Sunday, November 21, 2010
All in our Minds?
Good old boffy continues his incredible commentary – with several pages of original take on the economic crisis. The reading which goes into his blog is quite remarkable – his posts are more like mini lecture and replete not only with classic marxist references but also with up-to-date quotations from a range of financial commentators. Was this guy a marxist trader?? Pity Taleb (of Black Swan fame) doesn’t blog. Boffy’s recent posts put the crisis in historical perspective; suggest that the UK housing market has a lot further to fall (60% has been wiped off the value of houses in Ireland and Spain); and argues that the UK Coalition presents a deliberately distorted, populist view of the crisis which runs counter to the needs of big capital.
My own post of yesterday was inspired by the book Injustice which I had just finished reading. Unlike Will Hutton’s book which comes up with a range of policy prescriptions, Dorling’s book is what I would suppose we would call post-modern – with the basic argument that it is our minds which we have to sort out! We have allowed ourselves to accept the need for elitism, inequality, greed etc and there is little point in producing policy prescriptions until we have shaken off our prejudices. Hence the moral passion and ridicule he pours into his analysis. The recent economic literature on „happiness” which demonstrates that increased wealth gives increased happiness only at low income levels was all very interesting but hardly calculated to inspire revolution. The more recent arguments of Wilkinson and Dorling showing the effectiveness of those societies which are more economically and socially equal is far more powerful – since it begins to lay the moral ground for the attack on the immoralities of the wealthy and powerful. And the attack will come not from government or political parties but from ordinary people. I read an example this morning – of some Manchester United fans who got so sick with the way big capital has transformed their club that they set up their own team and structured it in a cooperative way more similar to that of German clubs. The article refers to other examples in other walks of life.
The UK government is being very clever in the rhetoric it has suddenly started to use – of transforming public services into mutual societies - apparently looking to the unlikely Chavez-led Venezuela for encouragement! I know that New Labour did try to put more support systems in place for community enterprise – and should read this up to see whether enough has been done to make a reality of this rhetoric. Boffy had a useful recent post on this as well. But basically all of this is peripheral as long as elitism is honoured in tax and educational policies.
Another think tank which has sprung up on the equality issues is here.
The lithograph is Tudor Banus' "Saunabibliotech"