Monday, 7 June 2010


I'm very much with Alistair Darling. I don't profess to be an economics expert (B grade A-level Business and Economics), but I do remember the arguments in the 1990s about how economic globalisation meant the state had to shrink and employment protection laws had to loosen. These arguments usually professed that globalisation possessed the irresistibility and inevitability of a law of nature. As a result the argument was not about globalisation itself, but how to successfully adapt to it. The passing of time has led to some revision. It is now not just a fringe opinion to suggest that globalisation was in significant part a political project. Passing it of as an inevitability had been a cunning ruse on the part of neo-liberals in the US, Canada and UK to justify their attack on the post war welfare state.

In the UK Thatcher drew heavily on the intellectual foundation of Hayek who had critiqued the welfare state as detrimental to liberty and advocated instead a bare minimum safety net. The welfare state is however a resilient and thick skinned beast due to its popularity. In the UK our love for the NHS seemingly knows no bounds; we will happily volunteer, donate and run marathons for it. The neo-liberals therefore had a problem. How best to dismantle institutions without causing unrest and losing power?

The answer to this is to present what you are doing as an inevitability.

... such as the need to reduce the deficit

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