08 September 2007

morning theft

Saturday night is a good time to trawl the overseas papers and the bastion of leftish thinking in the UK, the Guardian, serves up a couple of thought teasers tonight.

the Tories are lurching right again after several years of pretending to be in the middle.

You'd reckon people would wake up when a political party has to reassure the populace that they will be "compassionate", wouldn't you? Remember Bush, the "compassionate conservative?" What happened there? Shouldn't the need for such an admission - or 'clarification', perhaps - be seen as an admission that, by nature, your party and its members are not, and never have been, compassionate?

Colour me stupid, I can't get my head around this. If you are genuinely hard right, then be proud of it and drop the sham. People know what they're going to get from you, you may as well be honest.

On the other hand, if you believe that society needs some compassion, then drop the other rubbish because you know what it's going to do to society.

Provided you believe in societies of course, rather than the all-conquering economies that we have all lived in since the 1980s.

In this vein, Naomi Klein continues her assault on TINA with some analysis of the extra factor that Milton Friedman and his followers use to impose their pure model of how economies should work: disasters as the pretext for unilateral imposition of extreme free market ideology.

No doubt this new work from Klein will attract a fair bit of comment. She's got form, of course, but the slow emergence of the inevitable consequences of extreme free market economics - increasingly inequality, less concern for others and the sucking up of wealth to the top .1% - is now becoming more widely recognised. Popular disgust at CEO salaries is probably the easiest example to identify.

When the US deposed Saddam, their first acts were to topple the statue, secure the oil ministry and then attempt to privatise the entire economy. I wondered at the time how they would do it, and it seems they failed. I can't think of any more disgusting act to foist on a country you've just invaded under the pretext of liberation than to expropriate their resources and goods. It's truly medieval stuff.

The price signal is a very powerful mechanism for an efficient economy and allocation of resources. But theft is not capitalism.

1 comment:

That's so pants said...

Hi Phil

Excellent piece. British Tories have had their middle ground colonised by New Labour and their right extremities appropriated by the abhorrent British National Party so they haven't a lot of territory available to them now. Having any ideological overlap at all with the BNP could be very damaging which creates opportunities for the BNP to encroach even further.

Even the left in Britain is in denial about the links between corporate greed and inequality. The belief that increased wealth creation will trickle down to the economically disadvantaged has proved doggedly resilient.



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