« Capitalism's bad incentives | Main | The costs of suppression »

October 10, 2017



Russian proverb:
"Everything Marx told us about communism was wrong...
Everything Marx told us about capitalism was right"


Chris Leslie, being a good example of a type, really doesn't deserve the label centrist – its far too suggestive of reasonableness. As you say it isn't good enough to rest all argument on past records, they have crumbled; it's not going to work. He/they sound intellectually reasoned: but actually its all dependent on an ill-educated audience (aka oppression) and or the easy insult of Populist, aka racist extremists. This is not a winning strategy; more a public display of hopelessness. How do you find the patience to take them seriously?

gastro george

Leslie apparently doesn't understand what the term Marxist means, he's just using it as an alternative term for "leftie". Which doesn't bode well for any other analysis he might offer us.


I like your point about the loss aversion and risky choices.
I suggest that this also explains the popularity of centrism, which is still more or less dominant.

A vote for centrism is a vote to maintain a very unequal capitalism.

Within this capitalism, there is still a small chance to become a capitalist oneself.

So the dispossessed vote to give themselves this opportunity at the expense of their peers.

A vote for any radical socialism would remove the opportunity for this payoff.

If you already think you are a potential millionaire then socialism is a vote for a certain loss vs centrisms improbable gain.


There should be no place in the Labour party for MPs who would ban those who have different opinions.


I agree being rigid and inflexible is a poor basis for winning political arguments and being effective. A good politician can look at problems from different perspectives and work out an effective strategy. It is not just the old centrists in labour but May and her tory party who are stuck for any good ideas and rigidly set on crashing out of the EU and possibly depressing the economy for decades by an inability to actually make rational choices and any firm offer about the post brexit relationship of the UK with the EU.

bruce wilder

"If centrists are to become a serious political force again, they must stop equating who they are with what they believe, . . ."

ah, but what if their political opinions are acquired for affirming self-esteem, a consumer good like designer jeans. fashionable, but like fashion, affirming the status quo with change that leaves fundamental relations unchallenged?


«no place in the Labour party for MPs who would ban those who have different opinions.»

The constitution of the Labour Party bans anybody from membership who don't support the aims of the party. For the simple reason that they belong in some other party.
Should there be no place in the Labour Party for its constitution?


«a real economic fact – that a decade long stagnation in productivity»

That is a highly controversial "fact" as "productivity" is very hard to measure, especially in a service economy, and in the twisted post-JB Clark notion of "labour productivity" there is mixed also the fertility of land.
As mentioned many times, even before the 2008 recession, the "labour productivity" of the mining and energy sectors had declined a lot, because of the fall in oilfield fertility.

«has caused stagnation in real wages»

That "caused" is not entirely agreeable as "real wages" are not merely dependent on "productivity", but on distributional issues too, both with other types of income and within the wage category.

A fall in productivity growth has not had a uniform impact at all: high end wages and business and property profits have continued to zoom up, while average and below-average wages have fallen in real terms. How can that be explained in terms of "productivity"? Not so easily.


«"productivity" is very hard to measure, especially in a service economy»

As to this, in a lot of service sectors the statistical bodies assume that GDP = GDI; obviously under such an assumption per-pound productivity is going to be absolutely flat, and per-hour productivity then depends solely on hours worked.


I have huge reservations about the illustrative graph that purports to show 10-year productivity growth 1770-2016, but the obviously notable feature of it is that it has two periods ending 1870 and 1970, of accelerating productivity growth, followed in both cases by sharp slowdowns, and the second peak being significantly higher than the first.

It is for me very tempting, given the time periods involved, to relate them to the diffusion of the coal and oil windfalls through the political economy of the country. Perhaps if someone found a cheaper and more energy dense fuel than oil and its adoption started diffusing we would see a third ramp up.


«no place in the Labour party for MPs who would ban those who have different opinions.»

Send huge apologies to the couple hundreds of trots who were banned for having different opinions? :-)

The comments to this entry are closed.

blogs I like

Blog powered by Typepad