The End of Reagan-Thatcherism in Economics, Culture and Politics?

Lumpy Talbot

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Thatcher certainly wasn't concerned about miner safety when she made the premeditated decision to build up coal reserves and then provoke a confrontation with the miner's unions as a union-buster on a divide and rule strategy.

that was probably the most infamously divisive internal political decision in the UK I've seen in my lifetime. Well, up to Brexit. Another Tory idea based on jam tomorrow and to hell with the consequences of reality, which the goons will pay for anyway.
 


owedtojoy

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No human should have to mine coal underground.
.... because we will stop using coal, which is much more toxic (orders of magnitude more lethal) than nuclear energy.

Or start using detoxified coal.
 

owedtojoy

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How work will change is a massive issue, much bigger than people realise.

For example, imagine America takes lots of jobs back from China .... however, they will not be the same jobs. Chances are they will have been largely automated, and the new factories will employ far less people.

Even construction jobs are going to change ...

 

Golah veNekhar

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Black Lives Matter is a social justice movement. They are not running for office, nor are
the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Equal Justice Initiative, others mentioned in that article. Big companies usually contribute to movements like these - if they are non-profit, there are tax breaks. The organisations chosen depend on the company management.

Facebook are among the organisations listed, and it is well known at this stage they are in the tank for Trump. But the donations are declared openly and no secret.

You need to look at "Dark Money" flowing into American Polticians and Media Organisations. some of it from Russia, China or Saudi Arabia. Some of it is through shady "mezzanine" companies in elaborate hierarchies.



PS Billionaires are unlikely to fund organisations that talk big about taxing the wealthy, or favour the environment and renewable energy over fossil fuels.
The Koch Brothers are NOT the "Radical Right" and do NOT fund the Radical Right. They do fund "Hard Right" groups, individuals, etc, etc, basically the likes of Ben Shapiro. However when it comes to issues of ethno-nationalism and Theonomy- the things which in our days define the Radical Right- they are firmly on "Left Liberal". Issues such as race are good at divide and rule, distractions and making people feel good about themselves while they indulge in cut throat capitalism.
 

Buchaill Dana

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I think the cult aspect of Economics and the weird compulsion to seek out and declare a guru in Economics is really quite off-putting when it comes to considering Economics as a science. It and its practitioners practise some very naive behaviour for a science which is supposed to be rooted in an understanding of human discourse in trade.

There always seems to need to be a guru. Alan Waters the academic economist who told Thatcher what she wanted to hear. Bernanke for any number of Presidents at the Fed.

Extremes in economics, the hard left and the hard right appeal only to some and the extremes need a populist to buy into their extreme before it can capture the mainstream. If it is a science, and it has a claim as it uses statistics, albeit very selectively at times, then economics must be a weaker claim on science than psychology for example. You can practise escapism in economics for quite some time as we saw in the 1990s and early 00's in Ireland but you can never take a holiday from psychology.
What?

What economists claim its a science?

Are you deliberately removing the word social from social science?
 

Buchaill Dana

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There is some interesting things happening economically to battle Covid. The neoliberal argument that Central Banks can't fight recessions so shouldn't try has been ripped up and we are back to full Keynsian mode with monetary and fiscal policy dovetailed as CB's buy debt from the market, liquidate it then sell bonds to give to central government. If this works, and so far it has, its a huge nail in the Reganite school's coffin.
 

parentheses

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It should be said the centre ground of Anglo-American politics also signed up to neoliberalism under Clinton and Blair.
 

farnaby

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It should be said the centre ground of Anglo-American politics also signed up to neoliberalism under Clinton and Blair.
Kinda. They talked about "a Third way" between capitalism and socialism but it was actually in between neo-liberalism and social democracy.

Blair in particular was all about unleashing the markets ('finishing Thatcher's job') while importing 'choice' and 'customer service' into the public sector to supposedly make them more efficient. What actually happened was that the same old inefficiencies remained, glossed over by management speak, paid for by the late-90s/early-00s boom years. And 'choice' in e.g. education was between the free sh1te school, the hard to get into grammar school, or private.
 

owedtojoy

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The Koch Brothers are NOT the "Radical Right" and do NOT fund the Radical Right. They do fund "Hard Right" groups, individuals, etc, etc, basically the likes of Ben Shapiro. However when it comes to issues of ethno-nationalism and Theonomy- the things which in our days define the Radical Right- they are firmly on "Left Liberal". Issues such as race are good at divide and rule, distractions and making people feel good about themselves while they indulge in cut throat capitalism.
All I get from that word salad is hair splitting over what is Hard Right and what is Radical Right. And I am none the wiser after reading it.
 

owedtojoy

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Kinda. They talked about "a Third way" between capitalism and socialism but it was actually in between neo-liberalism and social democracy.

Blair in particular was all about unleashing the markets ('finishing Thatcher's job') while importing 'choice' and 'customer service' into the public sector to supposedly make them more efficient. What actually happened was that the same old inefficiencies remained, glossed over by management speak, paid for by the late-90s/early-00s boom years. And 'choice' in e.g. education was between the free sh1te school, the hard to get into grammar school, or private.
Under Blair and Clinton, at least the social welfare safety net was preserved, and was seen to be a necessity, no matter how it was adapted.

However, it is in the sights of the New Right, who see it as an obstacle (along with larbour unions and market regulation) to the return to the Victorian Gilded Age.

Since the Right did not reconcile itself to the "Third Way", and continued to assault workers' living standards and rights, the moderate Third Way is dead on the left, also. For example, this Democratic party has many who can be described as Moderate, but they are also to the left of the Party that won in 2008. And, correspondingly, Republicans have probably moved farther to the Right. The Centre is getting hollowed-out.

What is striking about the political Right, is how it uses Libertarian language, but is un-Libertarian in practice. No Republican politician is a real Libertarian, even Rand Paul who sought the label.
 

owedtojoy

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There is some interesting things happening economically to battle Covid. The neoliberal argument that Central Banks can't fight recessions so shouldn't try has been ripped up and we are back to full Keynsian mode with monetary and fiscal policy dovetailed as CB's buy debt from the market, liquidate it then sell bonds to give to central government. If this works, and so far it has, its a huge nail in the Reganite school's coffin.
Pretty much a good summary of the economics part of the OP.

Though, I am not sure if we are back to "full" Keynesian mode, because the money supply bit of Quantitative Easing is Milton Friedman-ish. Hayekian good housekeeping of austerity, "taking the punch" and letting mass unemployment and poverty "flow through" the body politic, maybe for a generation, is the path to Fascism.

I think Thomas Piketty is the economist who may be "in" for the next political generation. He was the first to highlight big-time the growth in inequality during the Reagan-Thatcher era. Basically, for the ordinary mass of people in the west, R-T has been a failure.
 

Golah veNekhar

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All I get from that word salad is hair splitting over what is Hard Right and what is Radical Right. And I am none the wiser after reading it.
Sarcasm does not suit you- the Koch Brothers are Hard Right economically however there is a qualitative difference between being that and being supportive or sympathetic even to the Radical Right, the Radical Right for instance believes in ethno-nationalism which is bad for business and/or in Theonomy (Divine Law in other words) which gets in the way of "flexibility" as regards the demands of the market. That is not hair-splitting. There is a gulf between Leo Little Girls' socks and the National Party here, no mind between Leo and Keith Woods. The book you put forward as evidence of "Big Money" funding the Radical Right referred to "Big Money" funding people like the current leader of Fine Gael and Ben Shapiro, not even people like Paul Gottfried no mind Tom Metzger. Much of the Radical Right is actually not exactly pro-Free Market Capitalism.

"Big Money" does not support the Radical Right and indeed sees it as a far greater enemy than it does most of what passes for "Leftism" today in the Anglosphere which it sees as doing certain of it's jobs for it.
 

Buchaill Dana

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Pretty much a good summary of the economics part of the OP.

Though, I am not sure if we are back to "full" Keynesian mode, because the money supply bit of Quantitative Easing is Milton Friedman-ish. Hayekian good housekeeping of austerity, "taking the punch" and letting mass unemployment and poverty "flow through" the body politic, maybe for a generation, is the path to Fascism.

I think Thomas Piketty is the economist who may be "in" for the next political generation. He was the first to highlight big-time the growth in inequality during the Reagan-Thatcher era. Basically, for the ordinary mass of people in the west, R-T has been a failure.
But the point is they aren't taking the punch. Some on the right are complaining that the CB bond purchases are not letting companies fail. We are seeing monetary policy designed to stop mass unemployment so this is different and maybe new, maybe the 70's again done right.

Either way, the Bernankes of the world are being ignored.
 

Cnoc a Leassa

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Good post, not sure how Owed could like it when he is a major advocate of identity politics which in America should have followed greater economic equality and not proceeded it.
Many major intellects are now saying that the 08 financial crisis followed by 'occupy wall street' send absolute panic through the plutocratic ranks who turning to their anyalsts for rescue were encouraged to promote divide and rule among the masses.

I'd like to hear your ideas on a 4 day work week. I'd operate it on terms that if you want to work extra it has to be in a different activity e.g a nurse works as a bus driver, a banker can teach maths, a carpenter can learn nursing. Those who are happy with 4 days would not need to be falling behind financially as disrupting lifestyle balance would be a negitive. It would however definitely open up opportunities, more awarding careers etc. I would really see those availing of a secondary job as transitioning from one career to another.

Taxes would be lower in many countries as welfare bill falls. Roll it out in conjeunction with a 'liveable wage' and maybe a mininum wage for under 20s and the first 6 months for new employees (although hit hard unscrupulos employers exploiting)
I can respond to that question with a working from home account from NY. (From a long time credible source just in case there is any doubt)

During the Covid lockdown in NYC, a senior banking exec was required to come into his office in Manhattan each work day as his work involved assessing loan collateral and legal documentation associated with bank loans over 200mUSD and this documentation could not leave the office.
Subordinate staff in the office were required to work from home.

About two weeks after the NYC lockdown the exec got a desperate phone call from one of his subordinates pleading to be reclassified as an essential office worker, as he could no longer cope with daily life routine at home. The request was unsuccessful.

A different story emerged with a different subordinate. The daily phone calls start to take a troubling turn, and after many days, the exec called the cops in an upstate NY town where the subordinate lived and asked them to go check on the colleague. The cops found that this person lived alone. They found him hiding in a corner in the house. He had not washed or shaved or been out of the house or eaten any substantial meal in a few weeks.

Perhaps extremes, but I am not a fan of working from home or the 4 day week movement.

owetojoy at post 40 would also be my view, in summary “The vision of the better communal future for the middle class and working class died a death in the Reagan-Thatcher years.” .

So where to now. The plutocrats have the global colosseum of social media to keep the distractions running and undoubtedly this is what they will do. The plutocrats will give ground on anything but their wealth. As I see it, the priority is an incremental recalibration of economic liberalism. The potential political leadership for this re-calibration may come with Biden’s choice of VP running partner, or a new EU vision for member states post Brexit.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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No
What?

What economists claim its a science?

Are you deliberately removing the word social from social science?
Well I would hesitate to call it a science. Never been convinced that economists are convinced either. I wouldn't know how to go about describing social science except to say that the two words sit fairly uneasily alongside each other, like Technical Drawing. What I produced was neither technical nor a drawing but the teacher did courageously if hesitantly accept it as an effort.
 

parentheses

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@Cnoc a Leassa above. " The plutocrats will give ground on anything but their wealth. "

Consider how relaxed corporate America seems to be about the Antifa and BLM protests. Compare how the Occupy Wall Street movement was treated some years ago. IIRC nearly a full spectrum of Federal and local law enforcement was used to surveill and nullify the Occupy movement. And Occupy was relatively peaceful compared with the protests of 2020 IIRC.
 

Buchaill Dana

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Well I would hesitate to call it a science. Never been convinced that economists are convinced either. I wouldn't know how to go about describing social science except to say that the two words sit fairly uneasily alongside each other, like Technical Drawing. What I produced was neither technical nor a drawing but the teacher did courageously if hesitantly accept it as an effort.
Good for you. Nobody else does either.
 

Splodge

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Under Blair and Clinton, at least the social welfare safety net was preserved, and was seen to be a necessity, no matter how it was adapted.

However, it is in the sights of the New Right, who see it as an obstacle (along with larbour unions and market regulation) to the return to the Victorian Gilded Age.

Since the Right did not reconcile itself to the "Third Way", and continued to assault workers' living standards and rights, the moderate Third Way is dead on the left, also. For example, this Democratic party has many who can be described as Moderate, but they are also to the left of the Party that won in 2008. And, correspondingly, Republicans have probably moved farther to the Right. The Centre is getting hollowed-out.

What is striking about the political Right, is how it uses Libertarian language, but is un-Libertarian in practice. No Republican politician is a real Libertarian, even Rand Paul who sought the label.
Clinton gutted welfare.......


 

toughbutfair

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I don’t believe the 1979 UK Labour Party or Jimmy Carter would be electable today. Thatcher probably wouldn’t but Reagan would win.
 

owedtojoy

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@Cnoc a Leassa above. " The plutocrats will give ground on anything but their wealth. "

Consider how relaxed corporate America seems to be about the Antifa and BLM protests. Compare how the Occupy Wall Street movement was treated some years ago. IIRC nearly a full spectrum of Federal and local law enforcement was used to surveill and nullify the Occupy movement. And Occupy was relatively peaceful compared with the protests of 2020 IIRC.
I cannot recall Antifa doing anything worse than spoiling Tucker Carlson's dinner. Enlighten us.

Compared to the series of murders and foiled plots of the Hard/ Radical Right, Antifa is small potatoes.



 


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