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The whole focus on “bankers greed” is a side show in many regards. As Janet Daly observes  here making excessive pay criminal is a step to tyranny, and it won’t work. That. of course, does not stop many of our politicians who see it as a popular diversion from reality!

“Responsible capitalism”, “crony capitalism”, “popular capitalism” – they’re all at it now. Every political leader in town has affixed a qualifying adjective to the name of that system which is, by universal agreement, the only economic game left on the planet. And that fact – that no mainstream party is prepared to countenance any alternative to free markets – is the most important political lesson of the past week. So the contest now, the one remaining area of contention, is how this system, which is the undisputed winner of the global ideological war, is to be managed. The main question that arose from last week’s eruption of rhetoric was not about the outcome to be desired. There was much vague agreement on that point: more “fairness”, less greed, etc, etc.

Fairness, of course, is a child-like concept for grown ups to pursue but it informs most debate here in the UK.

Janet adds;

 In the meantime, we need political leaders who will ask the most important question about capitalism: can a free-market economy support an ever-expanding welfare state of the kind that Europeans expect as of right, and even Americans are beginning to contemplate? Somehow I think it’s unlikely that we’ll get a rush of speeches on that theme.

Of course not because that would involve politicians actually grappling with reality. That’s never a preferred option in my experience.

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  1. Part of the problem could be the apparent lack of what we might call ‘original thinkers’ among our upper echelons of leadership, both political and academic, and those who generally influence the thinking of ‘the masses’.

    They all seem to worship at the shrine of some political dogma of one kind or another and all without recognising that the social battles of the last couple of centuries have been fought and old scores between the rich and the poor have largely been resolved, even if not completely settled, and that life on this planet has changed irrevocably, and that it could be for the better, if the opportunities presented by a century or more of war and sacrifice were to be taken advantage of.

    The opportunity to move forward with the thinking on democracy and social equity, among many other things, have largely been missed, certainly at the national level if not globally. A start would be the recognition that ‘welfarism’ is a failed experiment, and is an insult to both the giver and the recipient.

    Current thinking bears more resemblance to traditional style battles between friend and foe than the discussions of united, cohesive, civilised communities whose future has at least a chance of a long term sustainability. The concept of ‘winners and losers’ is well past its ‘sell-by’ date. In a civilised community even one loser, is one too many.

    Apart from the practical sciences just what advances have there been in what we might call the ‘intellectual’ arena over the past sixty years? – strikes me that they have been few, seemingly paying more attention to worshipping the historical rather than using it to explore and discuss the way forward.

    The handwringing over the lack of employment in the industrialised nations, is a case in point. This was realised years ago, as a very real upcoming problem by a relative few, – and not even the brightest of ‘thinkers’, – when the digital age dawned, and it received scant regard, with proposed solutions which cannot work, but which sound so good on the soap box.

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