Lessons of the 1988 Elections


  • Paul M. Sweezy
  • Harry Magdoff




Political Economy


The political situation in the United States today, if one takes the trouble to look below the surface, is very strange indeed. The most important fact is that the country could easily produce at least 50 percent more than it is now producing: this is a conservative estimate based on wartime experience and the current state of underutilization of available labor power and productive capacity. Total production (GNP) now stands at $4.9 trillion. To be even more conservative, let us say that within the next few years output could be increased by an annual amount of $2 trillion (two thousand billion dollars). If this increase in production were channelled into producing the things people need, like housing, health care, social security, etc., there would be enough to enable the entire citizenry to lead decent and secure lives with a lot left over to begin tackling the enormous tasks facing the country as a result of generations of neglect, waste, and destruction—tasks like repairing and expanding the nation's infrastructure, rebuilding decayed inner cities, and cleaning up an environment that is now being poisoned and depleted at a clearly unsustainable rate.

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