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Whether it is explicitly called for or not, “delinking” from the global economy to nationalize finance is a major premise of current proposals to resurrect social democracy in one country. To have any chance, the argument runs, this plan would require strict capital controls.8 These are needed to combat massive capital flight in the event that a serious social-democratic government accedes to power. Likewise, strong bulwarks against cross-border transactions would free national governments and their banking systems to direct credit into socially useful ends by sharply curtailing international flows of funds, literally “closing borders to money,” in Mason’s words.9

At the moment, left-wing intellectuals are generally favorable to the notion of splitting off from the world market to pursue national economic sovereignty. Besides Mason, Peter Gowan has recently made the case for reviving full capital controls as a key part in a comprehensive plan for democratic socialism.10 Vivek Chibber, with his full-throated defense of market socialism, would also presumably support them, insofar as socializing a country’s financial assets to return them to its citizens would require walling them off from the international investor class.11 This orientation is also clearly evident in some strange panel comments from perhaps the best known Marxist economist, Robert Brenner. Perversely, in speaking engagements following the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections, Brenner lamented the dim prospects for a genuinely anti-neoliberal “statism” from the Trump administration. Such “statism,” in Brenner’s view, is obviously the only way to counter “neoliberal global capitalism.” It only needs to have a “leftist” rather than a reactionary form.12

full: https://brooklynrail.org/2018/02/field-notes/Fantasies-of-Secession-A-Critique-of-Left-Economic-Nationalism
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