl, Marty Hart-Landsberg, Michael Howard, Makoto Itoh, John King, seminar participants at the Universities of Vermont, Cambridge, and California-Riverside, and participants at the September 1994 conference on ‘Demand Rehabilitation: Finance, Trade and Technology’, sponsored by Pantheon Sorbonne Paris 1 and soas, University of London. I am also grateful for my graduate students at uc-Riverside for moving with me into this topic. A shorter version is being published by International Papers in Political Economy. The egalitarian impulse—and its corollary, opposition to the stark inequalities of free market capitalism—was embodied in both Soviet-style socialism and social-democratic Keynesianism as they developed, primarily in the first quarter-century after the end of World War II. Both models achieved major successes in a range of countries, especially through the 1960s. Countries with Soviet-type economies attained high growth rates and the majority of people living in them enjoyed rising living standards, including income, job, health and housing security. The social-democratic/Keynesian approach also succeeded in reducing inequality, increasing security, as well as contributing to the dampening of the capitalist business cycle.  Some standard evidence on these indicators is summarized in Robert Pollin and Alexander Cockburn, ‘Capitalism and its Spectres: The World, the Free Market and the Left’, The Nation, 21 February 1991, pp. 224–36.
Subscribe for just £36 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3