In an op-ed published by Jacobin, a magazine dedicated to being “a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture,” Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas) criticized a new economic development venture in the works for his district that would employ around 1,100 people. This is an interesting tactic; a sitting legislator fiercely against a venture that could mean over one thousand jobs for his constituents.
Does Carter have a particular relationship with this company that has created such animus? Presumably, no.
Heading off his piece, Carter said: “Economic development. As a socialist elected to public office, no other phrase gives me more heartburn.”
Quite unequivocal, yes?
Carter explained that whenever new economic development initiatives are announced, which are numerous in such a booming economy, they are “filled with feel-good phrases like ‘new jobs’ and ‘billions in investment.'” The delegate believes that in his world there is a “cold reality” that must be faced by the working-class, which is predicated on the concept of class struggle.
Recently, Governor Ralph Northam (D) announced the $3 billion expansion of Micron Technology’s Manassas-based semiconductor plant. Carter said that the governor’s office was asking for participation in the announcement and further developments. Rather than being enthralled with the news, Carter said, “my heart sank.”
Micron put Virginia over other international bids, leading to the largest manufacturing investment in the modern history of the Commonwealth. According to an interview with Reuters, Chief Executive Sanjay Mehrotra said to reporters, “The expansion aims to meet increasing demand for chips in automobiles, which are gaining more computer power for features such as collision avoidance systems or lane departure warning systems.”
The company also expects that market to double to $6 billion by 2021.
As the state begins to thrive with new high-tech manufacturing companies and expansions of current operations, the citizens within the city or locality are becoming employed, pushing them up the socioeconomic ladder. Typically, secondary businesses are also created around an initial economic development that employ those that were not recipients of the first investment to the corporation – a free market-based economic development pf an area that comes naturally over time.
In fact, a company like Micron could be the encouragement a business needs to expand or relocate to Manassas as well.
Regardless, Carter said, “Conventional economic development often destroys communities and impoverishes families by reshaping places to be more palatable to affluent transplants.”
Drudging up his inner Marxist, Carter declared, “I knew instantly that I would have to be the ice water on the bonfire of ecstatic politicians and effusive headlines.”
The delegate’s begrudgement over the entire thing is with the bidding process as he explained:
“We don’t know, and possibly never will know, what other states offered, but Virginia’s bid included $300 million in state grants and tax incentives — a full 10 percent of the cost of the entire project — with additional money provided by the city of Manassas.”
Carter adds that the recipients of the economic development stimulus are the corporations, which is correct because that is what has the resources necessary to create hundreds and even thousands of jobs just by expanding production from an initial fiscal investment. But, he doesn’t see it like this. As a self-declared socialist, he sees this as the old bourgeois versus proletariat scenario.
For example, he continues:
“As for the effects of this kind of project, those 1,100 jobs will go to 1,100 new — and likely already affluent — professionals who will move into the area. Home prices can be expected to increase, and so will rent for the 38 percent of Manassas residents who don’t own their own homes. Workers in Manasass (sic) won’t see any of the benefits. This ‘economic development’ deal is just an engine to turbocharge the process of gentrification that’s been going on in Manassas for over a decade.”
In a capitalist world – the United States – after the expansion, 1,100 more people in Manassas are employed, which creates a demand in other areas for additional growth. Again, Carter doesn’t see this. For him, the expansion drives the people out because of the inevitable inherent corporate greed that puts profits above all and ruins communities.
“So how could we do more good for Manassas with that $300 million? It’s almost impossible to do worse than the current plan, but ideally that money could be used for training and startup funding for hundreds of worker cooperatives throughout the state. Thousands of Virginians could be empowered to not only have a well-paying job, but to be a worker-owner.”
For Carter’s piece, the battle is the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat. It’s the historical power struggle. In his mind, through the teachings of the Democratic Socialists of America, free market economics is unsustainable and incapable of improving the living standards of the population due to its need to compensate for corporate profits.
This, of course, disregards anything dealing with supply and demand. Though, in a Marxist state, their is no demand – that’s the government’s job to decide what is created.
In terms of production, in a socialist society, private property is replaced by co-operative ownership, with the end result being not of the creation of private profits, but on the criteria of satisfying human needs – production equals demand – which are determined by the government.
The Northern Virginia legislator justifies his claim for this because similar plans have “been tremendously successful in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.”
Ah, yes, the “Red Quadrilateral.” The historical stronghold of the Italian Communist Party. Interestingly enough, the home of that Marxism-mobile manufacturer, Ferrari.
According to the European Service Innovation Center’s (ESIC) 2013 “Summary Assessment of Emilia-Romagna,” the Italian stallion of an economic engine, “exhibits a lower degree of specialisation (sic) in knowledge-intensive services but a high employment rate in service-innovation intensive industries.”
There was also a “higher than average number of patents registered but a relatively low number of high-tech patents and share of employees with higher education.” The society has education institutions, but not an educated society.
Although the European Commission found that Emilia-Romagna has “strong entrepreneurial activity…many of these businesses do not grow successfully beyond a certain size.” Growth is harmed because of a more totalitarian form of government.
Emilia-Romagna has a “strong local demand for services from an internationalised (sic) manufacturing base. This local demand is currently not fully met by local service offers.” Again, government intervention in the supply and demand quotient disrupts the local economy because under a one-size-fits-all economic approach, the outcome is contrary to what human nature would designate in the market.
What Delegate Carter wants is equity. However, equity is not equality of opportunity – it’s equality of outcome.
Additionally, it’s not that his brand of socialism hasn’t worked yet because no one has mastered the tactics needed to fully implement it – it’s worked brilliantly. The people and the economy of Emilia-Romagna have suffered under illiberal domestic economic policies because of the successful implementation of socialism.
Vera Zamagni, professor of economic history at the University of Bologna, said in an article from The Next System, “Italian cooperatives have never been politically and ideologically neutral. They were promoted in the 19th century by ‘apostles’ that preached common economic action as part of a general vision of society not based on individualism and self-interest.”
There’s no specialization. There’s no drive to be the best in a particular field because there’s equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity. That nearly ceases all innovation and growth.
The people of Manassas must understand this. Your representative in the House of Delegates does not believe in the intrinsic nature of individuals, he believes in a more totalitarian ideology that requires complete subservience to the state.