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January 09, 2023



British capitalism - whether you call it neoliberalism, financialization, rentierism or whatever - has failed most people; even before the jump in gas prices real wages were barely higher than they had been 15 years previously. If you are going to talk about economics, then, you must either talk of big change or defend a system that works only for a minority...

[ An exceptional essay. I am so grateful. ]


It's simple, they don't have a solution to the Economic problems, so you throw a dead cat on the table to distract everyone. Wokeness, (Anti)Racisim and the biggest of them all Degrowth and Climate change.

What better way to deal with lack of growth than climate change and degrowth.

Capitalism is working as intended, transfering wealth from a majority to a 'elite' minority, so they can maintain thier portion of a delcining pie.

The Labour party is at the front of this from Starmers - What is a woman, Ed Millibands climate reperations, to the Labour energy policy, Health policy and Employment policy, all of which would shame an intellegent ten year old.

An Energy policy based on 'Green' solutions of which we have an excess, Health on non-existant private sector staff, and employment helping people into bullshit and none existant or casual/zero hour jobs at poor wages and Tory economic constraints.

Economists are apparently puzzled by Britain's latest and fundimental decline, well we could go back to the seventies oil shocks and/or Neoliberalism/Financialisaton/Renterism.

But their is another factor, that muddies the GDP waters.


So, counting back four decades from 2012, gives use 1972, the first oil shock was 1973 and then a second in 1979

Governments from 1979 onwards have enjoyed income from North Sea Oil (on a declining basis). So Mrs Thatcher could use the resource curse to devistate Britain with the exception of the City.


"UK oil production has seen two peaks, in the mid-1980s and the late 1990s"

By 2007 North Sea oil was half it's peak production.

Back to the Guardian
"Boasts that the black gold would retool British industry proved utterly hollow. If anything, oil added to the woes of manufacturing, since sterling's status as a petro-currency drove up the exchange rate and made exports uncompetitive."

So Thatcher destroys the social fabric of the UK, and the politians buffered by North Sea oil, see the North/South divide (exasabated by the closure of the mines) move from a line between the Seven to the Humber to the residual Golden Triange, that is the British economy. The withdrawl of the oil tide just shows the elite/politians have been swimming naked.

"Even more worryingly, acute energy dependency looms."
The UK on Norway and Netherlands, Europe on Russia, not to mention the UK selling real estate, off to Kuwait etc.

It's not a case of 'Don't look up' but 'Don't look down', like Wile E. Coyote, the elite have already run off the edge of the cliff, and the supportng ground has disappeared.

Guardian again.
"An entire era can be summed up in three words: discovered, extracted, squandered."

An Epitaph for UK energy/economic/social policy. But the City Laundrette continues it's spin for now. Defend it is then, or Distract!.


What if truly democratizing the economy means giving up on productivity?

What does higher productivity do for me, if the authoritarian left will happily hand me over to Chinese prosecutors for claiming the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident happened?


«With the economy flat-lining, tricky questions arise. [...] In short, who do we throw under the bus? These are nasty trade-offs. Which many don't want to talk about. [...] Better for them that they retreat to the comfort zone of culture wars.»

But all parties are thatcherite, so all issues that matter have been settled long ago; also there are no trade-offs between booming living standards for rentiers and bigger capital gains and rents.

«One facet of political power is control over the agenda: [...] we are not talking about the failure of capitalism»

Which failure? Capitalism is working very well: fewer real resources are being wasted on "losers" and are being transferred to "winners", and there are enough of the latter to win elections, and in any case all major parties are on the side of "winners", so the "losers" cannot get representation.

Capitalism would be failing if capitalists were doing badly, but that's not yet happening, and when it looks as if it may be happening, the government has a "money no object" attitude to fixing things.

The questions are when doubling-up stops working and when imports become unaffordable.


«"An entire era can be summed up in three words: discovered, extracted, squandered."
An Epitaph for UK energy/economic/social policy.»

One of my usual quotes is relevant here:

A 79-year-old retired carpenter in Cornwall: «who bought his council house in Devon in the early 80s for £17,000. When it was valued at £80,000 in 1989, he sold up and used the equity to put towards a £135,000 fisherman’s cottage in St Mawes. Now it’s valued at £1.1m. “I was very grateful to Margaret Thatcher,” he said.»

For millions of people like there has been no squandering: literally trillions of pounds have been redistributed from the lower classes to them by Thatcher, Blair and their successors (except Major and Brown). Not wonder they are so grateful.

Also unlike industry the best thing about redistribution is that it is highly ecological: every pound more gained and consumed by property owners is one pound less earned and consumed by renters and buyers, so it has zero extra carbon and pollution impact, unlike production, which is very hard to do without some unpleasant side effects.

«But the City Laundrette continues it's spin for now. Defend it is then, or Distract!»

The people who are very grateful to Thatcher, Blair and their successors (except Major and Brown) have also written them blank cheques on nearly everything, as long as they get their huge price and rent increases every year.


«whereas left and right used to at least agree upon what the issues were, this is now less true. Historically, left and right disagreed upon economic issues:»

At least in the UK... Here is a report from the 1950s by the humorist George Mikes, "How to scrape skies":

«In England you know for instance that the Labour Party is for the nationalisation of various industries and the Conservatives are against it.
In America such ideological clashes hardly ever occur. [...] The difference between the two main American parties is very sharp and well defined; it is more marked than the difference between Communists and right wing Democrats in any European coalition government:
(a) one party is in, the other is out;
(b) one party wants to stay in and the other tries to get it out.»

and another one from Eugene Gore-Vidal:

«There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party [...] and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt — until recently [...] and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.»

The situation in the UK has changed to be similar to that long-standing in the USA. So our blogger is writing about the search by the marketing experts of the major parties for secondary differentiators (as in "Indian Bicycle Marketing") that might get "traction" with some groups of voters.

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