Saturday, December 10, 2011

How I'd stop neoliberalism in its tracks

This piece of mine appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website:

Neil Clark: If I had a Tardis, I'd save the world from the relentless march of neoliberal capitalism by going back to the 1970s

So, we're heading back to the 1970s. Well, at least that what some respected economic pundits are saying.

Of course, they're speaking metaphorically, and in fact the nearest we're going to get to the 70s is watching the regular Thursday night repeats of Top of the Pops on BBC4 and the Saturday night reruns of Dad's Army. But if it were possible to travel back in time to the decade of flared trousers, Opportunity Knocks and Fawlty Towers, I'd set the controls of my Tardis to 1 March 1973.

Here's why.

You can read the whole of the piece here.


Douglas said...

I would go back and show Lord Beveridge how Friedrich Hayek would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.

I might go back to the 1930's in America, and tell people that Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune was right, that the New Deal was Communism in sheep's clothing, an un-American expansion of government.

ICTY Watch said...

I would compel the ferry companies operating the Ramsgate-Ostend and Dover-Dunkirk lines to take pedestrian passengers. Why don't they?

Anonymous said...

Great article Mr. Clark. You really show why people in the First World must care about what happens in the Third World.

The people of the developing world have had to suffer under austerity regimes and other schemes created by global capital through its institutional vehicles such as the IMF. Now people in the West are getting a taste of the medicine.

Frankly, more people should have opposed this sort of thing when it was happening in Latin America and Eastern Europe, but too many people were fooled into thinking various economic bubbles constituted real prosperity and that people in the poor nations needed the "discipline of the market." First they came for the Chileans...

Neil Clark said...

Douglas: You won't be surprised to learn that I don't agree with you about Hayek or The New Deal. If you oppose the New Deal, what would you have done re the unemployment problem in the US the 1930s?

Rory: good point. Bring Back Sealink!

John: Many thanks. 'First they came for the Chileans'. Absolutely.

ICTY Watch said...

Thanks for that link. Very interesting. You can still buy rail/ferry tickets for the Harwich-Hook of Holland line (as used by GK Chesterton's Father Brown). I assume you could also buy similar tickets for Belgium, because SeaLink operated the Ramsgate-Ostend Line. The whole Belgium coastline has a tram service so it would be ideal for foot passengers.

Neil Clark said...

Thanks, Rory. The Belgian coastal tram service is excellent. As indeed is all public transport in the country.

When you travel around Belgium on their public transport you realise what a disaster privatisation has been in Britain.

Vladimir Gagic said...

Great post, I don't think many so-called progressives know that neoliberalism came about by the explicit hands of Pinochet.

By the way, I really wish you would get on twitter.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Vladimir, Pleased you enjoyed it- many thanks.

Douglas said...

I would have begged Herbert Hoover to listen to his Treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon, who urged Hoover to “liquidate” and “purge the rottenness out of the system.” Alas, Hoover did the opposite. Hoover didn’t cut federal spending, he doubled it. He established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. He propped up wages and prices. Indeed, he launched the New Deal.

FDR attacked him for profligate spending, and then did what Hoover did, only twice as much and four times as fast.

If you want to know what lessons of history we've failed to learn, just read the newspaper. I believe we are recapping the 30's, with George W. Bush as Herbert Hoover, and Barack Obama as FDR (and not in a good way)

You may wish to consider the book "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes, a challenge to the conventional wisdom of the unqualified goodness of the New Deal.

neil craig said...

I would go back to 1968 and try to persuade the tradiyional left not to let the "new left" run the show and to persuade the Soviets to learn from the prague spring rather than suppress it.

Up till then the "left" was, at least in intent, a progressive movement committed to human technological progress.

Then in the west it became a haven for the ecofascists - the most literally reactionery anti-progressive movement since they stopped burning people for reading the Bible in English. In the east bureaucracy stifled progress and when Gorbachev took over it was too late.