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Recessions: Right or Left?

Doug Henwood in Socialist Webzine:

For a long time, I’ve been critical of the left-wing penchant for economic crisis. Many radicals have fantasized that a serious recession—or depression—would lead to mass radicalization, as scales simultaneously fell from millions of pairs of eyes and the imperative of transcending capitalism became self-evidently obvious. I’ve long thought that was nonsense, and now there’s empirical support for my position.

In his column on May 17, Paul Krugman cites research by Markus Brückner and Hans Peter Grüner showing that recessions boost the vote for extreme right-wing and nationalist parties. As Krugman argues, this helps explain the rise of the Tea Partiers and other strange life forms on the right. Of course, such critters are never far from the surface in American political life—but they do seem more salient these days.

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2 Comments

  1. MN Indy MN Indy July 27, 2010

    There’s a lot of truth to that. People are also more inclined to go right/nationalist when a left leaning government is stupid enough to bring in an expensive healthcare system and move up all the income tax brackets DURING a recession, as they are doing.

    Maybe more people are also seeing through the left’s “tax the rich” rhetoric. We all know the income tax in this country started as a tax on the wealthy that would supposedly never affect the whole population. Any income tax aimed at “the rich” inevitably becomes a feudal extraction from everyone.

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