Natural Growth

British politics has been moving further and further to the Right over the past ten years or so – forty years, if we date it from the advent of Thatcher – and at a crazily accelerating speed over the last few months. Brexit was a part of that. Now with the Truss-Kwarteng project (‘growth, growth, growth’, reward the rich, low taxes, ‘trickle-down’…..) we might have reached the final stage in that process, the free marketeers’ goal all along: if the train had not suddenly smashed into the buffers last week.

This was obviously a bit of a shock for the most dogmatic neoliberals themselves, who must have assumed that the ‘markets’ were on their side – which was why they didn’t bother to consult the OBR – and who may have shared that old capitalist idea, going back to Adam Smith, and even embraced by Marx, that the ‘free market’ was a force of nature, no less, like all those other forces of nature that were being discovered by scientists at the time, and so not to be denied. The idea of capitalism as ‘natural’ has been a compelling and comforting argument for neo-liberals for two centuries now, on a number of levels, both intellectually, and on the level of simple slogans: ‘people are naturally selfish’, ‘you can’t go against human nature’, ‘there is no alternative’, and so on. Unfortunately for them, another ‘natural’ feature of just about anything from plants and animals to the planet itself, is the phenomenon of decline. Nothing ever ‘grows’ for ever. Most things contain within them the seeds of their own destruction. Marx saw that.

Are the extraordinary events of the last few days (in Britain) a sign of this natural process of final decline (and fall)? For the moment (Sunday evening), the train crash seems to have been averted temporarily. The ‘market’, plus Truss’s stupidity and Kwarteng’s arrogance, saw to that. Maybe a more grown-up government – Jeremy Hunt, or Labour – can still save the day, for now. For there are ways of taming the beast: Keynesianism, welfareism, more traditional Conservatism, social democracy – call it what you will. Otherwise, Collapse, or Revolution, here we come. In the meantime, I’m quite enjoying the ride.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Natural Growth

  1. “…. and even embraced by Marx, that the ‘free market’ was a force of nature”.
    It depends I suppose on how one interprets, ‘force of nature’; however, I think Marx resisted this viewpoint. If one looks, for example, at his idea of ‘primitive accumulation’, it involves very deliberate undertakings by rich and powerful landowners to dispossess tenants of land and commons they traditionally used for the purpose of subsistence. “According to Marx, the whole purpose of primitive accumulation is to privatize the means of production, so that the exploiting owners can make money from the surplus labour of those who, lacking other means, must work for them.” [Wikipedia.] As organised violence was involved in this process, the active involvement of the state was a prerequisite, which was far from a ‘natural’ occurrence.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s