Friday, May 10, 2013

The Conservative Left

. Friday, May 10, 2013

Henry Farrell's article on the plight of European democracy in the face of "technocratic" management is very good reading. 

Tangentially related is this bit from Thatcher making a similar argument ex ante



Which is not to say she was anti-Europe. She wasn't. Alex Harrowell put it well:
[T]he European Union has not turned out to be the nice alternative to Thatcherism it was sold as in the 1990s. ... 
The policies it delivers – open trade, austeritarian macro-economics, open capital flows, no real redistributive budget, and a permanent war on inflation – are basically nothing Margaret Thatcher would not have welcomed. ... 
Thatcher was a European; it’s Europe that’s the problem.
Except that Thatcher rejected the central bank, which is Europe and thus the problem. Harrowell says truthfully that the UK was pegging to the German mark for much of Thatcher's tenure, but that was a choice which was easily reversible (and was in fact reversed) as soon as it became disadvantageous.

The longstanding left political project -- internationalism plus a strong welfare state funded by capitalism -- contains as many contradictions as capitalism itself. So what's the left to do? It's adopting the tone of the right. By the end of his life Tony Judt couldn't really be more conservative. Farrell's essay suggests that this is the only plausible path forward, and it's not a good one.

2 comments:

Ronan said...

Yeah I always viewed Judt as deeply conservative (in the best sense)

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/may/13/austerity/?pagination=false

I sympathise with the position, but think it;s getting a little out of hand

LFC said...

"what's the left to do?"

I'm not sure, obvs., but thought I'd mention that Gar Alperovitz's latest bk seems to be getting a bit of attention. Will post something brief w a couple of links at some pt in the coming wk, I hope. (I gather it's more-or-less focused on the U.S., which is prob. a pt of criticism right there.)

The Conservative Left
 
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