Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Seduction of Reductionism

Understanding the 'why' of the UK election results has become, in itself, a vast political propaganda battle;  as has the 'why' of the political polling failure.  It may be wiser to map and then consider the facts on the ground, the extant politico/social realities that the election expressed and the indicators for economic, social, political and diplomatic policies it gave.

Europe is on the back foot now.  We have had vivid, grecian demonstrations of the absolute priority of preventing the loss of any member of the European Union - let alone an EU member of the importance of the UK.  Unlike the impertinences offered to long-gone UK governments until a sufficiently grovelling Heath was installed, the EU is going to beg to prevent Brexit.  It can't accommodate treaty change (or the whole thing will come to bits) so watching with interest the contortions that will circumvent the Treaties and satisfy UK requirements of return of powers to nation states or else might become a national sport.

The electorate is well able to protect its requirement for a decent place to live, a decent wage and a chance for the kids even if its formally available opportunities to do so have been limited to once every five years rather than whenever we get cross enough in less than that time.  The London green belt will be turned into a vast Garden City  (London Garden City sounds rather well) in the next five years, just as was the Lee Valley under various administrations in the middle of the 20th century.

Having returned only yesterday from Welwyn Hatfield I can think of no better outcome for the scruffy 'agricultural' land ringing London then parks, manufacturing industry, sports facilities, and manicured landscape for public enjoyment, with extensive transport and communications, offering decent housing and excellent schools and local clinics.  It may be a 'realised socialist' dream but in truth it was realised by political visions very different from those of Ed Miliband and his ilk.

Economic policy, the proper domain of the state, seems to be in competent and remarkably flexible hands.  Economics has been called the dismal science; it has some claim to be called the dead science.  We know how economics works; we know how to respond to economic requirements and emergencies.   Economic disaster is almost always now political disaster.

Thank Goodness the UK electorate has seized their once-in-five-years' opportunity and rejected the political twerpishness of Ed Miliband.     


Nick Drew said...

is one of your fallen angels in line for rehabilitation?

hatfield girl said...

After consideration, nope, ND. I'm not a Conservative and find the Conservative world view both difficult to understand fully and unnerving in what I can grasp.

Also, those euros are my money; not unnaturally I take a dim view of politicians who threaten my interests.

It would be nice to have an economically efficient redistributive government economic policy though. It's rather dull the way redistribution for the greater good and happiness has become embroiled with redistribution per se, or even to punish.

If redistribution for the good of the soul and (doubtful) moral stances is to be pursued then there must be international redistribution, and the very notion of a national Health service, for instance, is itself profoundly immoral.

I'm of the Tony Judt view that the nation state is about as big as democracy can influence and to be defended for that alone, hence most of the current Labour Party's attitude and condemnation of the rest of us about 'rich and poor' is arrant nonsense ( to speak kindly of it).

Burgers said...

Hi HG.

"an economically efficient redistributive government economic policy " - you should realise that this is quite literally a contradiction in terms. You can have have more or less inefficient redistributive policies but they can by definition never be economically efficient.

Quite why redistribution is a good is far from clear. I support the objective of a hand up for the unfortunate (it's the mark of a civilized society after all) butworrying about inequality is one of the more pointless and damaging preoccupations of the political class. What they need to be worried about instead is the legalised theft that infests modern corporatist economies starting with the banking rescues and proceeding through the various insanely damaging policies such as the climate change act, the CAP, CFP and down to any number of stupid unncessary and damaging regulations, subidies etc that the ERU so specialises in and all of which have the effect of transferring wealth from poor to a rich class of effective oligarchs and prevent the poor and worthy from progressing through their own merits.

The NHS. is a disaster and needs urgent surgery. One can support the principle of health care free (-ish) at the point of use, but not the systematic waste and corruption of the current monolith. At the very least health care providers should be privatised, I can see many becoming Coops. And the government should abandon all its pointless and stupidly counter productive attempts to micromanage this monster.

Also, by stepping back the government will leave space for more efficiently delivered charitable assistance for the needy, an additional productivity gain which will benefit all of us.

Don't understand your comment about the euro - it's a monster which is stangling the economies of southern Europe, who need not expect meaningful growth until it is abandoned. It is blighting the lives of millions and millions of people.

hatfield girl said...

I see you Burgers,
It is the disorderly dismantling of the euro I object to; not an organisd undoing of the damage it does - born before its time and only half-formed.

Caronte said...

The euro gave its member states ten years of declining and converging interest rates, an inflation rate lower than that achieved by the Bundesbank for the DM, and faster and deeper economic integration.

The crisis brought this to an end for various reasons. First, the premature birth of the single currency, which should have been the last stage of economic integration and was used instead to promote further integration (la finalite' politique) through deliberate dysfunction. Second, the incomplete, indeed handicapped nature of the European Central Bank, constitutionally prevented from purchasing government bonds in the primary market (unlike the Bank of England, the Central Bank of Japan and the Fed). Third, the increasing divergence of member states, not only for the fiscal parameters which they were supposed to observe and did not (Germany first) but also for other relevant monetary and real parameters (such as unit labour costs, unemployment and trade balances).

Such congenital and degenerative conditions were made worse by the self-destructive austerity policies obtusely enforced by the Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) against the better judgement expressed by their research departments.