Was Lenin the step father of modern capitalism?

How’s that for a provocative title?  We live in a 140 character world so have at it.

I just finished an Ideas podcast where the speaker argued that the fear of communism led to the green revolution in agriculture as the wealthy class didn’t want the hungry to rise up against them.

A couple of years ago I read a biography of FDR where he supposedly said to the wealthy class about his social reforms “I am the only thing standing between you and the angry masses”.

This thread – the threat of communism led the west to develop the modern, welfare state version of capitalism – is one that I read and hear repeatedly when discussing late 19th century and 20th century history.

If this theory is correct, what do we do in  a world where the Reds aren’t a threat anymore?

Maybe a little Rosa Luxemburg isn’t such a bad thing after all.


3 thoughts on “Was Lenin the step father of modern capitalism?

  1. Even though the Reds aren’t a big threat anymore, I think that in order to push forward we are going to need some kind of threat. Is the “war on terrorism” the next threat that gives us an excuse to overdevelop some more? Just food for thought. And your title is fantastic. Really got my attention!

  2. Hmmm, I’m not so sure that it was ‘fear of communism’, but certainly fear of unrest played a part. The green revolution began in the 60s, if I recall correctly, and involved the use and application of plant genetics and fertilizers to crops that had not, until that time, received much research interest in the developed world. The 60s was the first time that television really went ‘global’ and the sight of starving children on the screens of middle class Westerners may have resulted in political support for food aid, as much as did communism.

  3. If I remember Canadian history correctly, it was CCF election gains (provincial and federal) in the 1943 and 1944 that convinced the Mackenzie King government to veer left in “Reconstruction”.

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