Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tories against capitalism!

Malcolm wonders if the world, or his small bit of it, has gone insane.

His morning dose of not-very-much from The First Post dropped into his in-box. Far from being "first", it always arrives later than every other news site (except the West Coast US ones, eight hours time difference behind).

Today's ration includes Tory Dilemma: Cameron must reject capitalism to win.

Oh dear: another splutter, need for a change of shirt. Malcolm, you really must learn not to do this and try to drink coffee at the same time.

The piece turns out to be Phillip Blond, philosopher and theologian, who ornaments St Martin's College, Lancaster, which must seem a come-down from Peterhouse, Cambridge. As far as Malcolm can comprehend these things, Blond's essential argument is that humankind has failed to match Renaissance humanist ideals, have proved that humans are not the match of the universe around them, that they fail to "provide their own calibration".

From there it's a short step to "Vote blue and get green", isn't it? Oh, come on, isn't it? Not convinced? Here's our boy's intro:
True conservatism is incompatible with capitalism. Conservatism means a tendency to preserve institutions, traditions and particular ways of life - and when and where has capitalism ever conserved anything?
The surreal thought crosses Malcolm's mind of those last-round-of-an overlong-session discussions: who'd win a fight between a polar bear and a great white shark? He momentarily contemplates Blond tackling the Thatcher-Tebbit tag team.

Has it really come to this? Are the Tories so desperate that they (or some of them) could conceive ditching the most basic free-market principles? Boo and hiss to Adam Smith! Cheers and hooray for E F Schumacher! It gets worse:
... capitalism tends to speak to our lowest desires, producing a society where glamour and advertising go hand in hand with a kind of permanent dissatisfaction and anxiety. All of which creates a culture where people seem increasingly unable to form permanent human relationships.
Now, when Malcolm and his fellow Lefties were young, enthusiastic and not paid by the line, they had a word for just that. One word. Ah, yes! Alienation.

Then there's this:
In the US and Britain, the top one per cent have seen their share of national income rise by around 75 per cent, while in both countries some two-thirds of the workforce have seen real wages stagnate or fall over the same period.
Now, does that somehow relate to this:
Over-production of capital, not of individual commodities — although over-production of capital always includes over-production of commodities — is therefore simply over-accumulation of capital.
Fret not: Dr Blond believes that the Cameroonies have the ultimate solution to life, the universe, the economy, and everything:
... all that changed at this week's party conference, when the Conservatives decided to tackle the scandal of non-domicile residents who live in Britain but claim a tax-free status on the basis of off-shoring their income. Better still, part of the £25,000 flat-rate charge the Tories plan to levy on these super-rich will go towards freeing first-time house-buyers from paying stamp duty.
It must be great to be a philosopher/theologian: one can then ignore all the eminent economists who say that raising stamp duty will merely further inflate property values, that the property market will not stabilise before supply-and-demand are back in balance (i.e. building where the NIMBYs say not).

Malcolm has only one last thought: will a bust of Karl Mark decorate the rostrum of the next Reformed Tory conference? Sphere: Related Content

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