Saturday 8 September 2012

The Parade Is Over Now The Clean Up

Now the parades, the performances, the holidays and all the noise is over, what next?  In the West we have all our politicians delivering a deluge of promises.  If they were money we would all be rich.  But that is what they are trying to tell us, you have been rich and you will be rich again.  Trust me I’m a politician, banker, economic expert or an academic with a thousand published items to my name.

Yet around the web and in the world around me there seems to be a distinct sourness in attitudes and comment on what people are experiencing.  Sometimes it is strident but in most it is becoming the norm.  We do not believe them but we do not know what to believe.

In 1945 we knew that the war had been bad.  At least there was less fighting going on but here and there conflicts were still raging that involved us.  One thing was clear and most of our ordinary lives were not going to improve soon.  In fact it was going to take a long time and there were horrors in Europe and many parts of the world.

Despite all this there was a functioning government system run by people who had a wide experience in many fields and were broadly representative although not wholly.  There were still many disparities and difficulties.  Nevertheless there was still an undertow of disenchantment and dismay.

Now it is all too clear in the West that our governments are not functioning but simply stagger from one crisis to the next.  Our leaders have little experience the world in many respects and are largely professional politicians that have achieved power by default and the ability or resources to achieve entry into that class. 

This has not happened suddenly but is the culmination of several faults that have come together.  To take one example; that of the debate over tax havens.  The Bahamas is about to celebrate its forty years of independence. 

This means that in the early 1970’s the major UK Departments of State under both Wilson of the Labour Party and Heath of the Conservatives in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s were willing to see former colonies establish finance and banking systems that enabled the then select clients of some private banks to avoid taxes. 

Considering the fiscal and economic state of the UK in this period it seems now to be almost insane.  This was going on in the same period as the secondary banking crisis and extensive corruption scandals in both national and local politics.

In an echo of this today governments are still allowing tax breaks and facilities for the top end of the income brackets to be paid for by those with middle and lower incomes who cannot avoid tax.  This time round, however, we know more about it so the disenchantment may become stronger and the consequences more serious.

It is being argued that all that has happened in the last decade means that in the West to have free markets together with democratic socialism has become impossible.  Forty years ago there were socialists who believed that the capitalists would always deliver the wealth and taxes needed to buy off the voters in democracies with high levels of social welfare.

The State has become too involved with the markets whose freedom has now been lost to the major companies and players in various sectors and it is these who now are in control of the State.  There is no going back from this only waiting to see what happens next and then not being able to do much about that makes sense.

In the meantime the majority of us will be poorer, our children’s children will have lost their futures and control will have gone to small numbers of corporate entities based in locations of their own choosing where their activities will not be questioned.

Welcome to the mid 21st Century.  If the global warming theory is correct you may be able to save on the heating bills.  If the cooling advocates are right you will not be able to afford heating.

1 comment:

  1. Politicians and vested interests have made a mess of Western economies and societies. Human beings invariably get more things wrong than they ever get right and somehow the human race survives. The process hurts many to a varying degree this time however we have got wrong big time the consequences of which are going to hurt many many more and in a most unpleasant way. The human race will undoubtedly survive this time but in what manner only time will tell.