Neo Liberalism

The gathering financial storm is just one effect of corporate power unbound

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The gathering financial storm is just one effect of corporate power unbound

What have governments learned from the financial crisis? I could write a column spelling it out. Or I could do the same job with one word: nothing.

Actually, that’s too generous. The lessons learned are counter-lessons, anti-knowledge, new policies that could scarcely be better designed to ensure the crisis recurs, this time with added momentum and fewer remedies. And the financial crisis is just one of the multiple crises – in tax collection, public spending, public health and, above all, ecology – that the same counter-lessons accelerate.

Step back a pace and you see that all these crises arise from the same cause. Players with huge power and global reach are released from democratic restraint. This happens because of a fundamental corruption at the core of politics. In almost every nation the interests of economic elites tend to weigh more heavily with governments than do those of the electorate. Banks, corporations and landowners wield an unaccountable power, which works with a nod and a wink within the political class. Global governance is beginning to look like a never-ending Bilderberg meeting.

As a paper by the law professor Joel Bakan in the Cornell International Law Journal argues, two dire shifts have been happening simultaneously. On one hand governments have been removing laws that restrict banks and corporations, arguing that globalisation makes states weak and effective legislation impossible. Instead, they say, we should trust those who wield economic power to regulate themselves.

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The Death of Neo-Liberalism

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The Death of Neo-Liberalism

Published on Aug 20, 2015

The financial crisis of 2008 was not a run of the mill recession. In the words of Gerard Dumenil, a Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, it reflected a “structural crisis,” such as those affecting the course of capitalism about every forty years, namely the late 19th century, the Great Depression, and the 1970. Above all else, it reflects a crisis in the prevailing neo-liberal paradigm, which has dominated policy-making for the past 40 years. According to Dumenil, neoliberalism is a social order, a new form of capitalism, that can be explained by recognising that there are now three classes or “social orders” in contemporary capitalism: the capitalists; the “popular class” made up of wage workers and lower-level salaried employees; and in between there is what Dumenil describes as the “managerial class”. The social order changes when the managerial class sides with one or other of the other two. Thus in the 1930s and in the post war period, the managerial class sided with the popular class against the capitalist class and we had the welfare state etc. In the neoliberal era, the managerial class has sided with the capitalist financial class and the popular class has been on the back foot. With the crisis of neoliberalism, we could look to a new realignment of this ‘social order’, with the managers swinging back again toward the popular class as their position continues to be eroded and their standards of living threatened.

Repairing our economy will require a dramatic reversal of the free market ethos that’s enveloped most of the world over the past few decades. Most importantly, it will require a downsizing of the financial sector, as the financialization of the economy has meant that finance has become central to the daily operations of the economic system. More precisely, the private nonfinancial sectors of the economy have become more dependent on the smooth functioning of the financial sector in order to maintain the liquidity and solvency of their balance sheet, and to improve and maintain their economic welfare. For example, households have increased their use of debt to fund education, healthcare, housing, transportation, and leisure, and they have become more dependent on interest, dividends and capital gains as a means to maintain and grow their standard of living.
But simply reviving the discredited policies of the last 40 years will not lead to a lasting recovery; free markets cannot turn worthless lead into gold. In addition, as the experience of the early 1930s tells us, if left alone to deal with the current problems, market mechanisms will lead to massive deflation, massive bankruptcies, massive destructions of physical assets, and enormous unemployment. This will continue until the debt structure is simplified and the underlying structure of the economy is radically changed. In the process, social unrest will grow to the point that the entire socio-economic system will be threatened.

Richard Seymour; The siren song of the neocons in David Cameron’s cabinet

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The siren song of the neocons in David Cameron’s cabinet

Neoconservatives such as Gove and Osborne sing a seductive hawkish tune – but the PM risks alienating his Liberal allies
George Osborne


Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian Martin Argles/Guardian
George Osborne, a ‘signed up, card-carrying Bush fan’, told the Commons in 2003 he was persuaded of the ‘excellent neoconservative case’ for war with Iraq. 

They first emerged in defence of Tony Blair and his unpopular foreign policies. Cameron himself, though he only reluctantly voted for the Iraq war, greatly admired Blair’s stance in the debacle. Even he, though, could hardly match Gove’s gushing praise for Blair in the runup to the Iraq war, in a column for the Times entitled “I can’t fight my feelings any more: I love Tony”. This passion for Blair was not restricted to his stance on foreign policy – it included Blair’s position on the firefighters’ strike, asylum seekers and tuition fees – but it was on Iraq that Gove maintained Blair was “behaving like a true Thatcherite”. Indeed, for many Tories , Blair is neocon rex.

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Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

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An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities, Monday 29 September 2014 09.00 BST
City of London and Canary Wharf
‘We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited.’ Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you’re reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. Contact can be superficial, but since this applies to most human interaction nowadays, this won’t really be noticed.

t’s important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you’ve got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That’s why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won’t be you who has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare, the best-known specialist on psychopathy today.

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Peoples’ March for the #NHS Leicester Rally v2

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Published on Sep 1, 2014

(Improved version)

This video is about The Peoples’ March for the NHS Leicester Rally 30 August 2014.

A group of women from Darlington, the ‘Darlo Mums’, were so concerned about the state of the NHS after multiple attacks by both Labour and Coalition governments in the form of cuts and privatisation by stealth, and seeing that there was no one with the will to take action to defend this essential PUBLIC service, decided to organise a recreation for the 21st century of the 1936 Jarrow March from Jarrow to London. This is to highlight the decimated service and persuade people to fight back for themselves.

As the Darlo Mums put it:

“It is time put the NHS above politics. We need to organise in our communities around the NHS. Since the Health & Social Care Bill brought in under a Tory/Lib Dem Government we have seen cuts to NHS Services, downgrades of NHS services, NHS Sell Off, NHS privatisation & NHS Job Cuts. These attacks are taking place across our NHS every day of every week. We need to build support, campaign and raise awareness to alert the population of what is happening to our NHS. We need people knocking on doors, out on the streets, rallying up and down the country to take the ‘999 Call for the NHS’ across the NHS. We need to build cross community support for the NHS and the amazing NHS workers. Join the thousands already campaigning we all have a part to play.”

The March began on 16 August 2014 and the marchers will reach London on 6 September 2014. Their energy is unbelievable!

Here is a link to the March from Leicester:…

Music – ‘Paths of Victory’ by Bob Dylan sung by Odetta

Save our NHS logo11-5179Save our NHS logo11-5179

Mental health work is ‘just ‘firefighting now’, author tells festival audience: #NHS Mental Health Crisis

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Mental health work is ‘just ‘firefighting now’, author tells festival audience

‘I’d never go back to acute wards today,’ says Nathan Filer, ex-nurse who won Costa book prize

Nathan Filer ... 'I'd never go back to acute nursing'
Nathan Filer … ‘I’d never go back to acute nursing’ Photograph: Sarah Lee

Nathan Filer, the mental health nurse who this year won the Costa book award for his debut novel which has as its main character a young schizophrenic, has revealed he would not go back to working on acute wards.

“Mental health services are in a real mess at the moment,” he told theEdinburgh international book festival. “It is increasingly difficult, especially in acute settings, for nurses – it is kind of firefighting now.”

Filer’s novel The Shock of the Fall tells the story of Matthew and his descent into mental illness after the death of his brother. It is a world Filer knows well through his 15 years as a nurse.

“My area of speciality was acute services but this was 2004, 2005,” he told the festival. “I’ve gone back since but I won’t work on them now. I just think they are very dangerous places. They are hugely under resourced and the idea of there being time now to just sit down for half an hour having a conversation with a service user or go for a walk or going to the canteen, it is just unthinkable.

“That isn’t there and these environments now aren’t really places of wellness or places where people get better. I’m very, very worried about how it is.”

Filer was responding to a question about the anxiety levels that exist among staff working in the mental health services today.

Most doctors and nurses are there, said Filer, “to try and do good but under increasingly very difficult circumstances.”

His book was praised for its realistic non-sensationalist portrayal of mental illness.

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