My socialist rant
Warren Buffett: “There’s class warfare, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
Interesting article on research indicating the very wealthy will become richer and the poor poorer as we come out of recession here.
As we get older we’re supposed to slide politically to the right. I find myself going the other way. In fact, I am now persuaded that the Tory party in the UK and Republicans in the US are, at root, little more than organizations funded and steered by the very rich and big business to act economically always in the interests of their rich backers. They are conducting class warfare. My cui bono test strongly suggests as much, for example.
The real triumph of these organizations is to have persuaded even the less well-off to vote for them. They have succeeded by means of a combination of religion (in the US), a libertarian philosophy of “individual responsibility”(which repackages the naked self-interest of big-business and the rich as a noble bid for human freedom), “trickle down” voodoo economics, and smears and fallacies such as the supposed “culture of dependency” (see e.g. Mitt Romney) and “politics of envy” (and other ad hominem fallacies).
As Thomas Frank (What’s The Matter With Kansas?) sadly notes:
“This situation may be paradoxical, but it is also universal. For decades Americans have experienced a populist uprising that only benefits the people it is supposed to be targeting. In Kansas we merely see an extreme version of this mysterious situation. The angry workers, mighty in their numbers, are marching irresistibly against the arrogant. They are shaking their fists at the sons of privilege. They are laughing at the dainty affectations of the Leawood toffs. They are massing at the gates of Mission Hills, hoisting the black flag, and while the millionaires tremble in their mansions, they are bellowing out their terrifying demands. ‘We are here,’ they scream, ‘to cut your taxes.”
The trick will be to provide an alternative vision of what our countries, drifting ever more economically rightwards and becoming ever more unequal, could look like.
Sweden, for example, which continues to have a highly successful economy even while taxing heavily and progressively to fund its excellent free schools, excellent free health care, excellent benefits, and so on. Or Denmark, which runs a fully comprehensive state-run school system widely acknowledged to be one of, if not the, best in the world.
These countries also demonstrate comparatively high levels of social mobility, unlike the UK, which beats the United States to the title land of least opportunity among these nine developed countries.