Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
This person, who lectures his entire country and beyond about responsibility and taking personal hits for a greater cause, is sending millions into destitution, poverty and even death for the sake of a gamble to maybe boost his personal neurotic ambitions.

Well - it's more about the destitution, poverty and death of millions being irrelevant to the profit of the small minority of rich lunatics who put Osborne into the job.

The critical mistake is to assume that Osborne has any interest in the welfare of most of the population.

Like most of the Tories, he doesn't. He sees the poor - which includes most of us - as powerless failures who can be lied to with impunity, abused for cynical enjoyment, and exploited for profit and self-aggrandisement.

The democratic problem is making Western populations understand that this is how their governments work.

It's difficult, because it's hard for most people to imagine that anyone can be this cynical, and even harder to imagine that our former flawed but functional social democracies have become Hobbesian nightmares.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2013 at 07:41:21 AM EST
"The critical mistake is to assume that Osborne has any interest in the welfare of most of the population. "

Oh, I realise that. Which is the sense of my conclusion. Might may be de facto right, but it is just wrong.
I know, that's just a moral statement and therefore carries little weight. But the start of any fightback to the current popular apathy should probably be to make it clear that Osborne (and Merkel) are destroying an entire generation for petty personal gains.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Feb 26th, 2013 at 07:48:18 AM EST
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Well - as I said the issue is more that voters still have an expectation that right-wing governments are still fundamentally on their side, but misguided.

Most of the economic posts on ET for the last few years have assumed this.

I think it's more realistic to assume that this isn't true, and hasn't been true since at least the middle of the 90s - much earlier in some countries.

In fact social democracy was a short Wiemar-esque interlude between the usual periods of insane imperialism and capitalist exploitation that dominated the last few centuries of the old millennium.

It's not a given, it's not How Things Are, and it doesn't stay social democracy for long - unless there are political, social, and financial checks and balances in place to keep it that way.

So the way to start a push back isn't to tell people that the government are mishandling the economy, but to explain to them that right and centre-right governments are invariably corrupt, dishonest, and fundamentally abusive, with an adversarial relationship with most of the population.

It's the adversarial relationship that gives it away. Currently in the UK people are still in denial about it, and about how nasty that relationship has the potential to become.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2013 at 09:50:06 AM EST
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Social democracy was based partially on high-paying low-skill jobs that existed in the West for about 30 year after WWII.

Spot on about adversarial.

(Side note: Should we stop buying anything from anything with shareholders?)

by Number 6 on Wed Feb 27th, 2013 at 07:59:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Corruption of Economics

    In time that happy glow of mutuality turned to ashes. After JFK, with his influential economist Walter Heller, the flame burned low; later leaders stumbled in the dark. They relied too simple-mindedly on demand management through fiscal and monetary policy, carrying them well beyond their power to stimulate supply. Thus they lurched into Stagflation: double-digit inflation and recession conjoined. They blamed the war, then the Arabs. They scolded the public, and they called for sacrifices, as leaders always do when they lack ideas. "You must mature and face the facts of life," they lectured. "There is no way to stop inflation except unemployment. Whichever evil you choose, don't blame us, we told you so."[8] Faced with that, the voters exercised a third choice: they retired the patrons of those new dismal scientists.

    Before Keynes there was another great reconciler, Henry George. In 1879, George electrified the world by identifying a cause of the boom/slump cycle, identifying a cause of inadequate demand for labour, and, best of all, following through with a plausible, practicable remedy. Like Keynes and Laffer after him, he turned people on by saying "Forget the bitter trade-offs; we can have it all."

    Henry George came out of a raw, naive new colony, California, as a scrappy marginal journalist. Yet his ideas exploded through the sophisticated metropolitan world as though into a vacuum. His book sales were in the millions. Seven short years after publishing Progress and Poverty in remote California he nearly took over as Mayor of New York City, the financial and intellectual capital of the nation. He thumped also-ran Theodore Roosevelt, and lost to the Tammany candidate (Abram S. Hewitt) only by being counted out (Barker, pp.480-81; Myers, pp.356-58; Miller, p.11). Three more years and he was a major influence in sophisticated Britain. In 1889, incredibly, he became "adviser and field-general in land reform strategy" to the Radical wing of the Liberal Party in Britain, where he was not even a citizen. "It was inevitable that, when (Joseph) Chamberlain bowed out, George should become the Radical philosopher" (Lawrence, pp.105-06). It also happened that when Chamberlain bowed out, the Radical wing became the Liberal Party. It adopted a land-tax plank after 1891 (The "famous Newcastle Programme"), and came to carry George's (muted) policies forward under successive Liberal Governments of Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith, and Lloyd George.

    How could a marginal man come out of nowhere and make such an impact? The economic gurus of the day, even as today, were in a scolding mode, blaming unemployment on faulty character traits and genes, and demanding austerity. They were not intellectually armed to refute him or befuddle his listeners. He had studied the classical economists, and used their tools to dissect the system. Neo-classical economics arose in part to fill the void, to squeeze out such radical notions, and be sure nothing like the Georgist phenomenon could recur.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 28th, 2013 at 06:30:26 AM EST
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Re-reading section I - C at your link reaffirms just why it was so essential for the Tycoons of the late 19th century to spare no expense in creating an alternate economic theory in the terms of which what George was saying would be incomprehensible. J.D. Rockefeller was right in saying that his contributions to what became The University of Chicago were the best investment he ever made. It was the investment, along with that made by Morgan in Columbia, etc. that propagated a form of economics that was completely non-threatening to the wealthy, no matter how feeble its analytic and predictive power. And Gaffney's work is a quarter of a century old.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 28th, 2013 at 04:57:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we bin 'ad, mate... that's the long and the short of it.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 28th, 2013 at 07:01:00 PM EST
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Got an political-economy focused on taking wealth from the producers of wealth to give to parasites and an academic discipline built to obscure the nub of the issue, as the Schalkenbach Foundation puts it:

In today's troubled economy, too many people are unemployed, most have to work hard just to make ends meet, and a few monopolize the lion's share of the benefits.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 06:41:02 PM EST
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