What This Election Proves Is the Need for Epoch Making Change

Yves here. In a recent talk, political scientist Mark Blyth described how past breakdowns in economic policy regimes led to radical change: The gold standard produced the Great Depression, and the Post World War II social democratic era with strong social safety nets and a policy emphasis on creating full employment went off the rails with the 1970s stagflation. We summarized Blyth’s take on the crisis just past:

Blyth stresses that what happened after the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted from the failings of the neoliberal regime, the effort to restore the old system, is an unnatural response which will only lead to intensification of the underlying stressors, like rising levels of private debt, greater income inequality, and even more financialization.

We discussed this response in ECONNED in 2010:

Paradigm breakdown, meaning key elements of the current system are no longer viable, but that is a possibility that no one is prepared to face, since the old system seemed to work well for a protracted period. Thus the authorities reflexively put duct tape on the machinery rather than hazard a teardown….

Advanced economies have become hooked on debt technology, which, like XCrop, is habit forming and hard to wean oneself off of due to its lower cost and the fact that other approaches have fallen into partial disuse (for instance, use of FICO-based credit scoring has displaced evaluations that include an assessment of the borrower’s character and knowledge of the community, such as stability of his employer). In fact, the current debt technology results in information loss, via disincentives to do a thorough job of borrower due diligence (why bother if you are reselling the paper?) and monitoring of the credit over the life of the loan. And the proposed fixes are not workable. The Obama proposal, that the originator retain 5% of the deal and take correspondingly lower fees, is not high enough to change behavior. And a level that would be high enough to make the originator feel the impact of a bad decision would undercut the cost efficiencies that made securitization popular in the first place. You’d have better decisions, but less lending, and higher interest rates. That’s ultimately a desirable outcome, but as in the XCrop situation, no one seems prepared to accept
that a move to healthier practices will result in much more costly and less readily available debt. The authorities want to believe they can somehow have their
cake and eat it too.

A second set of difficult institutional problems results from the internationalization of capital markets. Effective regulation of global capital markets players requires a consistent regime of rules and enforcement across geographies. This approach is unlikely to succeed in the absence of the establishment of powerful international bodies devoted to that task. That in turn represents a major threat to national sovereignty. International “harmonization,” the current compromise, is a step forward but is likely to prove inadequate.

Financial firms are masters of regulatory arbitrage, and as their wealth and influence have grown, they are also showing considerable skill at manipulating political processes. A point of leverage has been to play competing financial centers against each other. For instance, one impetus for the strong dollar policy was the desire to bolster New York’s standing as a financial center. Similarly, the UK, to compete with U.S. deregulation, implemented some rules that were even more accommodating than the ones stateside, a regulatory race to the bottom. For instance, in Lehman’s final days, the firm transferred $8 billion from its UK broker-dealer subsidiary to provide funding to the parent company in the United States. It appears Lehman raided UK client accounts, something prohibited under U.S. law. If the broker-dealer does not go bankrupt, its customers should come out more or less whole. Even though Lehman collapsed, its U.S. broker-dealer subsidiary did not. Neither did Drexel’s in that firm’s implosion.76
But the Lehman example illustrates a broader point: that the pressures on legislators and regulators to grant waivers, to assure the “competitiveness” of their respective financial centers, lead to a pressure to lower standards

Now, of course, there is an alternative to overuse of private debt as a way to stimulate growth: that of higher levels of fiscal spending. The fact that policies that are deemed left wing (yet would have been middle-of-the-road in the Reagan era) are finally being treated seriously in the US, is a major shift. Even so, it is far from a sufficient condition for major change.

Richard Murphy below gives a hopeful take, that the upcoming UK elections will be a platform for major change, and will demonstrate, as he puts it, that “the era of neoliberalism is over.” Unfortunately, as readers know all too well, if the Tories win, Boris Johnson will get his Brexit approved by Parliament, and that too will usher in major change.

And if Sir Ivan Rogers is correct, and Johnson sticks to his commitment of not seeking an extension to the transition period, and the UK winds up with no trade deal or only a bare bones one, the result will be a plutocratic land grab. It would not be anywhere as aggressive or destabilizing as the one after the USSR fell, and an ugly display of end state neoliberalism.

By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an “anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert”. He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics. He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK

There is an obvious follow in thought to my suggestion that this election is not over yet, posted this morning. And that is to speculate on what happens next. That does not mean I have given up on this campaign. It means instead I am willing to think what outcomes now might mean, and hope that such matters are worthy of reflection upon before the vote takes place. In part I also need to do this thinking anyway since I am taking part in a discussion tomorrow that I know will include a question on who might win the 2024 election. 

I general accept nothing is fixed in politics and that forecasting can be a fool’s game, but I think there can be an exception to that rule. The general rule holds true when the broad political consensus is stable. For very long periods at a time (1945 – 1975, 1980 – 2015, for example) that is true. During these periods the over-arching political narrative (social democracy, and then neoliberalism) survives and all that changes is the party delivering the consensus view, with argument as to priority and not substance, dominating debate.

At epochal moments that changes. 1979 here, and 1980 in the States, was an epochal moment. And we are overdue for another one. At these moments forecasting is more important, I suggest.

The current almost unchallengeable truth is, I suggest, that the era of neoliberalism is over. This was apparent in 2008 even if its protracted expiry has been painful. But now its death is regularly foretold. The FT has declared capitalism in need of a reboot. The US Business Roundtable has declared that profit maximisation has ceased to be a useful, let alone desirable, business ethos.  

That this is true is very apparent. Business is not delivering shared prosperity. Its products are destroying the planet. In the process inequality, with all the dire social consequences that can flow from it, is increasing. Those most impacted by all this – who have been denied so many of the chances that this mode of political organisation was meant to deliver – are a growing part of the electorate and so, of course, of society at large. And as we now know this factor of age is, in itself, the most likely indicator of political opinion in the UK

The failure of the logic that the pursuit of self interest and the profit motive would naturally bring prosperity for all is going to have massive ramifications for politics. I would suggest that this failure is what will underpin the next epochal change.

It is readily apparent that Johnson is seeking – and may get – election on the basis of a single objective, of getting Brexit done. That objective is inexplicable. The consequences are unknown. The supposed identity that drives some to support this objective is that of a, quite literally, dying part of our society. And that those who want to ‘get Brexit done’ do not know how to do so or what it means is more apparent than ever. 

But what is also apparent is that this incomprehensible goal has been grasped at by the Tories precisely because they have no idea what else to do or say. This is clear from Johnson’s behaviour in the election, in which I would suggest he is failing badly. 

His manifesto says almost nothing, expecting almost meaningless Brexit references. 

He is being kept away from the public.

When he does appear it is apparent that those forced to share his company do so reluctantly.

He is avoiding press conferences.

He ducked a leaders’ debate.

And it is not clear he will be interviewed by Andrew Neil. 

I accept, he remains ahead in polls. But that does not change the fact that he is having a bad election campaign. A man who will not partake in the election he called must, by definition, be suffering in that way.

So, why is that? The answer is that he has nothing to say. There is no Tory policy. And the harsh, neoliberal, pro-market policies that it could for so long rattle out as evidence that it was on the side of those who, by its definition, were succeeding in society, are now being rejected by those very same people. And that leaves the Tories high and dry.

Just as it also leaves the LibDems high and dry as well, since so many of them, from Ed Davey onwards, appear to be wedded to the same mantra.

And let’s also be clear about it; this leaves the SNP’s Growth Commission based policies in a difficult place as well.

None of these parties can claim that they must now keep government out of the economy to ensure business has a free hand to do what it wants if it’s now the case that business does not want to fill the available space that government might leave, which it is readily apparent that it will not do. Nor can any government say that it must do so to permit market forces to deliver what only those markets can do to best effect when business says that it now recognises its role as being simply a part within the society that the government is turning its back on by promoting market forces above all else. 

So, if you want to understand why we must have epochal change it is because the business community, now only too well aware that they cannot solve the biggest challenges that we face, whether they be poverty, climate change, inequality, falling productivity as conventionally defined, or prejudice in its many forms, is saying that this epochal change is required. It would have been convenient to claim that the change is being driven by the left. But it isn’t. It’s being driven by business admitting that it is unable to use what is literally its business model to address these issues. Critically, what it’s also recognising in that case is that someone else has to do so. And if the partnership it is seeking is with society then the only partnership option it has is with government.

The consequence is that business is saying it’s time to move on.

And it is business that is saying that the solution is not further to the right, because that is not where society is.

And it is business that is also saying, as it has done throughout the Brexit debate (minor exceptions apart) that they see the role for an internationalist, broadly based outlook for society.

I say that to make clear that what business is actually signalling is that populism is ver clearly not the way to go. If business has an influence left, and clearly it does, they’re using it. And the message they’re delivering is to look to new models of integration in society.

That, I suggest, is epochal change. 

I’d also suggest that it is not a signal for old style socialism. There is no indication that, outside some very obvious cases for natural monopolies, that there is need for radical change to the structure of overall business ownership. There is need for it to be more accountable. There is a need for better pension arrangements. There is most certainly a need that taxes be paid. And the transformation that climate change demands must be imposed if necessary. But beyond that? I suggest there will be a need for a strong private sector, playing by the rules, in whatever comes next in society.

But there will also be a need for stronger government too. I once called that vision of government ‘The Courageous State’ because in this approach government believes it does have the right to determine that action is required and to actually deliver the necessary change itself if it is apparent that it is the appropriate agency to do so. 

In that case we will have a bigger state sector.

We will have different taxes as a result.

And, I hope, different forms of democratic accountability.

As well as different forms of delivery of state services, which are adaptable to need more than at present.

But that these are the foundations for the new epoch appear obvious to me.

As obvious as the fact is that at this election no one from any party has been able to present that vision. Or in some cases anything even vaguely approximating to it.

The consequence is that we will face a period of almost inevitable continuing failure after the election. Too many (but not all) politicians are still dedicated to a form of politics that no longer really reflects almost any real interest in society. They are bound to fail as a result. 

But, I suggest that societies eventually get the politics that they want. And if that is the case a new epoch will emerge, driven by a demand from business, from people, and from enlightened politicians and thinkers, all of whom  will demand a new paradigm. We just have to get on with it very quickly. That’s the overwhelming need. And we have to work to make it happen. But I think it will.

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38 comments

  1. Isotope_C14

    “We just have to get on with it very quickly. That’s the overwhelming need. And we have to work to make it happen. But I think it will.”

    Unfortunately many of the climate collapse tipping points have already passed. Wishful thinking won’t change the fact that we are careening off the edge. No amount of “hard work” is going reverse the Arctic ice collapse (have a look at the Bering sea, that’s 1980’s summer ice extent- In December).

    Not many Americans will give up their creature-comforts, and obviously as the other article shows, the Military Industrial Complex has no interest in reducing their emissions. Enjoy life high on the hog now, it’s about to get very, very awful for everyone, including the rich in their concrete luxury tombs. They might think they are wonderful now, but after 5 years, they will be horrible.

    Reply
  2. Sound of the Suburbs

    The only reason neoliberalism appeared to work was that it was based on neoclassical economics that doesn’t consider debt. When you look at debt, you realise it never had a long term future.

    Adair Turner took over at the FSA when Lehman Brothers collapsed and this gave him the incentive to find out what was going on.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCX3qPq0JDA
    Adair Turner has looked at the situation prior to the crisis where advanced economies were growing by 4 – 5%, but the debt was rising at 10 – 15%.
    This always was an unsustainable growth model; it had no long term future.
    After 2008, the emerging markets adopted the unsustainable growth model and they too have now reached the end of the line.

    What causes debt to rise faster than GDP?
    The UK is the best example.

    https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png
    Maggie came to power in 1979 and we are off on a one way trip to a financial crisis, which we get to in 2008.
    Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth (business and industry, creating new products and services in the economy)
    After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don’t result in GDP growth (real estate and financial speculation)
    What happened in 1979?
    The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979 and the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.

    Bank credit was also not understood during this period.
    https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
    We were brining future prosperity forwards to inflate asset prices today, e.g. real estate.
    Using future prosperity to inflate asset prices is a big mistake that Japan is only too aware of.
    They have been paying back the debt from their 1980s excesses ever since.
    The Japanese hadn’t realised they could impoverish the next thirty years with a wild real estate bubble in the 1980s, but this is exactly what happened.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk
    Debt repayments to banks destroy money and this is the problem.

    In a neoliberal world everyone made the same mistakes.
    At 25.30 mins you can see the super imposed private debt-to-GDP ratios.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6
    What Japan does in the 1980s; the US, the UK and Euro-zone do leading up to 2008 and China has done more recently.
    One economics, one ideology.
    Global groupthink.

    Reply
    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      The economics of globalisation has always had an Achilles’ heel.
      The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn’t look at private debt, neoclassical economics.
      Not considering debt is the Achilles’ heel of neoclassical economics.

      At 25.30 mins you can see the super imposed private debt-to-GDP ratios.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6
      What Japan does in the 1980s; the US, the UK and Euro-zone do leading up to 2008 and China has done more recently.
      Now look at the US in the 1920s.
      Debt rises much faster than GDP there as well.

      It’s built in to the economics.
      What’s wrong with neoclassical economics?

      1) The belief in the markets and price discovery gets everyone thinking you are creating real wealth by inflating asset prices.
      2) Bank credit pours into inflating asset prices rather than creating real wealth (as measured by GDP) and no one is looking at the debt building up.
      3) No one realises bank credit impoverishes the future.

      Reply
      1. RBHoughton

        Thank you SotS for those two comments and thank you NC for publishing this important paper. Thank Heavens some authoritative voices are being raised against more of the same.

        My difficulty is seeing where to go from here. I love the policies associated with Jeremy Corbyn although whether he can get then passed the Blairite rump in the party is questionable. That was the system that came in at the time of birth in WWII and is totally familiar to me and my contemporaries. Bring it back.

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  3. notabanktoadie

    You’d have better decisions, but less lending, and higher interest rates. That’s ultimately a desirable outcome, but as in the XCrop situation, no one seems prepared to accept that a move to healthier practices will result in much more costly and less readily available debt. The authorities want to believe they can somehow have their cake and eat it too. Yves from ECONNED in 2010

    The ONLY reason I can think of that we should be concerned about poor lending decisions by the private sector is that we have only a single payment system, besides mere coins and paper Central Banks Notes, that MUST work through private depository institutions or not at all.

    Otherwise, why should we be any more concerned by private sector lending decisions than we are of gamblers in Las Vegas?

    Let’s please eliminate a government-privileged usury cartel holding the economy hostage and have an ethical finance system.

    That would be a true epoch change…

    Reply
    1. Sancho Panza

      I remember a few years ago I was onto the point you’re making here so I decided to probe around the edges of the cartel so to speak to look for an alternative/escape way….I started looking at various credit unions as they cultivate a safer public image and in fact do have more conservative governance…and was very disappointed to learn they are part of the same payments system…thus one and the same with the private banks. I guess these days crypto’s offer an alternative of sorts though I’ve not gone there yet…

      Reply
      1. notabanktoadie

        Crypto does not solve the problem of government privileges for depository institutions.

        Let’s face the problem head on and DEMAND that citizens be allowed to use their Nation’s fiat in account form, same as depository institutions and that all other* privileges banks enjoy be abolished too, but in a responsible manner.

        It’s called equal protection under the law and it’s way past due wrt finance.

        *Such as government provided deposit insurance, non-negative interest on their reserves, lender of last resort, asset buyer of last resort, etc.

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    2. False Solace

      > why should we be any more concerned by private sector lending decisions than we are of gamblers in Las Vegas?

      The surface answer is that when banks fail, lending dries up. Because borrowing funds most spending these days, the economy enters a recession or depression. Millions of people get thrown out of work, and they (eventually) vote for people who didn’t choose to let that happen. Or they riot.

      The deeper answer is that the banks are owned by the wealthy. Since they control the government, when their bets go bad they use our money to bail themselves out. Other options exist, as you point out, but the rich don’t want them.

      > Let’s please eliminate a government-privileged usury cartel holding the economy hostage and have an ethical finance system.

      Sounds like this would require breaking the power of the wealthy. Neither party has any interest in that.

      Reply
      1. notabanktoadie

        I’ve found that Progressives, including MMT advocates, and the author himself are opposed to genuine reform so let’s not blame the wealthy. In other words, Progressives, etc. are not opposed to the corrupt system; they just want to be in charge of it is what I surmise.

        Plus I imagine the wealthy are desperate for a solution that will defuse the situation. And imagine the heroes they’d be, if they support reform that FINALLY, after centuries, puts the banks in their proper place?

        Wealth is not the only motivator in life; honor is a major motivator too or in the case of anonymous support, the satisfaction of doing what’s right.

        Reply
    3. Yves Smith Post author

      With all due respect, what you said is not coherent.

      First, the issue not about “poor lending decisions” per se. It is that generally speaking, private debt is unproductive and at anything beyond modest levels is a drag on growth. We’ve run lots of posts on this, I suggest you bother reading them.

      Second, your argument about a payment system makes no sense. A payment system is plumbing.

      Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    I think this is entirely right – we are in a period of profound political change – the problem is that the political system in most countries simply can’t adopt in time. In some respects it has come to a greater pass in the UK because the UK has the most sclerotic political system in Europe, thanks to FPTP, leading to three old parties completely incapable of identifying the problems or changing in response to them, but with no possibility of the population dismissing those parties (in the way the centre left has been annihilated in most European countries. Arguably, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Sinn Fein ‘get’ it, which is why they are so successful so far in their regional strongholds. The only English based party that gets it are the Greens, but they have no possibility of getting power under the current system.

    Other European countries have at least the potential to alter in response – you could argue that parties like Pokemon and Syriza arrived too early, before the populations were ready to accept a more radical agenda. But perhaps there is still time. In Northern Europe, many of the ‘far’ left and Green parties see what needs to be done, but they are still afflicted with factionalism and old thinking (just see how the left in Germany and Sweden are hanging themselves on the scaffold of open immigration).

    The reality is that if the left/green don’t take the chance to change, the far right will certainly do so. The far right in particular are well capable of seizing policies that belong to the left, from environmentalism to universal benefits and twisting them into something very nasty. And capitalism (in the form of mainstream business) is always more comfortable with far right bedfellows than progressive ones (see Brazil as a malign example).

    Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          One can learn something about the shadow popular culture by studying the “corrections” which smartphone programs automatically make to real names and words which those smartphone programs are too dumm to understand.

          Reply
    1. Ignacio

      It is a little bit soon to tell but it migth be the case that Podemos reach power in coalition with PSOE if negotiations succeed. Of course this produces ampoules in the stablishment and the coalition will have to proceed carefully if a coup (not literally, something more or less ressembling democratic) is to be avoided.

      Notice also that in Germany, the new SPD leaders abhor from the neoliberal turn of the party and don’t like the coalition with the CDU.

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    1. vlade

      Right now, the polls show likely Tory majority. The polls were wrong before (most recently in 2017), but even very detailed polls that got the last elections more or less right have Tories on majority.

      That said, Labour does appear to pick up some steam (looks like on the expense of LibDem), although it’s not as dramatic as in 2017.

      Given the FPTP, it’s very hard to call the elections even if Tories would have 10%+ polling lead.

      My personal opinion is:
      – Labour majority would be close to a miracle (current odds are somethign like 20:1 IIRC)
      – Tory majority is possible, but a close call. The range of outcomes is just too wide, where a Tory landslide is possible as is just having a very slight majority.
      – IMO, the most likely outcome is a hung parliament (i.e. no party outright majority), with Tories being the largest party. Currently, no-one would be willing to go and support Tories. So the UK could very well end up with another parliament unable to do anything, or supporting a minority Labour govt.

      In case of a minority govt, be it Tory or Labour, it’s almost certain that the price would be at least one, possibly two referenda. One would be on Brexit, the other on on Scotland (I could see this one being conditional on the UK leaving the EU).

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        1. vlade

          “Demonising Corbyn” is an excuse.

          – it was a fact known ahead of Corbyn’s election that most of the UK press would go after him. It’s not a surprise, it had to be factored in – assuming that Labour’s goal was power and hence making a difference. If Labour’s goal was to be in perpetual opposition, that’s a different story.

          – Labour, under Corbyn, got 42% of votes in the last election, only marginally less than Tories. Someone who gets this many votes cannot be excused as “press is against me”.

          A lot of people will not vote Corbyn not because of press, but because they do not believe in him anymore. He squandered a lot of goodwill post 2017 elections.

          As a counter-example AOC + Sanders are getting tons of hostile press, but still can deal with it way better. I believe that either of those would steamroll Tories. Definitely under May, and very likely even Johnson.

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            I am still unsure about it vlade, though evidently, your opinion is by far more informed than mine. Resisting a hostile press is quite difficult and I cannot compare the extent of hostility against Sanders & AOC vs against Corbyn but for what I have seen the one that Corbyn suffers in one degree above the former. When a name is so frequently associated with negative reporting it is very difficult to overcome. Probably Corbyn hasn’t been good at it and represents the typical dogmatic left that goes with some counterproductive intellectual superiority complex. I don’t know if this is the case. It is true that Sanders and AOC are well focused but it may be easier in the US with a far too neoliberal landscape in politics.

            Thank you for correcting my ortography! Haha

            Reply
            1. templar555510

              People of my age ( 70 ) can’t see Corbyn as anything other than an old Leftie regardless of policies. McDonnell is terrified of the City . Bernie doesn’t want to leave the less than warm embrace of the Establishment Democrats . The public need a lot of convincing and as yet there is no coherent ‘ message ‘ . And all against the background bleating of a failing corporate media desperate for any little crumb to keep them in business. Sorry folks, it’s going to get worse before it might get better.

              Reply
              1. Ignacio

                Thank you for sharing your perspective which i find convincing. Bernie doesn’t look old-fashioned to me despite his age. He uses the power of the net to bring popular support and his proposals are fresh air in US politics. It seems this is not the case of Corbyn. Bernie is, as much as possible, ignored by media while Corbyn is attacked, probably because he is succeptible to such attacks no matter how false they are.

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            2. vlade

              I do think that Corbyn is getting a lot of flak – more than other Labour leaders before. I do think it costs him some voters. But I do not believe it’s the main reason why Labour is not ahead.

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              1. Ignacio

                OK. I give you the credit you deserve and believe you are right. Just let me note, from my foreigner perspective and as an example, that I can only recall Corbyn’s image with an angry expression. Is it true that he is always angry?

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          2. a different chris

            I don’t have your knowledge of politics for what is across-the-pond from me. However:

            1) Knowing that “most of the UK press would go after him” isn’t enough to actually overcome that. I know my height is against me when it comes to dunking a basketball, try as I might knowing that information has never led me to succeed in such.

            2) Last election was last election. Labor did not “win” that election in any useful sense. Almost gets you nothing, and you may well have peaked. Your enemies (for instance, the UK press) can not only keep on sharpening their arguments against you, your supporters are as likely to become discouraged as they are to be fired up.

            And 3) – how is AOC + Sanders a counter-example? I adore both of them, but when I put on my reality goggles they have only two real victories, an upset over a Democrat in a very left area and Senator of one of the tiniest states in the US.

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            1. vlade

              1) but that is exactly the point. Do you complain you were never in the NBA draft because of your height? If you knowingly choose to handicap yourself before the race, you’d carry the consequences, and not complain that the race is rigged.

              2) Yes, he didn’t win (and I point it often to various Labour fans who say how good the 2017 election was). But for someone who is claimed to be “demonised”, 40+% support is pretty good, isn’t it? More than a lot of other Labour leaders over the years, who had much friendlier media. Blair, when he won a landslide in 1997, got 43%. In 2001, he got about the same % as Corbyn in 2017, but about 3m less actual votes.

              3) Both AOC and Sanders entered knowingly races where they were badly handicapped, but instead of complaining about the handicap when on to do pretty damn well. Yes, Sanders lost to HC. But again, you did not hear (from him) complaints on whether the race was rigged or not. He run it, and managed to do extremely well.

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  5. Watt4Bob

    Seems to me we are living the unintended consequences of the successful manufactured consensus, a grab-bag full of what passes for good ideas, but ends up being a disaster, including the ideas that socialism = communism, American is exceptional, and can do no wrong, Mr. Market is self-correcting, and like The USA, is inherently virtuous, organized Labor is greedy, and must be defeated by what ever means necessary.

    The list goes on.

    These ideas, this consensus was so strongly cultivated that it is now standing in our way to a new future, and the fact that Joe Biden can claim any constituency at all, let alone be the choice of a majority of ostensibly ‘left-leaning‘ voters is proof.

    We still suffer the lingering effects of the ‘Red Scare’, and it has left us with a wide and deep tendency towards McCarthyism.

    It doesn’t help that half of even organized labor believes that organization led to their being ‘‘priced out of their jobs’.

    And what can be said of those who believe Russia has a large influence on our elections, but partisan ownership of electronic election infrastructure does not?

    It seems to me that Trumpism and the Brexit phenomenon are not a new trajectory, but just the latest fronts in the full-court-press to loot and pillage, and the invisible hand that is clearly poised to ‘help‘ Britain ‘Privatize‘ the NHS is proof enough for me.

    And who is honestly describing the ‘help‘ we are administering to Ukraine?

    We’re not facing reality if we believe that Trump and Bojo are the face of the enemy, they are just the inevitable result of fifty years of manufactured illusion perpetrated by a hysterically greedy elite.

    And too many of our electorate are convinced that wealth is indicative of virtue.

    Neo-Liberalism may be dead, but it’s still walking, maybe even marching, in jack-boots.

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  6. Vegetius

    >The supposed identity that drives some to support this objective is that of a, quite literally, dying part of our society.

    No, that IS your society.

    Reply
  7. Daniel Raphael

    This is the comment I wrote under my inclusion of this article in today’s compilation of news links (something I do every day via my blog, and which will go on for many more hours today):

    I’m including this because it is written by the site’s editor/owner, and the last part of it summarizes her own perspective–which is explicitly anti-socialist, the same old “better business” capitalism that foolish smart people like Senator Warren want to tinker with.  The editor makes a short rejection of “old style socialism,” which suggests she knows there’s more than one take on ‘socialism,’ but that gets no discussion from her at all.  She sees “no need” for it…but then, who *needs* democracy?  And that is the essence of socialism. 

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  8. lou strong

    “So, if you want to understand why we must have epochal change it is because the business community, now only too well aware that they cannot solve the biggest challenges that we face, whether they be poverty, climate change, inequality, falling productivity as conventionally defined, or prejudice in its many forms, is saying that this epochal change is required”
    Really? If you say that the business community is aware of her own inability to solve the above challenges, you kind of imply that the very business community task is to solve these epochal challenges.
    In my petty and narrow-minded view, I always thought that the business community task and interest is to maximize profits and safeguard her higher hierarchichal position inside societies .
    So probably my same narrow-mindedness prevents me from understanding , beyond the author’s prediction of a bigger state, which will be the characteristics of the new paradigm . But, wait, weren’t states’ balances become bigger , not so long ago,mainly in order to rescue private aka business community debts ?

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  9. Harry

    Very good piece. Tories will probably win (although not necessarily with the necessary majority) but it will fix nothing.

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  10. Susan the Other

    I believe change is happening too because our corporations need help. The breakdown in social prosperity is impossible for them to fix and still compete. They will push for change. One thing I do not understand is that some of the nonsense about M4A comes from the corporations. Not just the medical ones. They don’t seem to realize that M4A will help their competitiveness. With the cost of private medical insurance taken off their balance sheets they will be in a position to insure the pension fund and pay better wages as well. So, just to be clear, some corporations are backing Liz – but she has got it wrong about taxing corporations to pay for M4A just as if they were still paying toward employee med insurance policies. That won’t fly very far because it will not alleviate the overburdened corporations who are presently externalizing their costs as fast as they can. Her plan to pay for M4A is not a good plan at all. It should be money spent directly from the treasury to the hospitals/doctors whose costs and prices in turn will be controlled. Pharma as well. So that M4A done properly will, in effect, promote a better international outlook because it will actually help our corporations. I will be horrified if the UK NHS contracts off its programs to the US medical industry. That will be a step in the most wrong direction of all – for both countries. And especially if it is all co-opted by PE.

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    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Since corporations are run by people, and those people and their fortunes are deeply enmeshed in Neo-liberal ideology, I’m not sure they are as in tune to what the drums of change are saying as they are to the fact there are drums.

      I imagine they are putting a lot of the “rumors” of radical change down to populism and are still solidly in the “gov. assistance for us” camp but in so far as they still need human workers at all, keep them in as much poverty and stress as possible to inspire immediate, desperate and unquestioning compliance. Workers who ask for higher wages are identical to slaves who ask for freedom. It’s unnatural. Spooky. To be disciplined out of them at all costs.

      I’m not sure whether or not Murphy is being a bit tongue in cheek in his summary of all the things international big money is “aware of” or willing to ponder in terms of the failure of Neo-liberalism.

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    2. notabanker

      Corporate health care costs are fixed. Variable costs and risks have been passed on to the consumer. There is little upside to change the cost side of the system. Conversely, they are all drunk on profits from it. Everyone is benefiting. Banks, Consulting, professional services, IT, print, manufacturing, energy, every sector is making huge profits off of it. Cutting waste out of the system means huge downsides to change. Not gonna happen.

      Prepared to be horrified. The US will absolutely make a play for NHS, and the UK will be so crippled by Brexit they will have no choice.

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  11. DHG

    Nope, it will not usher in an era for the people, the wicked rulers are to continue to strangle the rest of us until God says enough and steps in to wipe away this wicked system once and for all. It is now at our doorstep

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  12. Oregoncharles

    “What This Election Proves Is the Need for Epoch Making Change” – which is not what the article proposes. It is in fact mild-mannered to a fault.

    To me, ” Epoch Making Change” would mean an overturn in the party system, as other countries have seen recently, or at least some truly new policies. As it is, the only “epochal” change is Brexit itself. Long run, it will make international finance less dominant in Britain. Trouble is, it may also lead to more laissez-faire for the plutocrats, as well.

    Of course, if it leads to the breakup of the UK, that would be epochal, too. Is that what he had in mind?

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