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The Trillion Dollar Trick. Margaret Thatcher R.I.P.

Meltdown Monday

The age of Reagan and Thatcher is over. Everyone's agreed on that. The US taxpayer is paying for its government to nationalise property in a desperate bid to stop the international financial house of cards from collapsing. As it will be again in 20 years time, or less, given the same culture of greed and competition. It will be no use saying 'We told You So' then, either.
The real money wagered on this desperate attempt to save the markets from themselves has to come from somewhere. And unless the taxpayer already footing the bill is also expected to suffer fewer hospitals, schools and transport improvements, then the age of the corporate tax-dodge has to be over. The biggest free lunch in history has closed its All-You-Can-Eat buffet.
The inherent ability of the Chinese dictatorship to endure more financial hardship than Western democracies will pose a greater ideological attraction than ever. The Beijing Olympics really couldn't have been better timed. And the new oil-rich, Russian oligarchy may have McDonalds and iPods, but the bulk of Mother Russia still knows what it is like to suffer, and will merely see a great world depression as their generation's rite of passage, and blame it on the west, as they always have done. Both these dictatorships will seem more cuddly political animals to a property-harassed western electorate trying to recover from the blessings of unbridled Consumerism, and hoping to find a way of not repeating the experience.
One lesson of this week is that competitors do not co-operate even in their own survival. The truth is that, with the amount of sheer technological power and historical experience available, the social need for competition has shrivelled to almost nothing. The same power which could be used to provide a decent standard of free life for everyone has been used instead to fuel competition for its own sake. The result being the chaos of regular Depressions, constant wars, the manipulation of the food markets to create profit and starvation, and the sabotage of the climate.
The market-worshipping ideology fashionable until last week was still operating in the Steam Age. It was historically obsolete. A deliberate, perverse attempt to hold back the process of technology which tends to make the lives of more people more bearable and reduce the need for competition and war. The social formula which states that the more technology is available, the less brute labour and competition are necessary to maintain a civil society.
A certain ratio of competition to co-operation has always been needed, but with each labour-saving, information-sharing, pain-relieving advance, there is less need for human beings to fight each other for their survival. The required amount of conflict today must be down at spice level, from its heyday as a bulk staple in the stone age recipe. Never has more technology been available, but making it work for people is not profitable, while making it produce cheap Kalashnikovs, cosmetic surgery and sub-prime mortgages is very profitable - for a short time. But short term profit is now discovered to be a very dangerous thing, it makes planets uninhabitable, and if allowed to rampage, will mean there is no long term to worry about. Wall Street and the City of London will be under thirty foot of water.
This week was another warning that if we insist on behaving like cavemen, we will probably end up being cavemen.

"freaky friday" "meltdown monday"

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