Lawrence Dennis showed that the central thesis of Marxian economics–the drive to hold down wages & living conditions–was faulty even before Marx died in 1883. Rather, governments in the modern world thrive only by promoting consumption.
This observation did not make Lawrence Dennis an unthinking capitalist booster of the Chamber of Commerce type. On the contrary, Dennis located the great weakness of the so-called free market in what he termed underconsumption. This is ignored or goes over the heads of our ‘leading thinkers’ today.
W A Carto, in his 1993 introduction to a reprint of Dennis’s seminal 1936 work, THE COMING AMERICAN FASCISM, summed up these views:
“The major credit to the Dennis ledger is his stubborn (and totally correct) insistence on identifying the primary endemic problem of capitalism–the maldistribution of production, a glaring–if hidden–reality he called underconsumption (but what this writer would label overproduction.) This is the chronic failure or inability of capitalism to adjust the balance between production and consumption without war, cold war, socialism or the placebo of foreign aid–the latter being something Dennis did not foresee in 1936 but correctly identified as soon as Harry Truman enunciated the great idea in 1947.
“It is the tragedy of the West that this is the dirty secret that capitalist apologists have desperately tried to conceal for the last hundred years. That they have succeeded has enabled the politicians and pressure groups to manufacture two otherwise stupid and needless world wars as well as innumerable small wars to dispose of surplus production, diminish unemployment and raise the bankers’ blessed debt.”
The position of Lawrence Dennis is what we now call the Third Position. In the Thirties, he was also writing at the same time as Ezra Pound and Father Coughlin. Like them, he saw the evil of Usury and made the distinction between Industrial Capital which is productive and Finance-Capital which is parasitic. Needless to say, this insight is over the heads of the Tea Party crowd today.
This also made Lawrence Dennis an implacable enemy of Austrian School economics, so beloved by Randroids and ‘libertarians.’
From the diagnosis comes the cure: We need to wrest control of our economy from the hands of the investment banking houses. As Dennis foresaw, this may take a Nationalist Revolution.