[lit-ideas] Doug Henwood: Left Business Observer At 20

  • From: "Franz Fuchs" <f.fuchs@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 22:51:34 +0200

LBO at 20

LBO published its first issue in September 1986?the exact date is lost in
the mists of history?which makes it 20 years old. (Please don't do the math
to figure out how many issues behind schedule we are.) That debut number,
written in the late middle period of the Roaring Eighties, was a naïve
affair, full of worries about a rerun of 1929.

A little more than a year later came the great crash of October 19, 1987,
when the Dow lost 508 points in a single day. It seemed to confirm those
worries about a rerun. Early issues mocked the smooth voices of bourgeois
reassurance, summoning the ghosts of Hoover and Mellon.

But it wasn't only economic crisis that seemed inevitable?so did some sort
of political confrontation. In fact, they seemed bound together: you
couldn't transfer that much money upwards and that much insecurity downwards
without having some kind of economic and/or political smashup. Either
falling incomes would have to undermine an economy so thoroughly dependent
on mass consumption, or people would get fed up with "working harder for
less," as the New York Times once admiringly described the U.S. economic

The crackup didn't happen, and neither did the rebellion. Bush 41 succeeded
Reagan, and while the economy stagnated for most of his reign, it never
imploded. The crash turned out to be an arresting overture to a melodrama
that would never unfold.



Related: The Nation's recent feature on heterodox economists


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