Saturday, March 05, 2011

How we got here...



  1. So the gist seems to be this: we bold Westerners have created an open space in which completely free individuals can truly produce and this situation is completely unpredictable. Once created this space is nature itself. Any restriction on this space is seen as odious and even any criticism of it, any suggestion that effects can be determined beforehand is seen as “sinister”. As Bork so desperately assures us there is NO evidence that an oligopoly behaves like a monopoly. Therefore this insistence that it does must be due to some intellectual cabal.

    All of which reminds me of that ridiculous scene about 200 pages into Atlas Shrugged (which is as far as I could get) where Hank Reardon, his secretary and his client all simultaneously lapse into a stunned, uncomprehending silence as they encounter the ultimate evil: a government regulation restricting business.

    It’s a truly impoverished Mickey Mouse morality.

  2. If one were to ask Ms. O'Bannion if capitalism is worth the human cost of the existence of that "lower twenty percent," do you think she would say "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it"?

  3. Atlas Shrugged - yeah its amazingf but I think that book did inspire a lot of the ideologues and policy ridiculous but was popular and they seemed to say yeah it sounds ridiculous but it appeals to a sufficient chunk of people irrationally, and everyone else we can terrorise and coerce.

    The key thing was pace, long periods of seeming rationality and then these lurches "forward"(backward), followed by another long period of apparent calm and adjudgement, but these periods get shorter, and now the ruling class is finding the limits, it has to ease the foot on the accelerator.

    There's a lot of interesting stuff to read on Naomi Klein's site for shock doctrine, where she has all her source docs posted.

    Letter from Margaret Thatcher to Friedrich Hayek

    February 17, 1982

    "Thank you for your letter of 5 February. I was very glad that you able to attend the dinner so thoughtfully organized by Walter Salomon. It was not only a great pleasure for me, it was, as always, instructive and rewarding to hear your views on the great issues of our times.

    I was aware of the remarkable success of the Chilean economy in reducing the share of Government expenditure substantially over the decade of the 70s. The progression from Allende's Socialism to the free enterprise capitalist economy of the 1980s is a striking example of economic reform from which we can learn many lessons.

    However, I am sure you will agree that, in Britain with our democratic institutions and the need for a high degree of consent, some of the measures adopted in Chile are quite unacceptable. Our reform must be in line with our traditions and our Constitution. At times the process may seem painfully slow. But I am certain we shall achieve our reforms in our own way and in our own time. Then they will endure."

  4. Ms. O'Bannion if capitalism is worth the human cost of the existence of that "lower twenty percent," do you think she would say "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it"?

    don't know about her, but the conditions for saying that not as an open fascist but as a mainstream democrat took time to create; it really had to be post-collapse of the USSR.

  5. Thanks Molly - I was unaware of that Thatcher letter. It really is astonishing. Of course – you’re not supposed to draw comparisons with Hitler. That would be unsophisticated – an example of “Godwin’s Law” – although I’ve notices that this ban on such comparisons only applies to common garden bloggers and not to the political class who never stop talking about the latest Hitler.
    But Adolf was no fool. He cloaked the unspeakable behind euphemisms like “the final solution”. For all their madness the Nazis would never have transmitted detailed documentary trips round Auschwitz. Thus does Thatcher pontificate about “our traditions and our Constitution” and the casual reader wouldn’t be immediately aware that she is actually speaking AGAINST these things. Her historic mission – as it were – was to dismantle democracy.

  6. there's a lot of good primary sources on the shock doctrine site those it's hard to search, you kind of have to browse.