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December 20, 2006

Comments

zenpundit

Hi John,

A few points:

Tom is not a neocon. Nor do neocons do not buy into Tom's emphasis on the primacy of economic connectivity; if they did, the neocons would not be pushing so hard for war with Iran.

Adam Smith, which I infer you are using as shorthand for globalization of free market capitalism, was cast as a "revolutionary" force by Marx, Schumpeter etc. etc. a long time ago. The free market is not a conservative force in terms of its effects on social relations. That's why the reaction against it is so virulent by social conservatives the world over be they Pat Buchanan or Osama bin Laden.

The rentier classes in a national/global market are usually a product of law or extralegal force or a combination of both. That rentiers seek to establish special pleading exceptions for themselves in an otherwise capitalist market is of course, true. However, rentiers also exist(ed) in fundamentally anticapitalist, precapitalist and in failed states where their position is(was) the norm.

The destructive centrifugal political/social drivers that are undoing nation-states coexist with centripetal economic market forces that are tying networks together across and within borders. It isn't an either-or situation but rather
" both".Sometimes in opposition to one other, sometimes in tandem.

John Robb

I didn't say Tom is a Neocon, but rather that they use similar methods. In truth, I think the distinction between the two is rather esoteric.

In regards to Adam Smith, I see his influence in this conflict as neutral. He aides both sides.

Although rentiers exist in numerous other venues, the scale is several orders of magnitude greater within the context discussed above.

zenpundit

"I think the distinction between the two is rather esoteric"

Tom probably feels differently. So might Richard Perle.

"In regards to Adam Smith, I see his influence in this conflict as neutral. He aides both sides."

Agreed.

"Although rentiers exist in numerous other venues, the scale is several orders of magnitude greater within the context discussed above"

Agree and disagree. Depends how you are using " scale".

Obviously the magnitude of economic activity is far larger now. On the other hand, whole national economies were once rentier-controlled by design (ancien regime France, quasi-autarkic statist economies of the 1930's-1980's)rather than existing as noxious exceptions.

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