Sunday 1 March 2009

Janet Daley and Global Fabian Fascism

What the US and UK will seek to impose is not a national based corporate fascist state model, but an extension of the fabian international corporate fascist state.

Consumerism funds communism.

The business taxes fund The Servile State.

Political Correctness dominates the social sphere, consumerism dominates the private sphere.

We are trapped between the scylla of capitalism and the charybdis of communism.

This has gone way beyond Lord Myners vs Sir Fred Goodwin. It has even gone beyond Government ministers vs private bankers. This is now an epic battle between Big Government and Big Business. The mud wrestling over who was responsible for the public relations catastrophe of one man's pension arrangements is not just a sideshow: it is a significant metaphor for the ideological struggle which will determine how the history of this economic cataclysm is written. And whichever side succeeds in composing the history will also win the right to run the world.

As Gordon Brown prepares for his first meeting with President Barack Obama this week, the political and economic order of the century is being fought over right now. On the one hand, there is some squalid and empty posturing (Mr Brown's threat to take legal action to confiscate the infamous Goodwin pension pot); on the other, a slew of wildly grandiose metaphysical references to good and evil.

Big Government is roaring back with a hubris and moral self-righteousness that would have seemed inconceivable even a year ago. Some of those architects of New Labour who had professed themselves enthusiastic converts to the idea that market forces were the only source of true prosperity are now reviving the old demonic rhetoric of the Eighties about private greed as the enemy of the public good.

Of course, all this noise is intended as a distraction from the Government's own culpability. But to grant that does not necessarily redress the damage being done to the cause of free markets in this war of attrition. To say that ministers failed only in the sense that they were not tough enough with this bunch of miscreants is to sell the pass. On this reading, Big Government was simply slipshod: ministers were "too soft" on capitalism and they failed in their duty to exercise proper control. So the good people were ineffective and sloppy and thus the bad people got away with their wicked intentions. For all their denial of any responsibility whatever, this is, in fact, the fairy story that the government hopes we will accept in the end.

So it is very, very important that we keep saying this: the economic crisis was not caused by the conscious malign intentions of bankers (given the choice, they would not actually have wished for the current disastrous outcome) but by catastrophic, systemic failures of judgment. In other words, by stupidity rather than malice. It was allowed to happen by governments, not simply because they slipped up in a happenstance sort of way. They were not just guilty of a "failure of regulation". Particularly in Britain (which is why we will be hit especially hard by the recession) government was directly implicated in the deluded belief that the economic cycle had been vanquished, that prosperity was now invincible (remember all Gordon Brown's proud talk of "entrenching stability") and that it was therefore acceptable to take unprecedented risks. This was not an oversight: it was actively connived at because the enormous wealth that was produced (or seemed to be produced) was a boon to Big Government. Did you ever wonder where all that money that Chancellor Brown was able to spend on the public services was coming from? Well now we know: from the tax revenues generated by the gross, over-inflated bubble that turned out to have been based on monstrous amounts of debt. It suited a high-spending government not to ask probing questions about the shedloads of wealth that were being made available to it – and that wild free ride helped to reinforce Mr Brown's absurd belief that he, alone in history, had found the alchemist's miracle: the secret solution to permanent economic growth.

So what does he do now that it has all gone so horribly wrong? He declares war. He refuses outright to accept any responsibility, not only for his government's obvious failure to understand what was going on in the markets, but for the sense in which he positively contributed to the idea that capitalism had now transcended the need to worry about risk. This is now, he wants us to believe, a straightforward fight between the lawless world of private finance and the beneficent protectors of the public interest – himself and his Big Government global allies.

In a speech last week, he laid it on the line: "Our task must be nothing less than to rebuild a financial system where it has failed, and then to create an economy in which banks are no longer serving themselves but are serving the public of this country." To create an economy? Well the "economy" is simply the sum total of people's wants and needs and the means of exchange that serve them. And banks (as opposed to individual bankers) must serve the public if they are to survive. These remarks of the Prime Minister's are simply nonsense. He went on to call for a new system of statutory international supervision and promised that there would be "no hiding place" for banks and firms that sought to evade the law. Well, there never has been. The current difficulties were caused by practices that were perfectly legal. Is he saying that excessive risk-taking will in future be criminalised? But successful capitalism relies on risk-taking – and how do we decide what is excessive except by using judgment and experience? Does Mr Brown plan to make good sense and sound decision-making legal obligations? If not, what exactly is he saying here? Is he out of his mind? Or is he knowingly spouting populist claptrap?

This week he will meet with Barack Obama – who is also talking Big Government vengeance. But Mr Obama, for all his threats to cap the pay of bankers, knows that the US Constitution will never allow him to take over the levers of private wealth creation, let alone entertain dreams of "creating an economy". So he can use the presidency as a bully pulpit without too much fear of having to take actual control of the country's financial institutions. But Mr Brown may find that, out of political desperation, he has talked himself (and us) into demanding that the state must actually run the economy. Clearly, this is not what he would want: even he does not believe that Whitehall mandarins would be capable of directing an entrepreneurial economy.

The danger is that he will be trapped by his own rhetoric and be forced to embrace a form of state capitalism (which is the technical definition of "fascism"). Those who worry about the loss of our traditional rights and freedoms might want to give that prospect a thought.

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Anonymous said...

I suppose it would be too much of a good thing to expect a schism between capitalism and communism.

What I can't figure is that the sub prime, toxic financial instruments, cdo's etc scam, could have been prolonged for ever, so why did they pull the plug when they did?

Did someone accidentally tread on the credit hose and just happened to keep his foot down?

Anonymous said...

Ms Daley alas is like all her colleagues, very nimble on her toes, deftly side stepping the rampaging elehant.