Managing Capitalism

The UK Parliament has just two dominant political parties. They both sing from the same hymn sheet and shift backwards and forwards between left and right depending on the mood of the country. So in the past year we have seen very confident Tories following their rightwing instincts suddenly reconsidering their position in the face of a revitalised Labour Party. If anyone doubted they are both continuing to compete for the best way of managing Capitalism, in spite of the renewed use of the term “socialism” rather more frequently. It’s less easy to understand the Tory’s abandonment of the Single Market after Theresa May’s passionate defence of the free market at a bankers’ shindig recently when the Labour Party are defending it in their latest Manifesto and Keir Starmer has insisted that its support is continued at the 2017 Conference in Brighton.

Individual Labour MPs are among those who have individual managed Capitalism very effectively on their own behalf. The “revolving door” that is Westminster allows lobbyists entry and MPs are prime targets as they are offered this or that perk. Tony Blair has shown his mastery of the system very effectively. It might be expected of former Chancellor George Osborne who holds down countless jobs, some of which he earns thousands at the block of an eye. So we’re all in it together?!

What is it we’re all in together. Basically it’s become known as “Neo-Liberalism”. Even its staunchest champion, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), if we discount the European Union, is asking if it’s oversold! Has it gone too far? They even remind us of its origins and who first extolled its virtues!

“Neoliberalism: Oversold?

Finance & Development, June 2016, Vol. 53, No. 2

Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri

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Inside the stock exchange in Santiago, Chile, one of the first countries to adopt a form of neoliberal policies.

Instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion

Milton Friedman in 1982 hailed Chile as an “economic miracle.” Nearly a decade earlier, Chile had turned to policies that have since been widely emulated across the globe. The neoliberal agenda—a label used more by critics than by the architects of the policies—rests on two main planks. The first is increased competition—achieved through deregulation and the opening up of domestic markets, including financial markets, to foreign competition. The second is a smaller role for the state, achieved through privatization and limits on the ability of governments to run fiscal deficits and accumulate debt.­”

Along with Globalisation a large proportion of those claiming to be on the “left” have adopted it hook, line and sinker. This includes the British Labour Party and TUC. A few unions such as the RMT and ASLEF supported Brexit from the left. The Socialist Labour Party led by Arthur Scargill has steadfastly opposed it over many years.

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