Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Failure of the Modern Political Class

The unemployment rate stands at over 8% of the population. Millions of the remaining 92% are underemployed, eking out a living with part-time and temporary work, relying on the state to pick up the slack. The economic future rests on a knife-edge, dependent on the decisions of politicians and bankers in other countries. Children who have not yet been born are expected to pay for the living costs of people alive now. People alive now, whose ancestors may have lived in the same place for generations, are expected to pay for the living costs of people who have only just arrived here. Basic personal freedoms are left unprotected and unvalued, while the financial, political and social elites are able to act with impunity, regardless of the detriment to others. This is not some kind of apocalyptic vision, this is Britain today. Who is responsible?

Our Leaders

Ordinary citizens cannot be blamed for our situation. While they may contribute to it, the ability of the people to determine their own destiny has been stripped away over the years. The people are, and feel, powerless. Those on both the traditional political left and right are equally to blame for our current situation. No-one in power genuinely challenges the state and its role; some may tinker around the edges, but they do not address the debate in terms of the relationships between the state and the individual. They address it in terms of how the state can make changes to the way things work. That is where our political class fundamentally fails, and is likely to continue to do so. To the political ruling class, we need to add the economic ruling class, as the two are heavily linked. Our economic system is heavily corporatist, working in the same way as the government does to entice people in to a sense of false confidence in rulers, and leaving them unable to do anything for themselves. Just as the government paralyses people with tempting promises of cradle-to-grave welfare benefits, so the banks do with offers of money back credit cards. These things benefit people financially in the short term, but in the longer term, they leave them unable to exercise their basic personal freedoms, as they are trapped in dependence, taxation and debt.

What Can Be Done?

Libertarian politics does not (unlike many forms of political thought) offer a quick fix. What it does offer, is a return to real, human values. Free from dependence on the state, people would be free to rediscover their ability to help themselves and to co-operate to help each other. As humans, our nature is to help each other on a local scale. This can be seen all over the world from cooperation to hunt and farm land to groups trying to invent solutions to environmental problems and intervening on behalf of a stricken friend to help them turn their life around.

Stripped of the need to do so by the state, we no longer do so. A system based on local economics, real free markets and devolved politics, rather than the faceless part-corporatist, part-socialist system we have now would not suffer the kind of collapse we are seeing now. The current economic failure is a failure of corporate capitalism, not a failure of free markets. It is also a failure of our elites to recognise the dangers inherent in their own system, and to protect us from them. While promising to help the people and keep them from harm, they failed to work to prevent it.

What Will Be Done?

The EU and national governments continue to work to try and limit the damage their policies have caused. The difficulty is, the cause of a problem is rarely the solution to it. It is looking increasingly likely that Greece will have to leave the Euro and default on its debts. That could cause a domino effect, with other hard-hit countries including Ireland, Spain and Italy possibly following suit. It is difficult to see how the currency could survive given that scenario. There may well be more bailouts, with the rotten system we have being further propped up with the tax money of ordinary people. This may be an opportunity for new ideas to spread, as people begin to get angry. In Greece, all kinds of smaller parties have emerged in the wake of the crisis. There is not yet a coherent libertarian movement there, but the appetite could be there, as it could be in the UK. There is a real need for genuine alternatives to be presented to the people, so that the people can begin to determine their future.


  1. Quite brilliant stuff Mimi - not much more I can add.

    Corporatism and Gangster Capitalism have an awful lot to to answer for - it makes me laugh when people blame 'the free market' for the mess Europe is in. If only...

    If the Eurozone collapses, then the EU itself will follow, which can only be a good thing. We may be 10-15 years away from this but the federalist nightmare is one that needs to be stopped if we are to get back to the sort of society where individuals can create wealth, jobs and prosperity without let or hinderance.

  2. Yes, I second that! Brilliant piece actually. What seems to be happening, almost before our eyes, is the democracy of ordinary people being stripped away, simply so that we can't in any effective way challenge the rich and powerful and the elites who are only interested in getting richer and often to the detriment of everybody else. Yes, real grassroots democracy is being killed off right before our eyes.

    And it really doesn't matter what mainstream party gets in, their all rich boys or become rich boys, so they certainly don't want to rock the boat, or should I say gravy train, anytime soon!

  3. Agreed, indeed.

    I think we also would agree that the cause of the current crisis has been malinvestment caused by artificially cheap capital, caused by artificially low interest rates, and the devaluation of the media of exchange caused by fiat currency backed by nothing more than the whim of those in power.

    Yes. A manufactured mess it is.
    It may also be deliberate policy in order to channel the wealth away from the common folk into the pockets of the those with their sticky fingers on the levers of power.

  4. John, the clue as to what the Eurozone is up to probably lies in what was once their flagship policy, the CAP.

    Once you start removing the problems associated with failure and producing goods or services that cannot be sustained in the marketplace, this is where we end up.

    The never-ending strings of bailouts could easily be renamed the Common Recovery and Adjustment Policy, or CRAP for short.

  5. the banks are to blame for all this crisis situation