Bad Godesberg: the nationalization debate

First insertion on Heterodox Gazette Sam de Wolff: 28 august 2013

E.A. Bakkum is a blogger for the Sociaal Consultatiekantoor. He loves to reflect on the labour movement.

In the past decades the central planning of the economy has become suspect. That was not always the case. Originally the social-democracy has pleaded in favour of collective property. Here the German SPD has done pioneering work. Already in 1891 the programme of Erfurt wanted to nationalize notably the oligopolies. However, three quarters of a century later, in the programme of Bad Godesberg (1959), the SPD preferred a surprising new ideological orientation. The doctrine of nationalization was relaxed, and in fact abandoned. This raises the question, why the political preference had changed. The question is especially pressing, because nationalizations seem to be economic improvements. The present column sums up some of the facts.

The information in this column about the ideas in the SPD is taken notably from the books of the social-democrats R. Löwenthal, D. Klink and H. Deist1. The books of Klink and Deist date from the Godesberg period (1959), and therefore have a different perspective than Löwenthal. Valuable background information about the plan-ideology until the Second Worldwar has been obtained from the book of the Dutch economist Ed. van Cleeff2. Van Cleeff is a traditional christian democrat. Especially the historical induction in the first part of his book is relevant for the present column.

In Europe the twentieth century has seen a revival of the intervening state. Of course the idea of the central planning has historical roots, that go back a long way. Her origin can be attributed to the socialists, who thus want to end the chaos and exploitation on the capitalist market. Nationalizations form a common part of these ideas. This column wants to analyse how political aspects influenced the debate about the planned economy.

The nature of the analysis is complex. For simultaneously with this development the democratic state has gained terrain, at least in Europe. This introduction of democracy met resistance, notably from the Jacobin movements, which try to establish a political dictature. Thus there was a double struggle: the one for the active state, and the one for the democracy. Jacobin groups agitated both within the liberals and the socialists. Against the England of Attlee there is the Soviet Union of Lenin. And against the America of Kennedy there is the Chile of Pinochet.

Therefore it is difficult to estimate whether the historical experiences require a political explanation, or an economic one. Especially in a political analysis a subjective interpretation is unavoidable. Here the development of the social-democratic discourse will be outlined broadly. That is to say, the starting point is, that the idea of economic interventions by the active state can be traced back to the social-democracy. Notably the ideas of the German social-democracy are followed, as represented by the SPD, because they were leading for the early theories about planning.

Incidentally in the modern social-democratic circles itself the ideas of nationalization and planning are controversial. The French social-democracy has been most loyal to the original ideas. In general the French ideologists state that these ideas have been questioned first at the SPD Congress of 1959 in Bad Godesberg. There a programme was approved, which has social liberal characteristics3. The logical question is why the SPD has made such a rigourous turn. Are the planning and the nationalization of enterprises indeed outdated for technical and cultural reasons? The present column will study the development, both from an economic and political-historical perspective.

Economists about central planning

First the theory: the common economic literature rejects the planned economy for three reasons4: first, in the planned economy the supply is too one-sided. The consumer has little choice from various types. Incidentally this has an advantage. Namely, thus cost-savings can be realized in the mass production. Second, the central planning agency can not process all information, which is needed in order to make sound decisions. And third, the plan will be sabotaged by the lower executing agencies in the hierarchy.

The conclusiveness of these objections looks not very impressive. What is the principal difference between the information management of a public planning agency and a transnational enterprise? In cases where the acquisition of information fails, decentralization is possible. Sabotage of targets will undoubtedy occur. That is a part of human nature, and has its merits. But why would large private organizations suffer less from this?

More interesting are the conclusions of the Leninist economist Eva Müller, who was a leading official in the East-German planning organization. She criticizes mainly the lack of flexibility in the planned economy. The production system has insufficient mechanisms for adaptation, so that excesses and shortages can not be eliminated. Especially the process- and product-innovations derail the total production, because their consequences are difficult to foresee. Therefore the planning agencies are inclined to avoid those innovations.

Indeed a planned economy is risk-averse. Also the West-German economist Wagener calls this her greatest weakness5. Entrepreneurs have difficulty in forcing through their initiatives, because they are thwarted by the planning agencies. When the planned economy has open borders, then the entrepreneurs will leave and settle down in states with more economic freedom. Yet also the experiences of Müller are not the definite refutation of economic planning. The mentioned rigidity is to a large extent caused by the dogmatic Leninist system, which suppresses all deviating ideas, because it sees them as an existential threat. In the following paragraphs the importance of the spirit of enterprise will be studied in more detail.

Politics: awakening

Next the question arises how the political perspective on the nationalizations has developed. This has a long history, which can be divided in roughly four phases. The story starts in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century: then the society is morally and practically bankrupt, because the late-feudal or absolute rule does no longer meet the demands. In that period the socio-political system has also become petrified and outdated. The situation is unbearable to such an extent, that revolutions are the best solution for a change of power. In this way the bourgeoisie succeeds in claiming her political place in the system. She pleads in favour of an extreme liberalism. But the proletariat, the labour class, remains in a subdued position. Therefore the proletariat is forced to develop its own revolutionary ideal.

The intensification of the division of labour in the eighteenth is followed in the nineteenth century by an enormous concentration of activity. The accumulation of capital perseveres, and leads to the establishment of the large-scale industry. New forms of property emerge, such as the stock company. The liberal economy develops inhumane characteristics and defends the laissez faire, laissez aller ideology. The most repulsive form of this system is indeed the Manchester capitalism. The entrepreneurs turn out to abandon all social or cooperative feelings. The ethical leaders start to realize, that this capitalism does not have a future.

The already existing idea of the collective property nestles in wide layers of the population, but evidently mainly in the proletariat. Nationalizations are a socialization of the production. Thus the exploitation of the workers could be prevented. The democracy must not be restricted to politics, but she must incorporate the economy. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels provide the social-democracy with a political-economical analysis. According to them the proletariat will constantly grow in size, and moreover it will impoverish. This recipe, the formation of a large majority of dissatisfied people, guarantees that the social-democracy will be victorious6.

Politics: buildup

In the programme of Erfurt (1891) the SPD indeed makes the political demand of the nationalization. Klink notices, that the nationalizations do more than merely end the economic exploitation. Namely, they also eliminate the social class structure, and thus soften the social conflicts. The programme of Erfurt demands for economic planning in order to bridle the conjuncture7.

Indeed in practice the social-democracy gains a remarkable political support, as the most motivated protagonist of the interests of the workers. She establishes organizations, which make preparations for a rapid change of power and the expropriation of private capital. The speakers of the workers are ideologically formed in order to be able to take conscious political actions. The trade unions start to grow impetuously. Incidentally, there are not merely social-democratic unions, but christian ones as well. It is not a coincidence, that in this period of purposive organization the anarchist ideology decays.

Photo of DGB poster
Figure 1: consumers cooperation

It is also the period of the establishment of various insurance companies for covering the unemployment and illness. Besides many social-democratic publishers and newspapers are formed. This economic activity strenghtens the conviction, that workers can be managers in an alternative economic system. There are lively experiments with the forming of workers cooperatives. Sometimes they are viable, notably when they must compete with the small industries. But it turns out, that they do not really have a competitive advantage. It becomes clear, that social-democratic enterprises must also be efficient. The social-democracy starts to appreciate the small industries.

Moreover the knowledge of the production techniques and organization (scientific management) increases to such an extent, that the workers collectives can no longer be entrusted with it. The company hierarchy with a central command becomes indispensable8. In the era of the colonialism the global empires collide, in their search for new markets. The social-democracy shifts from a criticism on private enterprise in the general sense to a criticism on the power concentrations of the oligopolies. The high finance becomes the new enemy9.

The social-democracy acknowledges the necessity of the concentration and the increased scales. They yield a more effective production. Therefore the social-democracy does not object to the formation of trusts and cartels. In this respect she differs from the liberalism. The evil houses in the abuse of power, which expresses itself by price manipulations and by the exploitation of other branches (by shifting costs to them). Therefore in the really monopolized branches the state must take over the management of the enterprises. Only the state can take into account the general interest in the management10.

At the same time the social-democracy revises her expectations of the future, thanks to the efforts of the revisionist Bernstein. She concludes that the size of the proletariat stabilizes, and that it shares in the growing wealth. She realizes, that the political victory is not an automatism11. In 1914 the European social-democracy experiences a severe set-back. Her own adherents, the proletariat, abolish the rebellion against the warmongers, and is carried away by the nationalist sentiments.

The end of the war in 1918 creates favourable conditions for the revolution, certainly in the overcome states. There the social-democracy establishes administrative institutions, the so-called labour councils, which already in 1905 were a large success in Russia. Yet it turns out that the social-democracy is still not popular and powerful enough for the revolutionary coup d'etat. Even the introduction of the representative democracy in 1919 does not enable her parties to obtain the majority. The middle class and the peasantry dislike the nationalization of property.

Politics: revisionism

The revolutionary chances decrease rapidly. As a consequence of this disillusion the social-democratic leaders start to doubt their own ideology of the collapsing capitalism. Henceforth the class struggle is explained as a process of emancipation and awakening. The instrument of the revolution is definitively abolished, because thanks to the new democratic rights the will of the people can be expressed in a peaceful manner. This implies a silent rupture with the popular movement, because the parlementary group transforms from a mouthpiece into a political mediator12.

In Russia the Leninists, a group of Jacobin socialists, conquer already in 1917 the power by means of force, with the help of the farm workers. The party establishes a dictature, and introduces a planned economy, partly perforce due to the (civil) wars. The state has as its future aim the complete nationalization. The apparent success of the Leninists creates a split in the labour movement. Many Leninist secessions emerge in the social-democracy. The social-democratic parties and the new Leninist parties become mutually alienated, especially when outside the Soviet Union the latter ones degenerate into marionettes. The fascination for the economic experiment is overshadowed by the horror of the political terror.

In the western states the social-democracy experiences even in her parliamentary efforts more resistance than had been expected. She can not mobilize sufficient political support for the complete nationalization of the large-scale industry, or even of separate branches13. It is clear that the bourgeoisie offers a vigorous resistance. And the proletariat demands for more wealth, but not necessarily for socializations and nationalizations. That is a problem for the social-democracy, which has the ambition to conquer the political rule.

Photo of SPD poster
Figure 2: elections

In an attempt to offer still a credible political alternative the stand is taken, that planning is possible without nationalizations. Henceforth the social-democracy preaches up the intent to break the monopoly power and democratize the state. Also the establishment of the workers councils (in the German language: Betriebs-rat) reduces the need for nationalizations, because they allow to resist exploitation in their own way14.

Van Cleeff points out, that the idea of an economical order becomes popular in the period 1914-1932. The order implies the formation of bodies and agencies, which coordinate the economical actions. Van Cleeff presents in his book a detailed description of the various national planning system15. The socialist propaganda and the social-democratic successes of the past decades have contributed to a growing acceptance of the planning approach. In various European states the ideological climate is favourable to such an extent, that the state takes indeed up the control of the economy. In Italy and later in Germany fascist regimes establish corporative structures. In the papal encyclical letters (mainly Quadragesimo Anno) the corporatism is recommended. Also the New Deal policy of the North-American president Roosevelt has been called a form of planning.

The social-democracy still believes, that the regular economical crises will enhance her electorat (notably the working class). In 1929 a crushing depression begins16. But against the marxist expectations the voters move to the extremist parties (fascists and Leninists) instead of to the social-democracy17. In the fascism the planning is controled by the monopoly capital and by the state bureaucracy. The social-democracy must observe how the tightly planned economy creates discomfort and alienation. Large groups of people feel restricted in their personal freedom. In democratic states a strong resistance against nationalizations remains present. That undermines the social-democratic argument of the freedom by planning.

After the Second World War the political climate for the social-democratic political alternative is very favourable. The planned economies of the Leninism and of the fascism have made impressive war achievements. The other states have also established many planning agencies during the war. In England a socialist government starts profound reforms. Scandinavia and New Zealand also get socialist governments18. The national economies become intertwined, and supra-national organizations are founded. Henceforth the planning must occur at the continental level. That restricts the opportunities for social-democratic parties, who are organized at the national level. In the beginning some people hope that a European socialist order will soon be realized19.

The social mobility improves, so that the tensions diminish. The management becomes separated from the capital. Since the power shifts from the stockholders to the management class, the nationalization makes less sense. The social-democracy wants to get round the new management class. That class itself is not social-democratic, but she is open to democratic decision procedures, and thus controlable20. In 1946 Löwenthal (and the SPD as well) still wants to buy all private monopolies and pay by means of government stocks. But he would prefer to break the monopoly power without nationalizations. He proposes a central plan, which broadly outlines the investments and the income distribution.

The party congress (Partei-tag) in Hannover (1946) wants to begin with the nationalization of the winning of raw materials, because this plays a strategic role. Moreover, those branches have the character of monopolies, and they are crucial for the economic planning. Here the nationalization means the transfer into public property (which apparently is not equal to state property)21. An advantage of planning by social-democrats is the full employment. Also Löwenthal believes that it is possible to control the conjuncture. It is remarkable that he does not fear the rise of the bureaucracy, and apparently wants to transform the monopolies into state enterprises22. A decade later Deist will make a more negative judgement - although the situation has not profoundly changed.

Politics: conformism

Unfortunately the German social-democracy experiences the negative after-effects of twelve years of repression and persecution. Besides the SPD leaders have become distrustful of their own people. The people's will turns out to take on grotesque forms. And several aspects of the particular German after-war conditions are unfavourable for the SPD. First, the occupation of Germany by the victors harms the social-democracy, because she furthers nationalism. This unites the people, whereas the social-democracy has the mission to put the conflicts of interest on the order paper.

Photo of SPD poster
Figure 3: national notion

Furthermore, the armies of occupation did not really sympathize with the social-democratic programme of nationalization. The Allied Powers block various attempts of the federal states under a social-democratic government to realize their programmes. At least as troublesome is the emergence of the Cold War. It forces the social-democracy to take oppose firmly to the Leninists, more than is justified by the ideological differences. The debate polarizes23. In the background the grave conflict between the FRG and the GDR will have played a role, because West-Germany needed the support of the American army.

The only remaining planned economy, in Leninist Russia, performs reasonably well, and sometimes realizes outstanding achievements, notably in space travel. But in general the planning does not exhibit the advantages, which originally had been expected by the social-democrats. The broad enthusiasm for planning in the thirties fades away24. It turns out that the workers are hardly better off in the new Leninist planned economies. A striking example: in East-Germany the labour-norms are puffed up in an obligatory manner, which in fact amounts to a declining salary. In the clashes during the strikes from June 17, 1953 dozens of people are killed, including a handful of police officers. The Leninist planned economies suffer from a massive emigration of citizens, mainly the well-educated ones, to the capitalist market economies25.

In the post-war years Europe experiences an unprecedented economic growth. There is full employment and the workers see the wellfare rise by leaps and bounds. Besides the increased vertical mobility guarantees chances for a successful carreer to everyone. This makes the task of the social-democracy more difficult, because the people see less reason for economic reforms26. At the end of the fifties the political leaders of the German social-democracy are fed up with their role in the opposition. Moreover, a new generation of politicians has emerged, which is less sensitive for the ideology. She finally wants to rise to power. In order to reach this goal a programme is designed and approved, which has clear social-liberal characteristics: the programme of Godesberg.

Photo of SPD poster
Figure 4: perspective

So the programme of Godesberg is actually a bid for power, which also challenges the dominating German christian-democracy. It is significant, that merely the energy branch (including the unprofitable coalpits) is marked for nationalization. This is partly motivated by the protection of employment27. The programme is not enthusiastic about the Keynesian stimulation of the economy. It tries to get closer to the social liberalism of the economic School of Freiburg (Walter Eucken). Besides the social-democratic demand for democracy in the economy, it is stated that people must keep their economic freedom28.

Deist, who has drafted the economic paragraphs in the programme of Godesberg, is an adherent of private property, also in the oligopolies. Here he does want to limit the property rights, in those cases where actions are irresponsible. In particular he believes in competitive markets. He is convinced, that the consumers will benefit by them. Therefore it is the task of the state to curb the market power. According to Deist nationalizations are merely useful in stagnant branches, where the private production fails29. The management of the nationalized enterprises must be handed over to mixed councils, with representatives of the executive, the workers and independent experts. The council replaces the shareholder assembly. Deist states that they must be democratic bodies with self-government, and he rejects the direct control by the state30.

Seen from an economic-scientific point of view the policy change is not necessary. There is no objective reason to give up the nationalizations and the planned economy. It is a political-opportunist choice of the SPD, which had suffered from ideological dislocation and political set-backs. As such the programme can not be understood as a spiritual liberation, but it is more a dictate due to the unfortunate circumstances. In 1962 the SPD abandons even the nationalization of the energy branch. According to Deist it no longer plays a crucial role31. Klink states, that henceforth the SPD must propagate a social-ethical programme. Indeed in 1966 the SPD can finally form a "Great Coalition" with the CDU, thanks to the new course. But at the international level the German social-democracy moves into an isolated position.

For instance the English Labour Party maintains the original course, at least until the emergence of the Third Way movement in 1997. Still in 1982 the French Socialist Party of Mitterrand gets in power and subsequently forces through the original course. Complete branches of the big industries are nationalized, and they will remain so for many years32. Interesting are also the successes of the Asian states (South-Corea, perhaps Japan) with corporate systems. In the Netherlands the privatizations, which have been carried through by a (partly) social-democratic government, are unpopular with the people. The workers of the state-owned enterprises have tried to resist the privatizations. The discord is so large, that in fact the Dutch social-democracy is split in two parties.

The table 1 presents some connections, which have been discussed in the preceding text.

Tabl2 1: Historical phases in the development of the political ideas about nationalization
 period of awakeningperiod of builduprevisionist periodconformist period
orderassociations of workersstate-owned enterprises and cooperationsindustry policyincidental branch policy
interventionsnetworkscentral planningcentral managementcorrecting interventions
role of the stateminimal state (Marx)state leadsstate defines the frameworkstate is a player
programmeCommunist Manifesto (1848)Programme of Erfurt (1891)Programme of Heidelberg (1925)Programme of Godesberg (1959)

The now following list highlights once again the advantages and disadvantages of nationalization and central planning. Advantages are:

Disadvantages are

So nationalization certainly has attractive sides. Thus the realization of a planned economy remains also in the future when of the most fascinating human challenges. Perhaps nationalizations can redeem the promise of more welfare. This is worth stating. This column shows the opportunist behaviour of politicians in reaction to the actual developments. The propagated ideology turns out to aim at a rapid increase of the electoral support, while the chances to really improve the welfare and well-being play a subordinate and instrumental role. In politics there is no room for economic perspectives, which in the short run do not yield a democratic majority. This holds even, when they are objectively superior.

A political party is obviously not a forum for economists. A political leader wants to rule33. But it would be desirable to have politicians, who protest when the socially common ideology paints a one-sided picture of reality. When parties censure themselves, because they want to rule, then there is no political alternative and thus also no chance for innovation. In times of neoliberalism the states are forced to abandon planning and nationalization. The international institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund try to isolate the economies of rebellious states. Nevertheless it is not surprising, that planning and nationalization continue to pop up. Always there is some state somewhere in the world, which tries his luck in this way. The advantages can be impressive.

  1. See Jenseits des Kapitalismus (1946, Nest Verlag) by R. Löwenthal (pseudonym Paul Sering), Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft (1965, Verlag J.H.W. Dietz Nachf. GmbH) by D. Klink, and Wirtschaft van Morgen (1959, Verlag J.H.W. Dietz Nachf. GmbH) by H. Deist. Löwenthal (1908-1991) was until the Second Worldwar a member of the KPD (which explains the pseudonym). After the war he joined the SPD, and was for many years on the commission for principles. He worked as a reporter and professor in politics. Klink (1930-2004) was a member of the party board of the SPD in Bremen and a town councillor. Next he was a teacher in economics. Deist (1902-1964) was for the DGB (trade union federation) on the supervisory board of the steel industry. From 1945 he was a member of the SPD. From 1953 until his death he was a member of the Bundestag and of the European Parliament. It is worth noting, that Deist had been a member of the NSDAP between 1938 and 1945. Apparently in Germany this was less objectionable than in the Netherlands. (back)
  2. See Sociaal-economische ordening (1947, van Loghum Slaterus Uitgevers-maatschappij N.V.) by Ed. van Cleeff. Van Cleeff (1899-1972) was employed as an economist by the Centraal Bureau voor der Statistiek and next by the Centraal Plan Bureau. He propagated a sociological approach of planning. Besides he was active in the Woodbrookers in Barchem, a broad movement of christians. Van Cleeff was incited by his religion to use a normative approach, where obedience and the personal growth are combined. In his book he pleads for the conservation of the social standing, like in England the nobility. He rejects the rationalism of the liberals and the social-democrats. (back)
  3. The symbolic role of the Programme of Godesberg has led to witticisms among the French social-democrats. They argue about "faire notre Bad Godesberg" or "Plutôt un Good Godesberg qu’un Bad Godesberg". They call themselves "democratic socialists" in order to clearly distinguish themselves from the social-democracy of Godesberg. (back)
  4. See for instance p.55 and further in Grundzüge der Volkswirtschaftslehre (2011, Pearson Studium) by P. Bofinger. (back)
  5. See Marxsche Reproduktionstheorie (2005, VSA-Verlag) by Eva Müller. And p.125 in Konjunktur und Wachstum (2010, Verlag C.H. Beck oHG) by H.-J. Wagener. (back)
  6. On p.xi in the preface of Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft H.-D. Ortlieb states that the SPD was marxist until the Programme of Godesberg (1959). This is questionable. According to Klink on p.73 the Programme of Erfurt (1891) is the last truly marxist one. Then the social analyses of Marx are already twenty years old, and no longer up-to-date. The Programme of Erfurt is a product of the famous social-democratic sociologists K. Kautsky and E. Bernstein. In this programme the political demands of nationalization and planning are made for the first time (p.6 in Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft). The Programme of Heidelberg (1925), the first SPD-programme after the war, is based on a revised analysis of society.
    An interesting impression of the spirit of the early social-democracy can be found on p.169 in the novel Kikkerdorp en de Kikkerdorpers by A. van Emmenes (who incidentally is mentioned in a disapproving manner by W. Vliegen in his trilogy about the Dutch labour movement): Many of the small farmers of old have been degraded to the status of workers and even some, who seemed to be wealthy, are now suffering under a load of mortgages. All experience the pressures of the times, only a few in Kikkerdorp can in the next years escape from the ongoing process: the swallowing of the farmers by the non-resident land-owners and money-lenders. The sugar-beet has significantly worsened the situation, and the hay speculation as well. (back)
  7. See p.8 van Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft. It is interesting thatvan Cleeff on p.54 of Sociaal-economische ordening classifies precisely the utopian socialists (Saint Simon, Fourier, Owen) as plan-socialists. (back)
  8. See p.68 of Jenseits des Kapitalismus. (back)
  9. On p.57 of Jenseits des Kapitalismus Löwenthal argues, that therefore the imperialist capitalism is a permanent threat for the world peace. In this respect he contradicts the famous SPD ideologist Karl Kautsky, who foresees a peaceful international "ultra" imperialism. (back)
  10. On p.32 of Jenseits des Kapitalismus Löwenthal notes, that due to the concentrations larger money sums must be invested. Investments are always speculative. In the long run the private investors are no longer able to carry the risk. (back)
  11. See p.16 and further in Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft. According to Klink the revisionism remains marxist, but it moderates the predictability of the future. The revisionists demand, that the social relations are analyzed in an ongoing process. (back)
  12. See p.34 in Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft. Henceforth the democracy has a value in itself, and she is no longer a means towards the final goal. Parlementary compromises are accepted, and thus also the demoralization of the members.
    Marcel Matthijs gives in his novel De ruitentikker an impression of the spiritual climate of the time (p.94): "Bravo! Almost clarity! We will soon agree!" He excitedly combed his beard with his fingertips. "Remember the good things that socialism has brought to the workers. Undeniably the organized proletariat has improved its situation in comparison with ten years ago. There are solid social laws, the wages follow the costs of living, the worker who is not wasteful, manages to earn a daily living. Our present aim must be to give more authority to the state machine: we need more representatives of the people, more ministers. If we conquer the majority in the next elections, which is not impossible, well, then the socialist state will be established without violence! It is that simple. It can not be more simple". (back)
  13. On p.62 of Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft it is stated, that the Programme of Görlitz (1921) wants to nationalize merely the exploitation of the raw materials and the energy production. (back)
  14. See p.170 and further in Jenseits des Kapitalismus. And p.69 in Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft. And p.p.87 in Wirtschaft von Morgen. (back)
  15. See Sociaal-economische ordening. The "historical-inductive" analysis of Van Cleeff is interesting and surprising. For instance, following the Historical School he designates the "popular character" as an essential economic factor. Russians are nervous (p.73), Italians are esthetical (p.90), American are cholerical (p.120), andn Englishmen are stable (p.248). Among the many analyses of Van Cleeff the one concerning the Italian fascist order belongs to the most fascinating. Corporations are established, where the workers and managers organize in syndicats. Workers tribunals are formed (p.88 and further). The book contains a separate discussion of the visions of Rathenau (p.63) and of Sombart (p.130), sociological thinkers who since have fallen into oblivion. Also the visions of the catholic (neo-Thomist) and protestant churches are analysed in-depth. Van Cleeff prefers an order on voluntary grounds, but he must reluctantly admit that the clerical vision is not welcomed by the entrepreneurs (with some exceptions). Therefore he advocates perseverence. (back)
  16. On p.29 of Jenseits des Kapitalismus Löwenthal calls the crisis of 1929 the definite end of capitalism. Apparently he understands by that the economy with competing markets. (back)
  17. On p.116 of Jenseits des Kapitalismus Löwental states, that in the German case the state machinery had kept its anti-democratic inclination from the era of the empire. (back)
  18. Interesting is the remark of Klink on p.101 of Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft, that none of the new social-democratic governments used the marxist ideology. This impressed the SPD leaders. (back)
  19. In Jenseits des Kapitalismus Löwental is convinced, that the post-war states have become planned economies. The crucial question is who will conquer the power: the monopoly capital or the social-democracy. In the preceding footnote it has already been noted, that Löwental expects an imperialist attitude from the capitalism, which is a threat for the world peace. The social-democracy is not expansive, and therefore more peace-loving. War would be the arch-enemy of socialism - apparently he did not anticipate Tony Blair. This argument in favour of the social-democracy looks speculative and feeble. (back)
  20. See p.47, p.70, p.170 and p.261 in Jenseits des Kapitalismus, p.26 and further and p.90 in Wirtschaft von Morgen, and p.38 and p.49 in Sociaal-economische ordening. Van Cleeff is ahead of his time with this remark. (back)
  21. See p.87 in Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft. (back)
  22. See p.179 in Jenseits des Kapitalismus. (back)
  23. See p.82 in Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft. Klink writes: "Das Verhältnis zwischen Sozialismus und Kommunismus (EB: he means Leninism) nahm, nachdem die Sozialdemokraten der Westzonen die Bildung einer sozialistischen Einheitspartei abgelehnt hatten, völlig feindliche Züge an. Schien der Bruch zwischen Sozialismus und Kommunismus vor Bildung der Einheitspartei noch überbrückbar, so wurde er jetzt endgültig vollzogen". And on p.83: "[Die SPD] mußte sich in ihrem politischen Denken sowohl vom wirtschaftlichen Liberalismus als auch vom Kommunismus überzeugend absetzen". (back)
  24. The famous economist J. Schumpeter points out, that a structured research programme can be innovative in a somewhat predictable manner. Thus the big industries try to bring continuity in their capacity to compete. A state can do the same thing, but on a much larger scale. Nevertheless, the society, which gives room to the innovative genius, disposes of an extra source of growth. See p.198 in Homo oeconomicus (1996, Presses Universitaires de France) by P. Demeulenaere. (back)
  25. On p.100 of Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft Klink states: "Die Erfahrungen mit den totalitären Staaten zerstörte in der SPD die noch in der Weimarer Zeit vorherrschenden Organisations-gläbigkeit". Evidently this also refers to the experiences during the fascist era. Deist writes on p.23 van Wirtschaft von Morgen: "Den entgütigen Durchbruch zu einer realistischen Auffassung über die Rolle des Privat-eigentums haben dann die Erfahrungen gebracht, die im kommunistischen und anschließend in faschistischen Staaten gesammelt werden konnten". On p.32 he criticizes the "zwangswirtschaftlich-bürokratische Methoden". (back)
  26. See p.73 and further in Jenseits des Kapitalismus. (back)
  27. See p.122 in Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft. (back)
  28. This aspect dominates all arguments of Deist in Wirtschaft van Morgen. The final goal is described as freiheitlicher Sozialismus. (back)
  29. See p.60 in Wirtschaft van Morgen. (back)
  30. See p.86 in Wirtschaft van Morgen. He sees this as the final goal of socialism. (back)
  31. On p.144 of Vom Antikapitalismus zur sozialistischen Marktwirtschaft Klink cites Deist (!; 1963, a year before the death of Deist): "Was sind eigentlich Schlüssel-industrien? Der Kohlenbergbau ist vielleicht noch eine Schlüssel-industrie, eine markt- und wirtschafts-beherrschende Stellung hat er heute sicher nicht mehr". Opinions can change. According to p.73 of Wirtschaft von Morgen Deist argues still in 1958: "Und die Machtsposition des Stahles beruht auch darauf, daß er über eine solche Energie-grundlage verfügt". Namely, the coal pits were the property of the steel industry. "Unter dem Machts-gesichtspunkt halte ich es für nicht so entscheidend welchen Teil, sondern daß wir einen wichtigen Teil einer Zitadelle herausbrechen". Deist is not free from opportunism. (back)
  32. It is cleat that it is desirable to analyse the French experiences, and draw conclusions from this. Your columnist intends to make an attempt in due time. (back)
  33. It is not easy to find the right balance between the goal and the means. Always a part of the parties operates in an unfavourable social climate, at least for the time being. When such a party is resolved in an unshakable manner to defend her ideology, then she may finally wither. And a flagging party fails in her task, namely the propagation of her ideology, because she misses the means to organize actions. A similar dilemma is the practical question whether the ideology and the true actions may differ. One may even ask whether the propagation of visions is still a task of a modern political party. And what must be done with a vision, which does not please the electorat? On the other hand the embarrassing Dutch debate about the mortgage tax deduction shows, how an imbalance can occur between the purposive action and opportunism.
    It is problematic that science itself suffers under similar mechanisms. She is not free from values. Research which opposes the spirit of the time remains devoid of means. That is especially true in a system, which settles with scientists on the basis of their productivity and of the acquisition of money flows from third sources. (back)