I have more than once argued myself that the USSR disciplinary model of economy and society belonged to a long gone period, the one described in Marxist theory as that of "formal subsumption" of Work into Capital, also known as Fordism. However I have instead assumed that the Western economies and in particular that of the USA had managed to make it into the next phase foreseen by Marx in an long unpublished chapter of Capital and confirmed by modern authors like Toni Negri as beginning c. 1968: the "real subsumption" of Work into Capital, also known as Toyotism, change also defined by the vanishing of the "mass worker" that fed the totalitarian states of the early and middle 20th century and the construction of the "social worker", the renewed revolutionary subject (in theory at least). Negri suggests 1968 as the defining transition event because it was in that year, the year I was born, when the clash of paradigms became more evident, both in the West as in the East, with the people radically questioning massively the old notions of authority and hierarchy.
However I might have been somewhat naive at the assumption that the West truly adopted the change demanded by the social and economic circumstances. It might well have been just a makeup, a partial imperfect adaptation... at least that is what John Kozy argues at Global Research: that the implementation of Toyotism by the US economy was faulty, that the paradigm of excellence in production and worker feedback, among others, were never assumed by the US entrepreneurial oligarchy, that they only responded with top-to-bottom designed "reforms" and with a total focus in the maths of lowering costs only.
This process of cost reduction culminated in the total sell-off of the national economy to those countries where the production was outsourced to, notably China. Logically China has found now its way into producing and exporting these products on its own, even to the USA itself. That's, Kozy argues, the root of the current economic crisis, which is much deeper than the final bubble and the current generalized depression.
So I wonder if I have oversighted the fact, every day more obvious, that the Reaganomics' boom was just a bluff and that the apparent success was just from the very beginning just short-term profit all the time. If the system failed to adapt in the USA (and this should be a warning to China, that has adopted also the maximum benefit model) to the real challenges of the phase transformation. The high dependency of the US economy on the Military-Industrial Complex all the time makes me suspect it is the case.
If so, we are witnessing a second chapter of the decomposition of the USSR in the 80s, just that now it is happening at this side of the former iron curtain.
Also, like in the apogee and decline of the Spanish Empire, we see the emperor fighting in way too many fronts against way too many and elusive enemies, indebted well beyond its possibilities and sunk in a major inflationary nightmare even at the bottom of an economic pit.
It's perfectly possible that the system has totally collapsed in fact but that we don't really realize yet. Such things happen: I'm quite sure that ancient Romans were not really aware of their decadence until it was too late, and the same happened with the Spaniards who fought war after war in vane attempts to reverse it (without ever addressing the causes with any seriousness). However in our age things happen always much faster than in old history: it's not any bug, it's a feature of Capitalism and globalization. Even in a quite modern moment, the French Revolution, a courier would take 7 days to cross the country between Paris and Marseilles, now any message arrives almost instantly to anywhere on Earth. Things must change fast with such huge communicative powers. Even in the pre-Internet age, the USSR collapsed in a matter of few years, almost "months". It was totally unexpected, except maybe for a few experts.
Is the Obama reign our "Gorbachev era"? With timid reforms that fail to address the real problems. Problems that I reckon are very difficult to address properly (they would need a true innovative leadership and, specially, popular movement - this kind of stuff can't really be done only through leaders, no matter how good they are).