Chapter 8: The common good — Economic policy
Since the state is limited in the fulfillment of its functions by the resources of society, it plans its budget with a view to decreasing its tasks and increasing its revenues. Its concern is therefore the economic success of all citizens, and it evaluates its activities according to their effects on the wealth of the nation. It regards all its measures as means to augment the common good (“promote the general welfare,” preamble to U.S Constitution.) By means of economic policy, the state makes the necessary functions of its power for society contingent on how they contribute to economic growth.
Since economic growth is the same as the accumulation of capital, or the productive use of private property, economic policy is a simple and one-sided affair. While the state sees its efforts for property owners (Chapter 5 b) as being quite useful instruments for achieving a “socioeconomic optimum,” its measures for maintaining wageworkers (Chapter 5 c) strike it as being expenses which detract from the wealth of the nation. By augmenting the common good, that noble abstraction from class antagonisms, the state promotes the interests of the capitalist class. It does not content itself with securing the conditions for capitalist business, but also tries to remove the obstacles to business arising in the course of its own programs of assistance to business. It procures the necessary funds by skillful cutbacks in social programs. It frees the voluntary or involuntary savings of the working class from the fetters of their particular intended purposes and makes them useful for the economy.
Since state intervention in the economy means the submission of the public power to the needs of capital, it also enforces the laws inherent in the accumulation of capital. The state sees to it that the entire monetary wealth of society is transformed into capital, allowing capitalists to accumulate without regard to the limitations of the market. And by contributing mightily to reducing the capacity of the masses to consume, the inevitable crises force it to adapt its economic policy to the business cycle. Business-cycle policy consists in turning the disturbances caused by accumulation into a means for more accumulation. The state overcomes crises by applying its “economic policy instruments” to make investment profitable again. This means not only making gifts to the capitalists but also applying massive doses of morality and force to keep its damaged exploitable citizens in line. The state thus makes up for its powerlessness against the crisis-prone course of accumulation by using power against its victims.
a) Economic growth as the criterion for all state measures
When state power supports the wealth of the nation, upholding the standpoint of the common good against all of its citizens, it forces its people to pursue their purpose of acquiring private wealth by making themselves a means for the wealth of society. The wealth of society therefore proves to be both an abstraction from the needs of citizens and an affirmation of their efforts to exclude others from the wealth that is produced. Since the state makes its business the augmentation of the wealth of society in a private form, its measures are unambiguous acts of support for those citizens whose profession it is to accumulate wealth. This includes the practical critique of those representatives of the capitalist class who do not stand their ground and, not making profits on their own account, make a negative instead of a positive contribution to national accounts. This is how the state acts as the ideal collective capitalist. It asserts the economic interests of the capitalist class apart from this class, since this class pursues its interests itself only in competition.
The state treats the working class in its economic policy as what it is, material for this kind of wealth. Although the state cannot avoid taking the steps necessary for maintaining this class and keeping it useful, it always considers working people’s efforts to be too little and their demands on the state too great. From the point of view of economic policy it is obvious why the state’s social measures, which are tied to all kinds of disciplinary conditions, must be wrested from the state with great difficulty by the workers. The state makes such measures contingent on their usefulness for growth, so its interest in them in strictly negative. Everything the state does in this area is intended to avoid disturbances in the accumulation process which might be caused by unusable workers. Since individual capitalists do not care about such disturbances as long as their own business goes well, the state is compelled to enforce the maintenance of the most important condition for business against the bourgeoisie itself. The state criticizes the competition of the capitalists from the point of view of the class as a whole, restricting this competition when it takes no heed of its own means of existence. On the other hand, it criticizes the class interest of the workers from the point of view of their competition, forcing them to be heedless of themselves, i.e. to cope individually with all the consequences of wage labor, which can only be avoided by conscious refusal of the whole class to continue competing.
When the state subordinates all the tasks it performs as the political subject of the economy to the criterion of economic growth, making all its functions contingent on this goal of economic policy, the reason for the bourgeois state, free competition, coincides directly with its purpose. It becomes the subject, or conscious agent of what this competition is all about, the freedom, not of individuals, but of capital. Every single state decision depends ultimately on its relation to economic growth, and this is also why the state upholds the ideals of competition.
These ideals have a different meaning for citizens who grapple with the wealth of the nation out of their own interest. All citizens expect economic growth to provide them with some economic benefit. Using the identity of the wealth of society and private property as an argument, they demand economic policies from the state to increase their own private wealth. In doing so, one kind of citizen is certain of being a representative of the wealth of the nation, while the other kind defensively moralizes that his contribution to the flourishing of the economy ought for once to be rewarded by something other than forced self-denial.
The disappointed expectations of those competitors excluded from wealth is the principle of revisionist criticism. Revisionists uphold the wealth of the nation against its social form, private property, and accuse the state of impairing the efficiency of the national economy by its one-sided distribution of wealth. They propagate the ideal of a state which makes the exploitation of proletarians more efficient by concentrating economic decisions in its own hands. Revisionism coincides in this point with the criticism of the fascists, who want to sacrifice not only useless workers but also useless capitalists to the unlimited growth of national wealth. Fascists want the state to force society to accumulate without regard for the negative side effects of accumulation.
b) Economic policy and classes
The state, whose economic policy makes it the “motor” of economic development, is not willing to consider its functions positively useful just because they are necessary for the capitalist mode of production. It finds that its efforts dedicated solely to maintaining capital are unproductive expenses, since they secure the augmentation of private property only by depriving it of means to grow. The state therefore measures its performance in using the wealth it has socialized against the effects on the business of private proprietors. It treats its activities as factors of the economy, organizing them in accordance with their usefulness for profits. By converting one group of these functions into economic policy instruments and reducing the rest to a reluctantly carried burden, the state not only gives them the distinctions it is interested in, but also ensures that it, the state, cannot possibly be misused as an economic means for its citizens.
Thus, the state organizes the sphere of scientific research and education with consideration of the momentary needs of trade associations. It provides for mass transportation and telecommunications with its eye on the financial burden they imply for business. It is lax about enforcing all its regulations against ruthless competition. This does not mean it diminishes its independence of the competing capitalists. Rather, it lessens the limits on its own functionality caused by the separation of politics from the economy. It is cautious about wielding its power against private property because of the purpose it pursues with its economic policies. Being intent on augmenting the wealth of society in the form of private property, it uses its power against private proprietors only if this favors the augmentation of private property.
The coerciveness of the compensatory measures the workers must avail themselves of is also due to the state’s economic policy goals. It subordinates any concessions to the working class to its goal of promoting the growth of private property. While thriftiness is called for in its services for the propertied class only in so far as it furthers their interests, it is the dominating principle when it comes to serving the working class. It is the guarantee that the social state the workers need is a means for capital. This is why the state is not very eager to utilize compulsory savings for the benefit of those forced to hand them over, and furthermore demands a high price for its other blessings.
c) The various branches of economic policy
1. To provide money for society, a prerequisite for business activity, the state must not only deprive society of part of its private wealth for its own necessary functions, but also run up a lot of costs. It therefore economizes on the circulation of money by using credit, having credit perform the functions of money in general, not only its limited functions in private business. The state sets up a central bank in order to utilize credit money without interference from private interests. It saves by issuing bank notes instead of minting bullion. Carrying it one step further, it simplifies payments between banks, making further pecuniary resources superfluous.
2. The saving for costs of circulation which the state achieves by guaranteeing the validity of circulating credit notes lowers its expenses and therefore the unproductive costs for capital, but makes no positive contribution to economic growth. The state has even saddled itself with a new institution, a central bank. Although the central bank integrates all the monetary and credit operations of society and sees to the technical administration of the budget (as the “government’s bank”), it is not in itself an instrument supporting economic growth. The state therefore uses the money at the disposal of the central bank in such a way that its employment in private hands serves the economy. It participates as a creditor in the augmentation of private wealth. In its lending operations, however, the central bank serves notice (as the form of credit already does) that the economic benefit of the capitalists is not really identical with that of the state. It takes the trouble to grant credits for reasons of economic policy (credits which no private banker could reconcile with his business plan). Whether the state invests in a corporation or provides private banks with guarantees for extraordinary credit undertakings through the central bank, it always qualifies its own economic benefit from the standpoint of the collective capitalist, making use of the economy only in order to serve it. Just as it declares an enterprise to be indispensable for the national economy by buying an interest in it, it reacts to the needs of capital for credits by determining the bank rate. The way the state deals with its finances is therefore to do all it can to clear up the difficulties that capitalists bring to its attention. Out of its concern for growth it supports private property even when the latter has created bounds for itself in the money market and capital market, in which case the funds collected from the working class prove to be most convenient.
3. Private businesses gladly utilize the wealth of society that the state makes available to them in order to augment their own wealth. They increase their production to the point where the return flow from their capital comes to a halt and it no longer pays to employ workers. When its favorite citizens start suffering from a shortage of orders and problems of liquidity, the state realizes that too much capital has been accumulated. However, it has no interest in taking this inability to pay for what it truly is. Fully committed to the standpoint of the business world, it considers the crisis of capital to be a problem of scarce money, which can also be interpreted as too little willingness to employ credits that are too expensive. The fact that the theoretical formulation of this standpoint involves a host of tautologies does not bother conscientious economic policy-makers. On the contrary, the tautologies of cause and effect inspire them to perform feats of business cycle policy.
Thus, since the state wants to remove the constraints the money market places on the capitalists’ readiness to invest (but not the reason for these constraints), it offers them cheap money through the economic policy instruments of required minimum reserve ratio, the bank rate and government securities. Furthermore, it encourages this cherished readiness by making special offers ranging from investment aid to purchase orders, and granting tax rebates.
4. It provides the necessary funds even when it does not have them. Its interest in growth obliterates any misgivings about the inflationary effects of higher government debt, especially since it can demonstrate its will to save well enough with regard to the part of its budget reserved for social services. Economic policy-makers thus distinguish between “consumer expenditures” and ones which allow capital to make progress, and they even know two ways of lowering their “consumer expenditures.” When the workers’ entitlements to social benefits (unemployment pay, pensions) swell during a recession, the state sees good reason to raise the premiums, increasing their forced saving. And for the legitimate recipients of state support it dictates new, tougher conditions for qualifying. When it claims that the workers’ social contributions are being employed productively this is quite true. But it is not true that their money is only temporarily illiquid. It has become capital and will never again be available for their living expenses, and this also applies to their future contributions. The indebtedness of the state, which is already wisely provided for in the constitution, demands continual exhibition of this kind of thriftiness. The other side of this divergence of revenue from its purpose is the effort to have the working population cover the inevitable cost of social programs by paying continuously rising contributions. This is why the state is also interested in full employment, which strikes it as being a proven remedy for achieving the monetary, or price stability its growth policies destroy.
5. Since full employment is merely a means for growth-promoting measures, it is neither an absolute goal of economic policy nor is it incompatible with unemployment. After all, full employment is officially defined as a certain percentage of unemployed, while an entire “underclass” is not even part of the official statistics. For realistic economic policy-makers, full employment is above all an ideal which one must approach indirectly by fully employing capital. Jobs are available if business can afford them, which firstly turns state support for the necessary investments into the indispensable precondition for jobs. Secondly, these aids make it necessary to remove additional obstacles to the readiness to invest caused by the level of wages. Companies must not only be given money, they must also be able to make their production profitable by a thrifty use of labor. Their profit and loss calculations must improve now so that they will create jobs in the future. The investments of today are the workers’ contribution to their full employment. Workers are subjected to rationalization of the workplace, the use of more labor but fewer workers, which is the goal of the initial investments of capital to overcome a crisis. The unemployed can thus look forward to the “expansionary investments” which come about when the new relationship between wage and output makes it advisable to absorb parts of the reserve army of workers as a means for further growth. The state therefore not only aids in rationalizing the workplace, which it finances through its deficit, but also makes efforts to maintain the social peace which it is always endangering. For the state, it is a necessity of rational business cycle policy to make labor struggle a matter of rights and duties.
6. In pursuing its economic policy as business cycle policy, the state has adapted itself to the fact that its intervention does not avoid crises but carries them through. It consciously plays its part as a servant of an economy which is free, and performs its measures as a submission to the cycle of capital. What it wants is the functioning of the free market economy, with all its manifestations so rich in conflicts. It knows that when it helps overcome a crisis it paves the way not only for the next boom but also for the next depression. That is why it is not out to reduce its budget deficit as a purpose in itself but in order to preserve its function. Even in boom times the state steers competition in accordance with the necessities of competition. This is a contradiction in terms which all its cyclical measures during this phase testify to.
- When capital’s demand for credit increases in an expansion period the state sees fit to limit the money market. It notices that its support to further the recovery has led not only to price increases but also to a “loss of monetary stability,” indicated by the credit volume of the banks. Its relief about its improved budget vanishes in face of the consequences of the recovery which announce its end. Unlike the capitalists, who try to benefit the best they can from the easy business conditions, the state becomes concerned about the indispensable workability of the financial system, which is about to be ruined by the industrial capitalists. The state makes the latter give up part of their wealth in order to preserve monetary stability, i.e. it forces them to take account of the precondition for their business in the interests of continuing it. By canceling its “policy of easy money” the state only introduces the crisis, but this is the way to make sure the crisis runs its course in a manner appropriate for a means of capital. The state’s order of the day is to limit accumulation, since if it were to continue unrestrained its interruption would ruin the conditions under which it could continue at all.
- Because the state makes it its duty to inform the capitalists in practice that they have prepared the next crisis, it also demands that they give up part of their profits in addition to the usual taxes in times of boom for the purpose of overcoming the inevitable crisis. “Countercyclical reserves” in Germany and similar taxes elsewhere are a compulsory insurance for the capitalists’ future business. Unlike the workers’ social insurance, it really does offer some security since the state may only spend this money for this one purpose.
- The state warns the workers not to take advantage of the rising demand for labor during the recovery, i.e. not to undo the nasty consequences of rationalization. However, since the competition between capitalists promotes such senseless uneconomic thinking among the workers, the state sees to it that wages cannot be simply squandered for personal consumption. Increased buying is undesirable in times when buying power is somewhat improved. It is expected to make room for individual precautions for the inevitable hard times to come. For economic policy-makers, the virtue of buying is not to buy at all, but to save! The only problem is that this virtue cannot be depicted as an advantage for those who are supposed to practice it. The state therefore gives material incentives for saving.
7. Every bourgeois state implements economic policy in this manner. In other words, the state acknowledges that the growth of private wealth inevitably involves disturbances and strives to turn them into a positive basis for securing this growth. Since the state’s “countercyclical measures” are reactions to the endangerment of free competition arising from free competition itself, the state also demonstrates with its economic policy that its abstract principles (Chapters 1 to 4), which serve to secure the form of competition by force, are means by which the state brings the purpose of competition to bear against the barriers inherent in this competition. Separated from society, the state forces the accumulation of capital upon society, using its power to assert the purpose of the actions performed by the active participants of the capitalist mode of production without their knowing this purpose.
The goal of policy is the accumulation of capital. The state forces both private proprietors and those excluded from private property to earn a living by utilizing each other in competition. In this way they augment private property by using their sources of income and pursuing their own interests. The state thus relates positively to the conflicts of competition and the antagonisms between the classes, but also negatively to all competitive efforts which hinder the productive cooperation of the participants in the process of production. It does not prevent conflicts from arising in the course of the business cycle. Rather, it is only concerned that all the mutual damage pays off. The state regulates the destruction of labor-power and capital in a way which guarantees their productive use.
- Whether it formulates its economic legislation in such a way that the competition between banking and industrial capital takes forms which are useful for both, or takes control, etc., to act as the regulating advocate for the particular capitalists in danger at the moment, it always tries to minimize the risk the “free market economic system” takes when competition runs wild. In any case the state shows understanding for a basic law of capitalism, namely, that the accumulation of wealth regularly demands sacrifices to maintain the form of this wealth.
- Whether it puts a legal corset on the labor struggle to ensure that trade unions function as a means for competition among the workers, or enlists the cooperation of trade union leaders for its economic policies; whether it leaves self-help to the victims’ own charity organizations or plays social state, it always betrays the secret of all economic policy. The antagonisms between the capitalists themselves can only be resolved profitably if the state succeeds in accustoming those whose source of income is their labor-power to the fact that this source of income is rotten. Such things as codetermination, wage contracts in tune with the business cycle, and the struggle for political recognition of the unions all demonstrate the success of the state’s moral attacks preaching moderation, the riskiness of life, economic sense, goodbye to materialism and hello to your industrial “partner,” etc.
d) Historical remarks
If the state’s dependence on the wealth of the nation forces it to employ its resources to augment private property, economic policy developed out of its efforts to compensate for the loss of its own economic potency by promoting society’s economic progress, which it also participates in. The state had to subject its traditional methods of preserving power to the criterion of the accumulation of wealth. It was not enough to utilize the resources taken from society, i.e. taxes, for furthering productive property. It had to further organize all its activities in accordance with their economic effects. This was made clear to the state by the loss of its role as an economic actor and the negative effects of its ensuing reckless attempts to enrich itself. The cyclical convulsions of the business cycle also forced it to become the political subject of the economy for the sake of its own self-preservation, and to make itself the advocate of accumulation by its reactions.
The growing need for credit on the part of productive capitalists (for industrialization) accustomed the state to the necessity of providing a legal framework for speculation in stocks. It also became used to making its money available, directly and indirectly, for profitable business ventures whose gains became the object of further speculation. The conflicts between productive capital and money capital, in pursuit of their own economic advantage, damaged both groups and therefore also the economy as a whole. This induced the state early on to settle the dispute in favor of productive capital, and to institute its own bank as a means of maintaining the functions of credit. Experience with the periodic cycles of business and the permanent effects of its own debt also familiarized it with the inevitability of sacrificing both society’s and its own wealth as a means for growth, and suggested that the workers’ economic resources are excellently suited for this purpose. It therefore took care to arrange its concessions to the workers in such a way that they serve the economy and obligate the workers to keep social peace, which the state has realized to be the basic precondition for unimpaired cyclical growth.
e) Ideologies, both scientific and popular
1. The practical difficulties faced by the state as it attempted to master the economic contradictions of its society gave rise to the science of economics. Economics is the bourgeois science par excellence, the first science of the state, both logically and historically. It therefore illustrates how the state’s interest in social processes both arouses and then destroys any interest in explaining them.
Since wealth exists in capitalist society in the form of private property, which is known to be exclusive, the starting point for economists is not wealth but the scarcity of goods. The “learned interpreters of common knowledge” speak of the factors of production which, apart from being available only to a limited degree, also have the peculiarity that they go together like “lawyer’s fees, beets, and music” (Marx). This does not bother economists, who are only interested in the usefulness of these fine factors. Microeconomics is devoted to equating every economic category with the benefit which its representatives or its owners can draw from using it. Money is when you buy something, and it’s as much as you can buy with it, which you can’t do without money, because everything has a price, which it would be too much trouble to set without money. Land cannot be increased at will, but capital can if you don’t spend it. The cost of a commodity, a square meter or capital depends on the price they fetch. And so on. Macroeconomics considers all this once again, asking to what extent all the small elements of economic life lead to results corresponding to the state’s desire for growth. Growth theorists dream up models combining the factors of growth in such a way that there are no disturbances, which is why these remain models, their lack of realism being supposedly due to the unpredictability of human saving, consumption and investment habits. General equilibrium theory explicitly adopts the idealistic point of view of avoiding all the nasty economic disproportions, and gets advice from the theory of income since it regards the attainment of its ideal as a distribution problem. So it is not surprising that when economists try to explain the crises which they are so sorry to find in their highly esteemed capitalist mode of production, their crowning accomplishment is their theory of business cycles. Citing the results of all their other theories, they reach the conclusion that the disgusting ups and downs of the economy cannot be caused by anything in the economy. The list of parties to be blamed for messing up the only humanly adequate way of solving economic problems includes both human nature itself and sunspots. There is only one way out, namely for the state to implement economic policy, i.e. protect prices, money, equilibrium, etc., from being destroyed. Every single branch of economics arrives at the important conclusion that even the most insignificant aspect of economic life, once it has been explained in circles by competition, requires the government’s protective hand. In their stupidity economists speak the truth about the condition for their existence. They say their theories are worth nothing unless the state ensures the continuing existence of the objects they do not explain but glorify.
The real theoretical achievements of economics are a thing of the past. They were made when the capitalist mode of production was asserting itself over the previous one. In those days, truth was an instrument for promoting the interest in capitalism, which was expressed polemically against the ruling classes of precapitalist society. Smith and Ricardo upheld capitalism using explanations of value, capital, etc., and Ricardo got into theoretical difficulties whenever he realized that his esteem for the new mode of production did not fit well with the explanation of it. But he did not simply abandon the explanation in favor of his wish for capital’s success in practice. The accusation of being a communist was not long in coming (see the remarks throughout Marx’ Theories of Surplus-Value, and Capital I, “Afterword to the Second German Edition.”) The spread of modern economics therefore made the science fit its function.
2. Since the state’s economic measures act against all citizens, i.e. criticize in practice both the competitive interests of capital and those of the workers, there is no dearth of ideological trimmings to justify its actions. Although these notions are the basis for all kinds of civic objections, they can by no means count on unconditional approval from any one of the hostile camps of citizens. The fundamental agreement to be had in disputes between the state and its citizens as long as they relate to abstract spheres, cannot be had here because economic policy is not merely a matter of principle but affects people’s material interests. While the state and its agents never tire of spreading the word that its measures only seem to be directed against citizens, the latter refuse to see that the state’s actions are in their favor.
The economic technicians first stress that economic policy is terribly difficult because it has to wrestle with conflicting goals. They lament that economic policy “in a market economy system should contribute at the same time to the stability of prices, a high level of employment and equilibrium in foreign trade while ensuring steady and adequate economic growth.” The state declares the unpopular effects of its powerful intervention for competition to be the consequence of its powerlessness. It recalls that it only wants to react to arbitrariness, and accuses various segments of its population of having no economic sense depending on the phase of the business cycle, whereby one group is inevitably mentioned. The state always knows who or what to blame for the fact that the people do not get everything they want. As for itself, it claims to be the only one far and wide to be interested in a balance of interests. The necessity of the state continuing as before is proclaimed by the authority of science, which has long since adopted the state’s point of view and makes forecasts to justify its measures. In the end, the conditions under which it reaches its goal are portrayed as a natural law, whose real force is disguised by the cloak of science.
Citizens do not take the state’s reproach lying down. They show economists that they also master their method of arguing. Of course, the citizens’ metamorphosis into economic policy advisors, representing their interests as the common good, has quite different practical consequences depending on whose interests are involved. Whereas the state cannot fail to agree in principle with the capitalists’ various proofs that workers’ demands are a great hindrance to growth, it simply cannot believe the unions’ claim that management is the side to blame for the lack of harmony.
- Entrepreneurs and their associations always find the taxes they have to pay too high. That is why they are forever trying to show the state how bad their taxes are for their ability to compete abroad, and how disastrous the consequences are for price stability. Taxes are naturally also one reason why they cannot provide jobs (their actual social calling according to all), since the state always deals with money and credit exactly opposite to the way it should. They inevitably criticize a state measure for its bad timing. It would have been right for the economy during the last phase of the cycle, but now it is harmful. Finally, they summarize their critique to the effect that the state’s best policy would be to keep out, by which they mean it would promote their business best by unconditionally supporting it instead of interfering with it. They are not necessarily averse to state measures to steer labor struggles, for instance. But they always accuse the state of spending too much money on welfare nonsense, giving the trade unions too much freedom and allowing them to set off the wage-price spiral, a mechanism extremely harmful for the economy, which the state sometimes even tries to counteract by assaulting not wages but the freedom to set prices. Instead of sensibly setting the guidelines for economic development together with the qualified representatives of the common good, namely, employers’ associations, it has the impudence to ask trade unions what kind of growth they would like to have. It turns into a trade unionist state, sacrificing economic sense to the extortionists on the class struggle front. Furthermore, it does not content itself with granting collective bargaining rights, which cause uncounted dangers to growth. It actually considers democratizing the economy, a thoroughly Marxist idea, and plants codetermination committees in the factories which, without bearing any responsibility of their own, are out to decide how to use other people’s property.
- By contrast, the trade unions’ attitude toward the alternatives of economic policy look extremely positive. When employers’ associations proclaim the identity of their interests with the common good, they criticize the state for not doing enough for the capitalists and thereby not furthering the economy properly. When trade unions become critical they accuse the state of not taking proper advantage of the workers’ interests for the economy. They adopt the point of view of economic policymakers, saying they are in agreement with them, and start submitting proposals for improvement on the basis of a harmony between state goals and trade union goals. They react to the biased forecasts from the state’s advisors by squandering their strike funds presenting more optimistic predictions from their own experts. They regard their members’ wages as economically important buying power, and therefore make a case for an optimum distribution of income, flatly denying any contradiction between wage costs and growth. They continually conjure up the possibility of harmony between management and labor, which the state must also be after with its program for social peace. This lie is the basis for the unions’ “threats” that they cannot maintain their loyalty toward economic development if their warnings are always ignored. In order to stop being forced to make such unreasonable wage demands, they ask for codetermination in all state decisions, if possible, and make one offer after the other about how trade union regulations could spread out the damage their members must inevitably bear for the sake of the common good. They ask the state to pass laws which make the workers appreciate the sense of saving under the guidance of the unions, because this helps save wages, and even indulge in slight transgressions in terms of the direction of capital investment since they recognize continuous growth as a condition for full employment. They deny, rightly but unsuccessfully, the accusation of being communists, which they are supposed to be because they want to have a say in economic growth. The ideal of harmony which the unions cherish does not differ from the one the state has. But the state uses this ideal for itself and the capitalists, while the unions propagate it for interests it is not designed for. Their demand for just treatment of the workers is a kind of criticism which not only submits to political necessities but even asks specifically for this submission. The joint implementation of economic necessities is the basis for trade unionist nationalism.
- Fascists are distinguished by their desire to realize the ideal class state, which regards the business of the different classes as equally “valuable” as long as it is carried out properly as a service to the whole nation. They criticize competition because of the disturbances it causes in the growth of national wealth. For them, the task of the state is to secure wealth by forcibly establishing the harmony which private property lacks, by deciding itself instead of letting competition decide, and commanding growth even when exploitation is no longer worth it for private property.
- The revisionists of communism have a different goal. This is to realize the ideal social state, to socialize private property in favor of the victims of exploitation. They would obligate the state to control competition, which should take place for the state. This requires the abolition of capitalists (their functions are taken over by state employees) but is still based on exploitation of the workers. The revisionist revolution, which is known to begin with anti-monopolistic democracy, initially makes use of capital for the state in order to benefit the workers. It ends up using only the workers, whose existence the state guarantees. Revisionists have enriched economic theory by the ideology of state monopoly capitalism, while in their economic policy they uphold state monopoly proletarianism.