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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Roy Jenkins paved the way for selfish capitalism

Daniel Finkelstein, writing in today's Times, takes issue with the thesis of pyschologist Oliver James that 'selfish capitalism' is to blame for Britain's current mental health problems.

Finklestein puts forward an alternative explanation: that 'secular liberalism', and not selfish capitalism is the culprit. But it's not a case of either or. Far from being contradictory, secular liberalism and selfish capitalism in fact feed each other. If you operate a selfish capitalist system, you sooner or later get a secular liberal one: nothing destroys spiritual beliefs and 'family values' faster than rapacious capitalism- a process which many Thatcherites still fail to grasp. And conversely, if you opt for secular 'anything goes' social liberalism, sooner or later you get a selfish capitalist economic system. The real architect of 'selfish capitalism' in Britain is not Margaret Thatcher, but Roy Jenkins, whose social reforms of 1960s paved the way for equivalent reforms in the economic sphere two decades later.


TheRedLeopard said...

Both Jenkins and Thatcher were enemies of the working class. Both were acting in the interests of the middle classes (were the working class clamouring for the abolition of theatre censorship, or the privatisation of British Steel?)
Now the middle classes talk about the destruction of our society. Oh, the irony.

David Lindsay said...

Quite, except to add that of course precisely one global institution has always said all of this in a sytematic and coherent way, and that that institution is the Catholic Church.