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Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Other Capitalism

Posted by on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 4:58 PM

From HuffPost, more bad news for the GOP:

In seven short years, the American electorate has radically changed, as voters' priorities have shifted to the economy and away from such wedge issues as abortion and gay rights, as well as away from the threat of terrorism and from the war in Iraq, according to a comprehensive survey released Thursday morning by the Pew Research Center.

From 2002 to 2009, voters' partisan identification has moved from virtual parity — 43 percent Republican and 43 percent Democratic at the height of George W. Bush's popularity in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 — to a massive Democratic advantage today of 53 to 36, a 17 percentage point split, by far the largest difference in the past two decades.

I could not help but notice a connection between the shift mentioned at the beginning of this article, a shift from hollow wedge issues to substantial economic ones, and an older notion about the cosmopolitan effects of capitalism. This notion goes all the way back to 1730s, to Voltaire's description of the London Stock Exchange.

Go into the London Stock Exchange — a more respectable place than many a court — and you will see representatives from all nations gathered together for the utility of men. Here Jew, Mohammedan and Christian deal with each other as though they were all of the same faith, and only apply the word infidel to people who go bankrupt.
This cosmopolitan side of early capitalism—which, with the Scientific Revolution and the French Revolution, transformed Europe and established a long-lasting belief in limitless progress—a bit of this older and progressive capitalism can be seen in the current melting of wedge issues by economic concerns.


Comments (5) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
Um, you do know London is a hotbed of active al-Qaeda cells, don't you?

Remember the tube bombings?
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 21, 2009 at 5:12 PM · Report this
seandr 2
Charles! You surprised me. Nice.
Posted by seandr on May 21, 2009 at 5:18 PM · Report this
lark 3
I read that excerpt from Voltaire in the Wall Street Journal a week or so ago. Way cool. I really like Voltaire.

"We must cultivate our garden" end of Candide.
Great stuff.
Posted by lark on May 21, 2009 at 5:37 PM · Report this
Yup, that's The Way We Were.

Um, Obama gives major historical speech today taking on senate democrats and talking to American's fear machine, and Slog has no comment?
Instead, rambling notes on capitalism in the 18th century and name dropping the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and trying to tie that to current politics, ineptly.

Apparently Slog no longer interested in Obama. Too disillusioned, because of broken promises and backtracking? He's not cool anymore? Not as left as was hoped??

Posted by PC on May 21, 2009 at 5:40 PM · Report this
Capitalism is hard work.

Most people don't like hard work.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 21, 2009 at 6:13 PM · Report this

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