It seems completely crazy but at some point in the last forty years, the global elite decided that with collapsing capitalism at home the future was “engineered” (as opposed to organic) “global” capitalism. Not a global capitalism which brought countries into the “freedom family” of trading nations based on contract, choice and consent, but a global capitalism “gamed” in the interests of failing western economies.
This programme promoted by amongst others Bush, Blair and Clinton has failed spectacularly and has resulted in failed states, failing economies, mass migration and the relentless reduction in western workers real incomes and freedom.
It all started just after Ronald Regan left office (or so we say!). A Republican running a massive budget deficit was a symptom of a crisis in the US economy. American capitalism was on its knees and no one seemed able to rescue it. The only option was to go global. To ensure the primacy of the west in this new global reality it had to be gamed promoting the interests of the west above all others.
This global system being manipulated by the corporate/political elite ensured western economic superiority. The problem was that to maintain this broken system debt has replaced profitability. Workers and governments of the west have had to maintain this system, finding themselves promoting the interests of a global super-elite at their own financial expense. We call this process debtamorphosis.
This debt based model hit the buffers in 2007 and will do again as nothing has changed. The “Left” trill that “austerity” is damaging the economy. They are the useful idiots of the global elite. They are exactly what the global elite want. People prepared to pump taxpayers debt into their global system to keep them rich. We call this western model Secular-Westernism.
In addition to getting greater indebtedness to maintain demand in the western economy, the elite and political “Hawks”, realised there was a need to get cash into the failing western worlds coffers as well. They started to embark on a democratisation project that would “help” to rid nations of their tyrants like Saddam in Iraq, None of this met the test of “justice” it couldn’t it wasn’t based on Contract, Choice and Consent. It was imposed by force. Tony Blair still believes it was a “just” war. But “justice” in capitalism means contracted and consented to, not forced. The west in this way was acting like a feudal tyrant.
We believe they accepted that there would be collateral damage but reconstruction contracts would assist in the rebuilding of these new democracies, helping western nations financially. Like everything you can write on the back of a fag packet, this project failed spectacularly.
It failed because the values of contract, choice and consent needed in a democracy are products only of a capitalist system, itself a product of scientific and rational thinking. No other type of economy creates an understanding and a willing application of these principles of contract, choice and consent. That is why they are alien values in feudal, tribal and many Islamic countries.
So having bombed Iraq the western “Hawks” expected a grateful nation to welcome freedom, women’s rights, a free press, self-restraint, toleration of difference etc. Er no. If you understood the rudiments of Marx’s political economics it would have been clear that all that would happen is what has happened, these nations, now broken, have reverted to tribal and sectarian infighting. The rights of women, gay people and Jewish people, Christians and other foreign nationals have been ripped asunder. It’s wasn’t supposed to be like that but that is precisely how it is. There is also mass migration on a continental scale to deal with. This issue is one that is seemingly without an easy solution.
Like the countries from which the migrants come there is no rich heritage of contract, choice and consent, so their economic and therefore cultural reference points are from a period Karl Marx and Frederick Engles called “barbarism”. In modern terms, very many are sexist, racist, homophobic and violent, because that was what it had to be like in traditional pre-feudal economies. The individual faithful can’t be blamed any more than you can blame a westerner for wanting to be a millionaire. Values are economic as well as culturally determined! What however one can say is this. Having introduced people who have values unlike our own how are you going to assimilate them? They will typically not want to assimilate preferring to group with those with whom they share values in common.
To cover their tracks and avoid blame for what has been done to so many western nations, the global elite seems to have the unexpected help of the “hard left” who assist by aggressively shutting down the views of working people with shrill cries of racism, or Islamophobia. For politics supposedly based on Marx’s scientific socialism, these hard left groups are too prone to “differentiate” the working population and are too ready to accept pre-capitalist values.
So, in conclusion, in addition to western workers jobs going east and debt replacing profitability, we have illegal and immoral adventurism on the part of a western economic elite. Seeing that western capitalism was failing, these people developed a strategy of “war reconstruction and democracy building”. This strategy has failed and has led to mass migration. We also have various iterations of a left-wing keen to build a “proletarian army” from a differentiated collection of people with identity issues and this, in the case of shouts of “Islamism”, is being used to silence working peoples natural objection to what has happened to their countries. Kleptocrats and the hard left both on the same page? You really couldn’t make it up.
We have tended to spend a lot of time thinking about the left, in particular, their denial of the origins of our rights in the capitalist system and their failure to grasp the importance of “surplus value” as opposed to debt in any kind of “just” society. However, their critique of the “free market” whilst well intended, has clearly failed to “hit the right spot” at least as far as we are concerned. How so?
Almost total economic reliance on the free market and the financial sector arose in the 1980’s, promoted by neocons like Blair and Clinton. They advanced a range of policies intended to stimulate consumption and therefore create economic growth.
The Western free market became more and more debt-dependent. What beguiles us is that whilst the free market has a lot of capitalisms DNA primarily values of contract, choice and consent which underpin our precious freedoms and liberty, it creates only fictitious wealth. Unlike real “surplus value” generated by capitalism, the free market relies on global labour market differentials and the financial engineering of debt to make a small elite very rich. It also keeps too many people in the West very poor.
It took us at BlueRevolution a while to “click” that the phrase used in the 1980’s to describe post-industrial economics, “a greater role for financial services” basically involved governments and people getting into more and more debt to pay for their and their nation’s consumption. Much of what is being consumed however is made on the far side of the planet so the act of “production” is removed from what should be an economic synthesis of production and consumption. A balancing act of land, labour and capital generating value to be acquired either by capitalists, workers or the State.
What does this mean for morality? Well, it would lead us to conclude that a number of social difficulties arise from this new “free market” model. Firstly to maintain consumption but without production, the economy has to have money fed into it. This is where debt comes in. Italy has debt equal to 135% of GDP. The UK is less but only because of the willingness of its working people to get into debt themselves.
Because we are economic determinists we believe our lifestyles and our morality will become shaped by our material circumstances which are basically indebtedness. One obvious consequence is that we can consume more than is sustainable for the planet to produce, as we can defer payment until a tomorrow that never arrives. Global warming may or may not be man-made but pollution certainly is!
After massive overproduction, the next most significant consequences of the free market model is that wage levels are fixed globally so work goes to the cheapest labour. The mix of land, labour and capital happens in China or Vietnam or elsewhere. This has resulted in a new class developing, not of revolutionary organised proletarians ready to seize control of the “capital” they produce, but a sad welfare and “healthcare” dependent class. This “class” is reliant not on worker produced capital or wages, but government debt for their miserable survival. For this group of second and third generation, ex-industrial workers (millions across US, EU and UK) choices in life are determined not by personal economic realities but welfare entitlements. The big pharma industries are always on hand to stimulate or lobotomise as required.
This is the constituency that is simply awaiting an ideology that makes sense to their hopeless existence and that could be Islamism or ideas from the far right. Certainly, in continental Europe the “free market” is both attracting migrants and then inflicting on them a living hell of welfare and idleness so they are at risk of becoming radicalised in ghettos.
The “liberal left” pretend to understand immigration, however, immigration needs a functioning economic system to proletarianise newly arrived people and turn them into workers with modern tolerant liberal values.
These values are based on capitalisms principles of contract choice and consent. The free market too often fails to find an economic role for these migrants. In the West promoting these values within an inclusive economy that demands their application as opposed to mere appreciation is how we should preserve our rights and freedoms and inculcate them into those for whom such principles seem alien. Particularly when women’s rights are considered.
Finally, after debt funded overproduction and its contribution to planetary destruction as well as the inability to engage all in society in meaningful economic activity, we have the morality of we consumers ourselves.
An economic choice is an important principle, who you work for and for how much is the way we identify worker from slave or surf. However today we have too many consumer choices which with their basis in debt aren’t realistic choices at all. Moreover, too much choice which comes too easily breeds a sense of entitlement that is dangerous when governments try to reign in public spending and thus limit choice. Our binary political system fails because consumers with a vote tend to want more not less hence spiralling national debt. Political parties are no longer able to represent the nation responsibly. People in politics and less party is required.
As the western free market lacks mass collective production people identify themselves as consumers and individuals, sort of unique units of consumption. This we believe explains the death of the “class system” in the Uk. As production is no longer a collective activity but a best an individual one individuals market just about anything they can. This is the West’s Achilles heel. For in the West we can now find a provider for just about any form of behaviour or product we might want to experience. “Industries” are created such as the pornography industry which takes a private non-commercial activity and sells it as a product to be consumed. Eventually, this goes mainstream and erodes our sense of interpersonal morality. It affects how we relate to each other too, we are consumed or the consumer of each other. Divorce perhaps reflects this sad reality.
Some “of faith” view this development as symptomatic of an increasing moral sickness and a sense emerges that our freedoms are to blame. The free market separates our behaviour from any sense of it being wrong, as long as what is produced and consumed has a price within the economy. A lot of groups and ideologies find this is justification enough to try and change our freedom loving way of life.
So, in conclusion, we have a free market loosely based on the values of capitalism but without capitalisms discipline and capacity to combine land, labour and capital to create value. The free market produces vast amounts of stuff for people to consume gobbling up resources and polluting the planet. People get rich within this model whilst others see their jobs go abroad and in the worst cases end up existing on welfare and drugged up in healthcare. The debt dependent workers pay for it!
We need to re-engineer our politics to reflect these economic realities making it more democratic and inclusive, to liberate people from what is becoming an increasingly dangerous and planet destroying economic political and social model.
In classical Marxist theory surplus (economic) value and the role of the workers who both create it and have it “exploited” from them by capitalists, is central to how both capitalism and socialism work.
The process of taking surplus value from workers is akin to theft but that is not the term Marx used, he was perhaps being too polite or more likely he didn’t see capitalism as an unjust system, just unfair. Theft is unjust, exploitation unfair!
The worker works longer hours than he or she needs to, so as to ensure that surplus value is created and in doing so they develop an instrumental relationship to their work. They can’t enjoy it but they have to do it to live. The conclusion we draw from this process is that workers work too much and it is time rather than money that is the basis of 19th-century capitalisms unfairness. The industrial structures of the factory also reinforce the worker’s sense of powerlessness. They are not in control of the industrial processes that determine the pace of their working lives.
This demand for the workers surplus value and the environment within which it is created is the capitalist systems manifestation of the age-old problem of one human, generally male, and holding a superior position taking away from someone else what that someone else has worked hard to create, whilst to varying degrees controlling that person’s life. Every society since the birth of human consciousness has been discriminatory in one form or another. Underpinning this process of discrimination is control by a hierarchy, differently configured, as either tribe, feudal system or industrial hierarchy which causes the worker to feel powerless or oppressed and in the case of capitalism having external control on their work. There is in all societies a trend for control, the controls differ markedly from society to society.
The process of capitalist exploitation gives rise to another classic Marxist theory, the theory of “alienation”. Thus the surplus value taken by the capitalist from the worker is a kind of monetary reflection of the extent of the worker’s alienation.
Alienation is the physical and psychological effect of a worker being exploited. In a strange ironic twist fate for the world, the solution offered by the free market to the alienated worker is the almost limitless supply of goods. The demand for goods by workers has replaced religion as the “opium of the people”. This perhaps explains the success and survival of the free market given it has a debt-dependent and a planet-destroying legacy. People accept being alienated so long as they can purchase goods and the system will produce jobs and goods as long as the debt is available to pay for them.
Now bringing things up to date surplus value is no longer being produced by the capitalist system in sufficient quantities to be taxed by the government and thereby service the social, health, welfare and other state obligations. As a result of western capitalisms failure (it thrives elsewhere!), free market indebtedness has become the means by which the free market a remnant of the western capitalist system, is able to function and produce apparent wealth.
Workers exploitation and alienation have become markedly different since the mid 19th century. Today people have developed a taste for buying stuff made abroad and pay for it with debt that they have to work to pay off. All this in the false belief that spending overcomes alienation rather than reinforcing it, giving alienation in effect a social character. Arguably divorce rates reflect alienation’s social character, people only being concerned about themselves.
The description of capitalism based on a classical model no longer works today as it would have worked for Marx. So what has happened to exploitation, and alienation within the 21st-century free market?
Whilst the impression given by the advocates of the modern western economy is one of promoting abundant goods and services for the consumer, the reality is that it is cheap foreign manufactured goods that mask the continued existence of alienation. In a world with little actual classical capitalist exploitation, how does exploitation still exist and are workers still alienated? We think these are good questions and we will attempt to give a fuller answer here.
Whereas the Classical Marxist worker was not rich enough to get into debt, today the whole western economic model depends upon workers and government debt. What we have is what we at ABlueRevolution call deptamorphosis.
This is the process which sees the worker using their debt to promote a wealthy free-market elite. They do this working long hours often in public service organisations which are still modelled on 19th-century industrial hierarchies. Many earn money paid from government debt, to service their personal debt-dependent lifestyle. This is as alienating for the worker today as it was in the 19th century as they have no influence over their working practices (KPI’s today), nor the ability to escape the treadmill of debt. Just like in Marx’s day the worker has “freedom” to leave the workplace but has little likelihood of using it.
Thus whilst the working environment is a safer environment than in Marx’s day it is no less alienating. Today the worker may be doing work that has little or no economic value, and more controversially little social value either. A state employment system based on hierarchical industrial models and which pays its workers to blame the unemployed because their jobs have gone to China or a health service maintaining a low level of wellness in a system all paid for with debt is alienating for all. This is not an economy free of alienation. Workers don’t feel linked to the people they serve as customers or patients, they are forced to feel a closer link to the system which controls them and pays them. No difference here to the hierarchy of the industrial era and there are huge differentials in pay.
Likewise expecting the worker to become indebted to make “free marketeers” and public servants rich is a new way of exploiting workers that Karl Marx could not have identified if he had lived into the mid 20th century.
Perhaps the solution is to look at where in any modern organisation the social value is created and liberate workers at that level casting out of the organisations the people who have high wages paid to them but they offer little in the way of social value.
If Capitalism had been forced to yield to the dictatorship of the workers, as opposed to evolving into the debt-dependent planet-destroying monster the free market has become, then it is the capitalist and their exploiting hierarchy that would have been put asunder, not the work or the workers themselves. There are lessons here for operational public servants in all departments of the state and the army of 100k+ a year bosses who manage them.
Both main parties have big flaws in their understanding of the landscape of modern economics. This impedes their ability to formulate policies which will empower the working class and lift our nation out of its current diminished, debt dependent and low productive state.
We have done some work on exposing Labour’s 19th and 20th-century parochial simplicities in the face of massive global forces. Now a short but productive journey in Lincolnshire gives us a chance to explore the 21st-century failings of the State and its lazy wizard of Oz-like economics.
Somewhere between Louth and Lincoln in the UK, there is a field on the outskirts of a small town. A large Estate Agents board proclaims “development opportunity/shops/hotel/restaurant”. Nothing too sinister about this of course except that developments like the one proposed here are what has replaced a “real” economy of production, extraction and manufacture which used to support the financial and other sectors. The “productive” energy of the modern economy is the financial sector. The Tories claim that penalising the financial sector will reduce the number of “good jobs”. That may be true.
However if “good jobs” depend on financial engineering as opposed to real engineering then this might be a sacrifice worth making in the short to medium term. These are the kinds of discussions governments should be having with their people as whatever happens real people will be more affected than governments.
The economic model upon which our current ‘growth’ is based is a throwback to Blair and Brown in the UK and in the US the Clinton and “W” Bush years.
This economic model has been described as “post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory”. Essentially the government spends money to stimulate economic growth, investing in education, the public sector and infrastructure projects. To fund this programme governments borrow. To give its early political advocates credit they did believe it would stimulate economic growth. What they failed to grasp was the link between ‘growth’ and personal and government debt, and the global context within which all this borrowing was going on!
For desperate politicians who had collapsing ‘real’ economies, post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory offered the tonic the nation needed. The “cool Britannia” hubris was a reflection of nieve certainty this was the end of “boom and bust”.
America was ahead of the game on the same diet of debt based stimulation. Clinton and his economists also allowed such a poor framework of regulation, adopted in the UK that banks were printing millions of dollars to lend to subprime borrowers who were like an x-factor wannabe convinced they were millionaires in the making. All it needed was a lot of borrowed cash plus that blend of skills that can only be honed eating in fast food outlets and dreaming in front of the mirror and everyone could be a winner! The bankers got the commission, as the whole system shuffled towards collapse.
We all know the fallout both sides of the Atlantic. The banking crisis of 207/8 and bank bailouts to keep the economy alive and supplied with debt or rather liquidity and demand. How did we all end up here?
In simplistic terms, the financial sector in the 1980’s went from being a petit-bourgeois servant of the economy to its very effective master and by the 2000’s was effectively in control of the global economy. The success of financial sector engineering has prevented the collapse of the economies of the Western world due to its ability to mix asset value inflation, debt and confidence in an ever-expanding and planet consuming vortex of consumption and waste.
This is the world we live in today, cars, jobs, houses, holidays, gadgets and consumables. This model forged on the 1980’s hasn’t changed at all. Governments borrow and it flows into the domestic and the global markets, students borrow and after a brief sojourn in the UK it flows into the global markets. People borrow and it flows into global markets. The bigger the government the more it can borrow hence the markets love of the EU and the market’s seduction of the “Remainers”. The EU is a big beast of borrowing.
So what has this to do with a field in Lincolnshire, this borrowing and spending, “Alice in Wonderland” economic model?
Well, our farmland will give up producing food value and be sold creating wealth as the farmer makes money from the land as opposed to off the land. This he or she will bank helping bank profitability. They will also spend it, perhaps abroad, maintaining a bit of the aggregate demand the system needs whilst also fuelling the global markets.
Before the farmers gain in banked, a bank will lend money to a borrower so they can buy and develop the land. This will allow a business to be constructed in bricks and mortar employing local tradespeople and service sector workers. The business will achieve profitability allowing debt to be serviced and taxation paid. Its existence in a small town may possibly force the closure of other similar businesses putting those properties back on the open market, so the financial sector can turn the crank again, releasing more equity perhaps. Debt from elsewhere in the economy (government borrowing transformed into public sector wages for example) will provide the demand for this business and its profits will be taxed to benefit the government.
What has gone on here? Well just like in the 2000’s nothing very much. Some confidence based financial jiggery-pokery has allowed some land to be equity released, making a farmer very rich. Debt is used to build and run a business employing people and debt makes it profitable. Oh and according to the Conservatives this process creates “high-quality jobs” which is probably correct in the financial and construction sectors. This whole process is going on all over Europe, America and the West in general and it has nothing to do with creating real economic value. We know it is a caricature, but we believe it is broadly right.
The question for us all is; where does this “economy” finally end and what will the world look like when it does end up somewhere? A planet exhausted by pollution and ecological abuse. A western population who have come to rely on ecological destruction to maintain a lifestyle of debt and alienation. Cultures of faith or ideological simplicity may be ready to step in and force the return of humankind to a sustainable but gender binary harsh and essentially by modern standards abusive existence. The goose and the golden egg spring to mind!
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were clear; however “unfair” Capitalism was, it liberated people from any servitude based on inherited status or gender (as opposed to class) and had the transformative capacity to deliver justice based on the proletarianisation of all workers whether male or female. Their view was that capitalism’s principles (we call them Contract, Choice and Consent) should become enshrined in the brief socialist phase of history, before being seared into a post-socialist society by the “dictatorship of the proletariat”. Liberation from exploitation, of whatever sort (status, gender or class) was Marx’s “riddle of history solved”.
Socialism is, therefore, a phase on the road to the full liberation of workers, not the end stop of that process. To work as it should, socialism needs a profitable capitalist system upon which to feed prior to the “dictatorship of the proletariat” emerging from the socialist state itself.
There are problems with this essentially 19th-century vision today, however, not least of which is the absence of real profitability generated by the exploitation of the worker within a powerful western capitalist economic system. A capitalist system that can be placed initially under the control of the state and then the working classes.
Today it is the western blue-collar workers who finance the Nation State its politicians, banks and well-paid hangers-on. It is equally true that working class people are also more than likely to be of this unlovely collection, cast out into a kind of economic oblivion brought about by global forces, in particular, relatively high wage levels and low western economic productivity.
The free market racketeer who is often passed off as a ‘capitalist’ offshores profits and gets the Chinese government to exploit its workers on their behalf by producing ‘consumables’ in planet-destroying quantities. Globally this is a racket, not a system. It bears little resemblance to Capitalism, it is gamed by powerful forces including candidates like corporations and global investment, as well as unlikely characters like the BBC and political parties.
Is there any good news in all this?
Well yes, there is excellent news. Firstly with capitalism lasting as long as it did, socialism and social liberalism was able to give “social character” to values based on the capitalist principles of Contract Choice and Consent. We now have solid humane and liberal values within a framework of law which protects groups that in primitive (pre-capitalist) societies are hounded, bullied, persecuted or killed. This includes apostates, dissenters, gay people and women seeking liberation from the tyranny inflicted on their gender by state, tribe or caste. Capitalism has left a legacy of justice even though it was unarguably a very unfair system. To fail to understand this distinction between justice and fairness leaves the “socialist” open to the kind of idiocy one observes within the “Marxist” Labour Party today.
Essentially the current iteration of Labour has a misguided view of capitalism’s legacy fetishised into ‘Tory’ hating. They fail to grasp that Western Capitalism is already dead replaced by global racketeering and that their parochial economic plans will be an insufferable burden on the working class for hundreds of years. They fail to understand the origins of liberal values within the capitalist system and so oblivious to real liberalism, hobnob with a collection of groups who like them might hate capitalism, but also hate its liberation of women and others too. They fail to grasp that control, exclusion and coercion are pre-capitalist principles and that by flirting with people who adopt them (and by adopting them themselves) they place the liberty of us all in jeopardy.
Our economic situation is precarious enough with the racketeering of the global elites undermining our Nation States all over the western world, but with Labour, not only do we as workers have that to contend with but the probability under a Labour Government of a slow and remorseless rolling back of our freedoms to Contract, Choose and Consent to take us back to an age of overt State control. Marx and Engles were wary of the State. As with their mangling of the “many and the few” once again it’s clear to us Labour’s ideas are not what Marx or Engels would have had in mind when crafting their beliefs. Consent is not safe with Labour and we should all worry.
The many not the few seems to have its origins in the 1848 Manifesto of the Communist Party and therefore gives some credibility to the claim that the most recent iteration of the Labour Party is Marxist. This suggestion is relished by the likes of John McDonnell who can’t escape from the exciting psychodrama of class war.
It was Karl Marx who scientifically explained the process by which all property is theft, he called it “exploitation”. Workers only had their labour power to sell. The class system required the costs of children to be covered by the worker and a surplus workforce existed which would suppress wages. Between living costs and competing with other workers, it was not possible to accumulate wealth. Together these two features of the worker’s life interfered with his desire to acquire “Property”. Workers wanted property and could, in theory, have it but the wages system made it almost impossible.
The property, of course, does not mean personal property (Hats, coats, furniture etc) but property that consists of valuable and tradable assets like buildings, stocks and shares and gold. The process of exploitation identified by Marx resulted in the capitalist accumulating property whilst the workers essentially paid for it. By buying labour power the capitalist owned the surplus once wages were paid and this surplus value became capital and therefore property. This is why capitalism is correctly identified as ‘unfair’ or exploitative.
Now in Marxian terms, the “many” would be the army of workers all of whom collectively were creating the surplus value necessary to provide the capitalist with his property. The few would be the capitalists who were benefitting from this “rigged” system as John Mc Donnell puts it. It’s not so much rigged… It just is what it is!
Others who benefitted from this system would be the army of bankers, politicians and lawyers and other Pettit bourgeoisie who were able to gain payment from capitalists by reinforcing the expectations and interests of the system, courts upholding property rights for example. Upholding the interests of capital against the interests of workers.
Capitalism is inherently unfair and socialism was seen by many as the brief collective action necessary to enable the worker to claw back a greater slice of the product of his or her labour power. So far so good. A coherent idea framed within the context of the mid 19th century.
From the 1900’s onwards the march of socialism began to address some of the unfairness within the capitalist system. By the end of WWII it was possible to envisage a “socialist state”. A landslide Labour victory after WWII resulted in the nation-state having the power to collectively redistribute the surplus value hitherto appropriated by capitalists, but this time in favour of everyone. The welfare state was born and there was a wealth re-distributive programme and Nationalisations.
This trajectory from 1848 to about 1948 delivered socialism or as near as damn it and thus, in theory, liberated the workers from “exploitation” by capitalists.
To be fair to capitalism the economic principles underpinning it which we at Blue Revolution simply describe as “Contract, Choice and Consent” have not only endured over the last hundred years they have taken on a “social character”. So we now enjoy these principles as a matter of routine in all aspects of our lives. In this respect, the efforts of the Suffragettes, Labour Party and the more recent coalition and Conservative governments have achieved excellent results promoting enhanced rights for women and a huge number of previously discriminated against minorities.
Unlike social progressiveness, however, the economic unfairness inherent within the capitalist system was not really addressed by the post-war Labour and subsequent governments. Indeed the failed efforts of Labour to deliver for the working class needs some analysis because “socialism” did not “liberate” workers in any economic sense.
By the mid-1990’s the Labour Party’s appetite to deliver socialism was in full retreat. Unless one understood what was going on one would be forgiven for thinking “capital” had won. This is still the narrative of right-wing publications and those quick to look to the failure of the old USSR, but it is not so!
Capitalism had in the West succumbed to its inevitable destiny of collapse by around the mid-1980’s. The racketeering free market was engineered by governments and banks to keeps its corpse twitching on the slab for as long as possible. Put simply capitalisms failure was because “surplus value” the holy grail of capitalism, socialism and beyond, was in mature western capitalist economies, non-existent and workers were now under the direct or indirect pay of the government and taxpayer who had no surplus value to work with, just debt.
In the period after WII state industries struggled and then failed to deliver surplus value to the nation, and in too many cases, the nation was subsidising the nationalised worker. This is not how the process is supposed to work. From Steel Yards to Coal Mines the workers were effectively taking on the taxpayer in industrial disputes and demanding a higher slice of taxpayer subsidy. This was the case with all the industrial monopolies and some of the utilities. This was the precursor to the “Thatcher” reforms and privatisations. Even Marx recognised that the rapid growth of capital was an essential element of the liberation of the worker. But by the 1970’s that capital growth based on surplus value was in reverse.
There are two possible theories why no surplus value was created. One is that the workers in failing to identify the nation as having the ownership of capital took on the “management” as surrogate “capitalists” and destroyed their and our nations industrial base. An alternative and the one favoured by us at Blue Revolution is that Western capitalism, even state capitalism in the form of nationalised industries, were by the 1970’s unprofitable and doomed to failure and eventual closure due to global economic factors and in particular wage and pension costs.
Western industrial workers were too expensive to employ and pension. Working classes elsewhere in the world could make the stuff the West needed and the “surplus value” would come by the interplay of global capital and global labour. This phase is our modern economic history saw ‘expensive’ workers being cast aside in favour of Chinese employees and others. Workers saw industries shipped abroad in crates and their children, intended to replace them in the labour market, pushed out onto a diet of welfare and healthcare. The State in the form of the taxpayer picked up the tab. The ghastly word ‘underclass” fails to capture the reality of these people as victims of the failure of domestic capitalism and socialism to deal with global conditions. And the 1970’s model won’t work this time either.
It is difficult to see how Labour will sort this issue out with its programme of nationalisations and debt. The whole world economy has become a machine for papering over the cracks of the failure of Western capitalism to recover profitability sufficient to pay for its State social and other obligations. It now costs the nations of the West trillions to make it look like capitalism still works here.
The substitute for western capitalism the “free-market” system requires state expenditure and obscene levels of personal indebtedness to maintain aggregate demand for products made elsewhere. Labour will sadly add to the toxic mix of debt and declining productivity with their parochial economic policies which can’t address significant global factors and would leave workers outside their financial comfort zone. This isn’t a thumbs up for Remain either, only Brexit gives the freedom to escape debt.
So back to the original point above. Who are the many and who are the few? Sadly within the current economic paradigm just as in the 1970’s the many will be the hard-pressed indebted taxpayers and the few the state political and economic elites and hangers-on. Not quite what Marx and Engles had in mind! They saw socialism and its aftermath as beneficiaries of global capital not sadly inheritors of the national debt!
We have for a long time taken the view that the western world is promoting the most immoral economic system since the feudal system. The only difference now is that we still have principles underpinning our freedoms which were brought into existence by capitalism, such as choice and consent. We believe in the absence of proper capitalism, these are now under threat.
A disappointing obsession with making money by “free-marketeers” has undermined the western working class. Exporting jobs to China, for example, or uncontrolled inward migration to do low skill work. It has turned our western working class into first, second and third generation unemployed and once again defined them by fixed social position and their gender as in the days before industry proletarianised them into a class. The term underclass is applied unfairly to these people, victims of a broken system. Only welfare keeps body and soul together but it is heavily gendered with having babies an attractive lifestyle choice thus limiting girls economic opportunities.
At the same time as work is going elsewhere, there is migration from areas unfamiliar with capitalism’s principles and thus hostile to gay and women’s rights and with a pre-industrial, irrational propensity to rage. Large groups enter Europe from North Africa and challenge the rights of western working and middle-class people who whilst in employment are being systematically pauperised (but that is an issue for another post).
It’s as though the political elite are giving with one hand and undermining with the other. This system of creating and then managing the effects of all this migration and economic change requires massive budget deficits by government and ratcheting debt but its bi-product is that it keeps the ex-workers out of the economy, creates division (note division not violence) on the streets and via gov’t debt allows the whole financial ballyhoo to run for another decade or two. Top jobs and Gov’t contracts funded from taxation with the odd taxpayer-funded bailout in the middle.
Being junkies for money and with no “capital” to trade the financial elite have to find a ready source of wealth from somewhere. Where can such sums come from? Well, politicians running bankrupt states and with taxpayers on hand to pick up the bill.
The issues that no one is prepared to confront is that the global economy is simply being ‘gamed’ to keep our kleptocrats in a style of living to which they have become accustomed, we don’t matter. The system needs to change!
So until it changes our governments will QE, borrow and spend and run ever-increasing budget deficits. All this money slops one way or another into the global economy and makes the financial elite rich, and we all believe it has to be this way.
The solution is complex…..but who is prepared to start the conversation. As in all revolutionary periods, the State is undermining the nation, and the EU its nations.
One of the problems of the modern world is that there is too much emphasis on each of us getting our own way; having what we want; being stimulated for a short time with for example drink, drugs or sex. Such personal preoccupations and obsessions can and do lead to cruelty because we sometimes find we get less than we think we deserve and we can behave cruelly and get away with it because cruelty can be and often is under the radar of the law and decades ago we mothballed our collective moral radar in the drive for inclusivity, making previously immoral behaviours, acceptable. This in itself was a good thing but to hold us together as a society we need some moral principles to avoid social incoherence and a plethora of competing moralities. We will examine how economic determinism can provide a legitimate moral framework that can apply evenhandedly around the planet. To bring life to our ideas we will focus on what we believe to be the Western words seven deadly sins. We begin with cruelty.
The sort of cruelty seen most often but not exclusively is within families or other close-knit groups. Cruelty has to have an element of viciousness or vindictiveness about it as the perpetrators aim is to cause hurt to another as a response to their own error of judgement in getting into a situation they no longer value respect or like.
We rush into ill-considered relationships driven by our urge to enjoy the stimulation and dream-like effects of sexual activity. We don’t stop ourselves from this headlong rush to get “intimate” and indeed there are people who see little harm in promiscuity and “pop up relationships” like you can dial up on Tinder or Grindr.
However the prevalence of promiscuity reflects two fundamental issues closely linked to cruelty; the extent to which people throw away something which should be special; the company of a partner and friend whom they wish to love and cherish, and from whom they should expect the same; and the lack of any consideration about whether any new relationship has long-term social or economic value. This is where materialism comes in. It is always necessary to consider the wider economic implications of especially a free choice.
By the time people realise their mistake there may be children and responsibility plus the boredom of a relationship that has “intimacy” but one neither respects or loves. This is the environment within which cruelty breeds.
It is manifest in a number of acts some easily understood such as adultery, all the way down to causing someone to worry (staying out later than agreed and not returning concerned calls), words of indifference “oh do what you want”, words of irritation “oh go away” to words designed to cause harm “you are stupid/ugly/useless”. These casual acts of cruelty harm the recipients emotionally and ultimately are a sign that the perpetrator and victim have made poor life choices. Often the perpetrator is unprepared to take responsibility for their behaviour. Grinding low-level cruelty causes depression and suicide drug and alcohol misuse.
The proliferation of pornographic material is to meet the needs of men and women trapped into unsatisfactory relationships yet preoccupied with sex. Its overt use can be an act of cruelty itself. Its existence reflects a market driven by short-term socially and economically shallow obsessions with the here and now.
At its most extreme cruelty is domestic violence and child abuse, seen in all too many households. This is the reason that in the western world cruelty is one of the most prevalent of our modern seven deadly sins.
To avoid committing this common modern sin we need to return to a way of life that requires us to consider relationships carefully and avoid getting trapped into situations where cruelty is used as a means of feeling better about ourselves as we cope within a self-inflicted dire situation.With freedom comes personal responsibility, you can blame no one else.
The Western world has since the eighteenth century championed the three principles of Consent, Choice and Contract as a means of protecting the individual in business. These bourgeois legal and economic principles have over the years taken on a social character so we use them in life, in general. We need to observe them as secular moral principles and use them wisely in all our dealings with each other. If we don’t there is a risk that we will leave ourselves open to the claim that we should have morals imposed upon us by government diktat or religious uprising, because without them we simply behave with animal-like cruelty.
Contract, choice and consent when deployed thoughtfully and particularly in all potentially intimate scenarios will provide a framework for respecting others, deter rash behaviour and prevent harm. We have much to gain by re familiarising ourselves with three of the principles of the 17th-century bourgeois revolution.
This is what we are going to say.
Boston like Britain needs to escape the clutches of the party system, where parties switch between “administration” or “opposition” with no workable opinion in the middle. At Blue Revolution we believe our elected members would speak only for you and you should vote for them, not the party they serve or, the party that serves them.
How many times have we as voters seen politicians “tow the party line” against the interests of ordinary people. Nationally, our entry into the EU, tuition fees, the outsourcing of services, the use of debt to maintain services and the exporting of jobs are classic examples of political actions linked to vested interests. Locally we have poor public services, litter-strewn streets and rural isolation. This type of politics happens because people did not have enough of a say in how policy is formed and delivered. Parties we are told know better……we believe that is utter rubbish.
At Blue Revolution, we believe that your problems are our problems. We will be similar in our experiences of life our modest ambitions and frustrations, so we can represent you better than someone putting their party before you. As they do……it’s all anger from the left and inaction from the right!
Please support your Blue Revolution candidate.
Published by Mike Gilbert on behalf of Blue Revolution both of 22 Tower Street Boston PE21 8RX
We at Blue Revolution direct this post to everyone who without modern rights would be subject to discrimination, basically everyone who is not a heterosexual male. This anthropological trope goes back to tribal times. Women had women’s roles and men there role. Homosexuality was a threat to the tribe in numerous ways so punishment for this “difference” was harsh. Adultery likewise. As humankind began to evolve via technologies like farming, maintenance of this primitive “status quo” became a challenge taken up by Leading men for example kings. Since our earliest times, there has been a tension between those demanding economic and social change and those attempting to preserve the status quo.
From biblical times to the late 16th Century little in the known world changed. What had always been wrong continued to be wrong. What needed to continue, continued. The wealth created by the economic activity from Bible times to the 16th century found its way into the hands of an elite. The gender discrimination first practised in tribal times was still found in what has become known as the feudal world. There was no impetus to change this because the world still needed this difference.
Gender difference, prohibitions against “choice” and “consent” and an absence of any “rights” not sanctioned by an overlord was a reality for everyone. However, for women, the first form of fascism was mans’ dominion over them and until comparatively recently all cultures accepted it.
Whilst the wars during this long millennial period were about territory and faith there was little difference in the defined role of the vanquished men and women. What we would describe today as discrimination flourished.
For everyone, men and women there was no Contract, Choice or Consent. This arrived in the late 17th early 18th century when things slowly start to change. Commerce needed the freedom to trade on agreed terms upheld by law and eventually, the old order yielded to new ways of doing the nation’s business. This development can’t be underestimated. Whilst the old tribal distinctions prevailed between men and women, in a legal sense these new principles of contract, choice and consent could in theory at least apply to women too. Man’s 10,000 year dominion over womenkind was for the first time weakened by the birth of capitalism. The history since the 18th century has been the history of an economic model, capitalism, delivering abundant wealth with associated inequality but paying for positive social change most often with a big poke from a progressive government.
The left would never admit to it but the rights and freedoms all minorities enjoy whether they are women, gay, queer or whatever, they enjoy because they are formed from economic rules that have over 200 years acquired a social character. Marx was the first to recognise this process. No one in the West seriously questions these social rights to contract freely, consent to what happens to you and to choose your lifestyle. However, they may be under threat, and not only because capitalism has morphed into a dark shadow self..the crony controlled “free market”.
Our ignorance of where our rights come from plus from the Left-wing an open and vitriolic hatred of capitalism and the free market threatens capitalisms enduring legacy of rights. It also threatens the existence of other benefits that accompany them such as our democratic freedoms of conscience and speech. The challenge is, of course, made more acute because capitalism as it was understood when it was forging our rights, no longer exists. It has been replaced by a crony “capitalist” free market economy which has seen employment exported east and low paid workers coming west. There are legitimate reasons to dislike the free market but abolishing economic freedom and replacing it with government ownership will not protect rights. As in the 1970’s it will turn workers against taxpayers!
This newly emboldened orthodox Left wing in the UK is starting to erode freedom of conscience and speech within the Labour Party. This arises because they don’t understand why legal principles like contract, choice and consent are essential to maintaining a fair and free society for everyone. Look at countries that have not socialised these economic freedoms and you still find discrimination ie certain parts of Africa. Look at countries who have never had to accept these principles and you have a tyranny ie Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.
If you have state involvement in the economy as we have today it is important that the economy is as free as possible. The importance of economic freedom in legitimising and maintaining social freedoms can’t be underestimated protecting things like gender rights is a function of a free society based on a free economy.
The orthodox Left has failed to grasp that whilst economic freedom is bourgeois it must be maintained as it underpins all anti-discrimination policy. This is because people essentially workers or consumers and are therefore able to exercise the same rights whoever they are. The Left’s failure to grasp this makes them fellow travellers with those who oppress others and makes them, and those who support them, a potential threat to our free safe society where everyone now has the same slate of rights.
If the Left pursue their 19th-century agenda they will succeed only in throwing the equality baby out with the bourgeois bath water!