From The Guardian:
To understand why, despite the recent funeral orations, liberalism is very much alive, you have to go back to the 1860s and the abolition of slavery in two key countries. To be precise, 1863, when – in one of the great coincidences of history – the proclamations of liberty for the American slaves and the Russian serfs came just five weeks apart*.
Both liberations were great victories for anti-slavery campaigners, more than half a century after the first successes of the campaign against the slave trade. But they were also great disappointments for radicals. Because, in both cases, the slaves and the serfs were catapulted from bondage into poverty.
In the US, slavery was replaced by peonage and debt bondage. In Russia, the land was valued at three and a half times its market value, and the impoverished serfs had to pay this to their former owners over a period of 49 years. It became clear that it wasn’t enough to release the slaves – you had to release them from debt, monopoly and the economic tyranny that replaced it...
All fine so far, if TPTB 'release' slaves/serfs but allow private 'land ownership' to continue and then collect most of their earnings from them in rent, the former slaves/serfs are no little or better off.
It is as simple as that. And that is pretty much where we are today. Anybody who has to hand over a large part of his earnings to private landlords/mortgage banks is in the same position as a newly freed slave/serf, who in turn is little or no better of than an actual slave/serf.
He then drifts off into a criticism of free trade, which is called 'neo liberalism' nowadays.
Why? What he refers to as free trade is in many cases no such thing, what he is talking about is corporatism, regulatory capture, government granted monopolies and protections, rigging the tax system to favour large businesses etc. Those things are the antithesis of free trade. And in terms of importance, these things are nowhere near as important as private landownership, end of.
* One of my favourite coincidences of history, along with FDR and Hitler coming to power and dying within a few weeks of each other.
Monday, 3 October 2016
From The Guardian:
My latest blogpost: Guardian missing the point most gloriously as per usual.Tweet this! Posted by Mark Wadsworth at 15:39