02 November 2009

Have we not learnt from 1989?

Janet Daley in the Daily Telegraph asks:

"Why do the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the anniversary of which we have been commemorating in a low-key way, and the collapse of communism which followed feature so little in the education curriculum and in the popular renditions of modern history?"

Indeed. She thinks those who had responsibility for curriculums and many commentators were shocked by the sudden implosion of the political system that had kept half of Europe under its jackboot for nearly half a century.

She notes that while Marxism expected capitalism to collapse, it collapsed instead, at least in its most hardened forcefully imposed form, but capitalism simply cannot:

This brings us to the delusion permitted by historical ignorance about the present economic crisis: capitalism, whatever the BBC says, has not collapsed. The banking system very nearly did, but that is a different thing: the banks are simply businesses through which capital flows. They were badly run and they failed due to mismanagement. Capitalism was badly served. But it has not – and cannot – collapse for the same reason that it cannot be overthrown: because it is not a structure that is imposed from above whose perpetrators can be forcibly dislodged.

Yes, you see capitalism is about individuals, about them applying their minds to the world around them and seeing how they can offer people goods or services in exchange for money (or goods and services), and then paying others to provide them services (with minds and hands) to assist in that production. Capitalism is simply human.

She says that if there was a greater observation of what 1989 was about (perhaps especially in Europe where far too many were enthralled by the eastern bloc as offering an "alternative way") it would teach us far more of the risks of rejecting capitalism and the human condition:

"If we had dared to look long enough at the events that followed 1989, as have many of those Eastern European countries which lived through them – if we had produced the plays and films and television documentaries and school texts that they had actually deserved – we might now have a fuller appreciation of the terror that follows from the need to extirpate individualistic impulses. An ideology that attempts to re-engineer human nature in the name of the collective good did not, as its founders had believed, require just a "temporary dictatorship" but a permanent one that bred corruption, victimisation and – most paradoxically of all – a bleak, inexorable poverty both of material goods and of aspiration which eventually became intolerable."

Indeed, nothing must frustrate the left more than the current recession NOT being a collapse of capitalism and not causing people to embrace the reality evasion of Marxism. However, it is timely at the end of this year to remind us all, and the young who knew not of what things were like in eastern Europe, of what the brave people of those lands were seeking to escape in that year.

The cold bleak crushing brutality of the steamroller of socialism.


Anonymous said...

I don't see any evidence of the left being frustrated but here in NZ we don't really have a left now. What you have failed to say is that it was only the intervention of the US government that held off major world depression. Though that probably wouldn't have meant the inevitable collapse of capitalism worldwide, the social turmoil that would ensue in many countries would have been pretty ugly. Former president Bush described these handouts to the banks it as capitalism adjusting itself when everyone else (libertarians excluded perhaps) saw it as it was, a massive fear driven bail out.
Did you hear that perk buster Rodney Hide has been sprung taking his girlfriend around the world at taxpayers expense? Ian

Libertyscott said...

Ian. It was the intervention of the US government that significantly contributed to the recession in the first place, as the mortgage market was positively encouraged and required to lend to those who were high risk, and fiat money has been available at such low interest rates it encouraged wide scale risky speculation.

My question is how much of the US bailouts were simply destructive? GM should have been left to fold, much of what has been spent has been consumption - not investment, so the US government is prolonging recession and hindering future growth. Would more jobs have gone had it not done so? Yes, but the recovery could have been quicker. Behaviour that should have gone punished has not been, and wealth has been redirected from the prudent to the imprudent.

Bear in mind the Japanese economy has been completely stagnant for around 15 years now, has had umpteen injections of cash, and all that has happened is that Japanese industry has been sclerotic and the Japanese government has enormous debt. There were plenty of well performing businesses that could happily have rode the recession out, and banks as well, which would have taken over what's left of the poor performers. The incentives are all wrong.

Yes Rodney's behaviour is an appalling example.

James said...

"Did you hear that perk buster Rodney Hide has been sprung taking his girlfriend around the world at taxpayers expense? "

Crap...Rodney had already paid for his girlfriends travel out of his own salary.It was about $5000 and had already been deducted from him.So sorry but that beat up has fallen through..

Read this here and learn something


Libertyscott said...

James, thanks for that. Life is simply easier for politicians if they get salaried for everything, but specific expenses for activities they are required to undertake including travel for themselves and staff.