It took over seven decades for Soviet communism to implode. Arguments could no doubt be made — and they would have to be right — that given certain quite limited counter-factual revisions of historical contingency, this period might have been significantly extended. Austrians nevertheless consider the eventual termination of comparatively pure communism as a vindication (of the Calculation Problem, in particular). They are not simply wrong to do so.
Fascist economics is far more formidably resilient than its now-defunct soviet antagonist. Any attempt to quantify this functional superiority as a predicted system duration is transparently impractical. Margins of theoretical error or imprecision, given very modestly transformed variables, could translate into many decades of extended (or decreased) longevity. Coldly considered, there is no reason to confidently expect a theoretically constructed collapse schedule to hold its range of probable error to much under a century. (Darker reflection might lead to the conclusion that even this level of ‘precision’ betrays unwarranted hubris.) There might be crushing lessons to be learned from the history of Messianic expectation.
Such acknowledgements can easily prompt over-reaction. Insofar as the collapse schedules of Austrian apocalypticism pretend to certainty, they undoubtedly court humiliation. Yet, if the soft-fascist configuration of global ‘capitalism’ were to comprehensively and unambiguously disintegrate within the next two decades, the Austrian vindication — retrospectively evaluated — would easily match the Soviet case. Those who doggedly maintained that this cannot perpetuate itself for long would be seen to have understood what their opponents had not. Since the critique of Soviet political economy was not, retrospectively, derided as a ‘stopped clock’, there is no reason to imagine that this would be. The redemptive power of apocalypse easily overrides substantial scheduling embarrassments.
The question that will ultimately be seen to have mattered, then, is far more “can this go on?” than “when (exactly) will this stop?” The important prediction is compound: the longer it continues, the harder it ends. This too might be false, but if it is, a substitute fascist presupposition must be correct, and that has yet to be adequately formulated. Roughly speaking, it insists that politics subordinates economics absolutely. In other words, the thoroughgoing politicization of the economy is indefinitely viable. This is an assumption subject to humiliation by any schedule that falls short of perpetuity, since mere medium-term sustainability does nothing to justify it. Hitler demanded a thousand years. How could his more financially-sophisticated successors — enthroned in planetary hegemony — ask for less?
ADDED: Attaining balance on this topic would test the skills of a tightrope walker. “There’s a lot of ruin in a nation,” (Handle reminds us), but “It’s like that old saying– better to be a year (or decade) too early than a day too late. Because one should never underestimate the speed with which things can unravel.” Plus additional highly-relevant remarks from Simon Black (don’t miss the embedded diagram).