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The times we're in

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    Very interesting and engaging article about western civilisation from John Gray- somebody who I often profoundly disagree with yet find inherently interesting. I think there may be a lot if truth in this and is important reading and the gist of it is essentially correct.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics...ight-new-times
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    OP, since you tagged me in this I read the article despite my disdain for the New Statesman

    I'm not in agreement with this article. It suggests that a time of economic upheaval has caused people to run to the power of the state as they wish to flee capitalistic disaster. That's incorrect. People want less of the state because they see the collapse of the banks to be tied to it in as much as it completely enabled it (or so the narrative goes). They voted to leave the EU because the EU is the state these days. Most people just want to be allowed to live their lives and have the state (and the EU) get out the way. Yet migration and over-saturation of people's labour and earning power was also a factor and that is mitigated by a state which actually understands this and therefore enforces borders. I didn't say the case was coherent lol. But still, people realise that the EU is the overpower state, not the UK government and so the vote was against the state.

    However I do agree that the left has failed to grasp what it is that's happening in this age and so it's been left aside. But I disagree with the article's premise that the centre left is finished due to this. There is actually appetite for it and I put it to you that if Labour had someone like David Milliband in the last election, while they might not have won, they'd certainly have achieved results to show that it is very much alive.

    It's easy to look at social media and think that there is this massive polarisation between left and right and a humongous paradigm shift as argued by the author. We see how it's become a life-or-death thing for some people, hence increased amounts of personal vitriol thrown about all the time. But social media is not a true reflection of most of the population's thoughts. Most are too busy actually living productive lives and minding their own business to get involved and they remain sensible and pragmatic. Of course media types are oblivious to this.

    I do notice a fight back against globalism etc but let's be honest, it appears more than it is for the reasons above. Our society is actually rather successful. It just seems less so because complainers are often the loudest and most vitriolic.

    Now again, the above isn't necessarily completed by own view as I lament the eroding of culture we see as a bi-product in all of this and I think the state absolutely has a place in doing things like curbing the cost-of-living crisis etc. But them the shakes. The world is shrinking and it is evolving. Capitalism moves with the times and essentially drives them in many ways. The state is lagging behind and becomes irrelevant as it fails to catch up. Again, this sometimes results in lamentable situations. But most people are just getting on it and concerning themselves with their own lives and their own worries, problems, dreams and ambitions. Beyond that, most don't have the time to give a shyt.............
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    Brexit AGAIN?
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    OP, since you tagged me in this I read the article despite my disdain for the New Statesman
    A lot of it is garbage, but then I've noticed the Spectators going downhill too...



    I'm not in agreement with this article. It suggests that a time of economic upheaval has caused people to run to the power of the state as they wish to flee capitalistic disaster. That's incorrect. People want less of the state because they see the collapse of the banks to be tied to it in as much as it completely enabled it (or so the narrative goes). They voted to leave the EU because the EU is the state these days. Most people just want to be allowed to live their lives and have the state (and the EU) get out the way. Yet migration and over-saturation of people's labour and earning power was also a factor and that is mitigated by a state which actually understands this and therefore enforces borders. I didn't say the case was coherent lol. But still, people realise that the EU is the overpower state, not the UK government and so the vote was against the state.
    Interesting. Although I'm sure he thinks that to a degree I'm not entirely certain in this article that's the main point he's trying to get across. I would argue that most people are statists and don't give a damn about greater state involvement such as Greater CCTV or more police. The abysmal failure of liaise fairs multiculturalism brought about by globalisation had I think contributed to a rise in quasi fascist sympathies.

    However I do agree that the left has failed to grasp what it is that's happening in this age and so it's been left aside. But I disagree with the article's premise that the centre left is finished due to this. There is actually appetite for it and I put it to you that if Labour had someone like David Milliband in the last election, while they might not have won, they'd certainly have achieved results to show that it is very much alive.
    True but then it would have only delayed the inevitable. You can't survive on pragmatism alone and as we will discover you can't survive purely on idealism.


    It's easy to look at social media and think that there is this massive polarisation between left and right and a humongous paradigm shift as argued by the author. We see how it's become a life-or-death thing for some people, hence increased amounts of personal vitriol thrown about all the time. But social media is not a true reflection of most of the population's thoughts. Most are too busy actually living productive lives and minding their own business to get involved and they remain sensible and pragmatic. Of course media types are oblivious to this.

    Im not so sure although in essence I agre: The problem is (and its the same for the tories) that the essential swing voter can't be bothered to become a party member (this includes myself and most of TSR) and these moderate sympathisers whilst far more numerous and sensible are far more fickle and less reliant and tribal than the true believers who in times like this dominate as they need to get the members to get them into power whilst not alienating the voters.


    I do notice a fight back against globalism etc but let's be honest, it appears more than it is for the reasons above. Our society is actually rather successful. It just seems less so because complainers are often the loudest and most vitriolic.

    Now again, the above isn't necessarily completed by own view as I lament the eroding of culture we see as a bi-product in all of this and I think the state absolutely has a place in doing things like curbing the cost-of-living crisis etc. But them the shakes. The world is shrinking and it is evolving. Capitalism moves with the times and essentially drives them in many ways. The state is lagging behind and becomes irrelevant as it fails to catch up. Again, this sometimes results in lamentable situations. But most people are just getting on it and concerning themselves with their own lives and their own worries, problems, dreams and ambitions. Beyond that, most don't have the time to give a shyt.............
    Yeah agree with this mostly- that said I think we've going to have a fight on our hands at some point in the war of ideas. Globalisation alone is not enough.
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    I think there are two strands to this. One has harmed politics as a whole and the other has harmed social democrats more than the right.

    So the global financial crisis itself i think has caused a significant degree of skepticism with regards to the state which has manifested as a turn against the establishment as a whole, this has been amplified by the fact that across large swathes of the developed world, if you are not asset rich then the boom times were modest and the recovery has been slow.

    The damage to social democrats/moderates i think stems from the later point which is that during the previous business cycle a lot of economies posted great headline figures but it was significantly driven by capital growth and not income growth. This meant that while the majority who own their own property felt wealthy, the working classes benefited only modestly. Since many of these economies had governments which proclaimed to be 'fair' and 'progressive' i think that after the financial crisis and the slow recovery (in the UK and USA it has once again benefited assets over income, in Europe neither) that these people who already feel the state lacks the answers now in particular distrust the metropolitan left who never brought what they perceived as fairness and who often talk down to them on issues like immigration.
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    Excellent, it explains the distinction between May and a lot of the NuLab remain establishment(although there are Tories saying the same stuff) nicely.
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    I don't agree with the premises upon which the article is based.

    I don't agree that we are experiencing, or will experience, any major shift in economic policy. State spending as a proportion of GDP has remained flat within fairly tight bounds since the early 90s. We are not going to see the establishment of new nationalised industries; re-nationalising some of the utilities is plausible but wouldn't be a major break from the status quo. There has been no shift against free trade, which is supported by most Leave voters. Hinkley Point was an agreement between governments, not private companies, an act of what he calls industrial policy. Opposition to Hinkley deal is not grounded in an opposition to free trade.

    I don't agree that people oppose immigration because of competition for jobs. In the first place, economic studies show that immigration does not increase competition for jobs, as the job market expands in line with the population. In the second place, low skilled workers who oppose immigration don't necessarily experience more competition for jobs due to immigration than high skilled workers who support it, and compared to many high skilled worker types experience far less. The people most exposed to competition for jobs from immigrants are City workers. City workers are also the most likely to support immigration and overwhelmingly voted for EU membership. People say they oppose immigration on economic grounds because they fear to say that they oppose immigration on grounds of cultural displacement. The working class is more opposed to immigration than the middle class because they are losing comfortable, homogeneous communities. City workers never expected this when they moved to the City and most probably didn't even have such communities growing up, so they don't care. If people were allowed to speak their minds, anti-immigrant sentiment would overwhelmingly be about keeping Britain British.

    I don't agree that immigration was supported primarily for economic reasons let alone for conspiracy theory-like reasons of giving cheap labour to big companies. Blair may be economically liberal compared to Kinnock or Foot but he was still on the left. He had no problem with large progressive income taxes or state regulation of business. Immigration was supported specifically to bring about dilution of the culture in order to destroy British nationhood. This was openly stated by New Labour figures at the time.

    Concisely I think the article misses the woods for the trees. It is trying to graft economic explanations onto recent events. But the real upheaval of recent times has been an end of economic-based voting. More or less everyone is satisfied with the current economic system at least to the extent that they can't explain what they'd do radically differently (certainly Corbyn has not done so). The mixed market economy, like democracy, has become fixed because it is "the worst system apart from all the others". You can't win elections any more with economic policy. Remain was pretty successful convincing people that they had the economic arguments on their side but they lost anyway. Elections are now decided by culture. Brexit was a cultural movement not an economic one. Corbyn is a cultural movement not an economic one. When they make explicitly economic arguments it is usually as a proxy for justifying a stance whose actual justification is not allowed to be said.
 
 
 
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