The strange death of liberal politics

by John Gray

The strange death of liberal politics

The world is changing in ways the British left cannot comprehend.

As it is being used today, “populism” is a term of abuse applied by establishment thinkers to people whose lives they have not troubled to understand. A revolt of the masses is under way, but it is one in which those who have shaped policies over the past twenty years are more remote from reality than the ordinary men and women at whom they like to sneer. The interaction of a dysfunctional single currency and destructive austerity policies with the financial crisis has left most of Europe economically stagnant and parts of it blighted with unemployment on a scale unknown since the Thirties.

 

Free movement of labour between countries with vastly different wage levels, working conditions and welfare benefits is a systemic threat to the job opportunities and living standards of Labour’s core supporters. Labour cannot admit this, because that would mean the EU is structured to make social democracy impossible. This used to be understood, not only on Labour’s Bennite left but also by Keynesian centrists such as Peter Shore and, more recently, Austin Mitchell. Today the fact goes almost unnoticed, except by those who have to suffer the consequences.

Võib olla oleks John Gray pidanud kirjutama “neoliberal politics”? Mulle endale tundus juba mõnda aega tagasi, et neoliberaalse poliitika lõhkumisega ei saa hakkama liberaalid laiemalt ja vasakliberaalid kitsamalt. Seda teevad konservatiivid. Vabakaubandusest loobumine ja inimeste vabast liikumisest (mõeldud on siin töötamist, kus tänu rahvusvahelistele lepetele pole rahvusriigi parlamendil sõnaõigust selles osas) loobumine saavad olla ju konservatiivsed ideed. Ma küll ei usu, et tänased liberaalid EL-i kontekstis sellele alla kirjutaksid. John Gray näeb seda problemaatilisena töökohtadele ja elustandardile. Ta on üks vähestest, kes sellest räägib. Peavoolu poliitikute jaoks pole mingit küsimust või probleemi üldse ja tema arvates saavad selle vastu olla ksenofoobid või muidu napakad.

About Kristjan

Defitsiidi terrorismi vastase pataljoni eriüksuslane (finantsignorantsuse vastu võitlemise osakond). Treening: MMT, postkeinsism, Tartu Ülikool Majandusteadus
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