40 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. @Katz you mentioned neoliberalism but refused to define the term or who self-identifies as one. I just discussed the few who are to the left of this encompassing sneer.

    Social democratic policy was not replacing liberal policy in 1942. As Peltzman observed, Governments at the start of the 20th century were a post office and a military. At the end of the 20th century, governments were a post office, a larger military and a welfare state.

    The studies starting from Peltzman showed that government grew in line with the growth in the size and homogeneity of the middle class that was organised and politically articulate enough to implement Director’s law. Director’s law is the bulk of public programs are designed primarily to benefit the middle classes but are financed by taxes paid primarily by the upper and lower classes.

    After the 1970s stagnation, the taxed, regulated and subsidised groups had an increasing incentive to converge on new lower cost modes of redistribution. Reforms ensued led by parties on the left and the right.

    More efficient taxes, more efficient spending, more efficient regulation and a more efficient state sector reduced the burden on the taxed groups so they fought back less. Most subsidised groups benefited because their needs were met in ways that provoked less opposition.

    An improvement in the efficiency of taxes or spending reduces political pressure for suppressing the growth of government. the economic reforms in recent decades saved the welfare state.

  2. Jim Rose @26: “As Peltzman observed, Governments at the start of the 20th century were a post office and a military.”

    This was not the case on a certain large land mass in the south-west Pacific, where British colonial governments assumed a central role in economic development, a process called “colonial socialism” by some but more accurately characterised as statist developmentalism.

  3. @Katz I thought Robinson was making the point that Marxist predictions for that time had failed and the loss of prospects “of a suburban home and a motor car” made a poor revolutionary slogan.

  4. That’s true Rog.

    But Robinson was arguing that Marxism ceased to attract supporters because workers were enjoying a measure of prosperity.

    By 1942 there were several reasons for this prosperity. (Although, let us not forget that Britain was fighting a total war.) Among the more important were redistribution of wealth via taxation and government intervention in industrial relations. Moreover, in 1931, Britain finally and permanently abandoned the Gold Standard. That act represented a huge confiscation of the wealth of the moneyed classes.

    I need hardly observe that both of these policies were toxic to 19th century liberal principles.

  5. @Jim Rose
    I don’t get you, Jim. What are you expecting? Even if you were able to demonstrate unequivocally that Marx was wrong about X do you really think this would somehow cause people to suddenly convert to your (magical) ideas about property? Marx is a historical relic. His work may influence modern thought and may interest some people, but no one – apart from religious nuts – actually think that things written centuries ago are the the last word on anything. There’s a serious straw man problem arising from this tribal ideas approach.

  6. Quite so, Jim Birch. If Marx himself were alive today I think that he, being a good historical materialist, would say that his work between the 1830s and 1880s was shaped by the social and economic circumstances of the time, the state of knowledge of the world in that period, and the effect of his own upbringing and cultural background on his worldview.

  7. @Jim Birch

    Actually, in the right hands, comments like those are real “historical relics”.

    However in the hands of those who haven’t a clue what Marx said – it is kiddie-poo.

  8. Jim Birch, the reason the Left over Left hates Blair, Hawke and keating is they once and for all broke the link between Old Left and New Left socialism and the labour party.

    New Labour, the Third way and all that. they even privatised state assets in oz.

    The British Labor Party now says that it is “a democratic socialist party”.

    http://www.nswalp.com/getattachment/dd3e9543-ba30-44d7-ae20-8354463bc8d5/labor-values/ which says that “The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other antisocial features in these
    fields.”

  9. Today was the hottest spring day on record. Internationally data is showing an unprecedented melt of the permafrost.

    Since it’s so hard to keep track, what is the natural “cycle” du jour that deniers invoke to casually dismiss the accumulation of data points like these?

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