Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Charles Moore is half right

Margaret Thatcher's biographer Charles Moore seems to have got himself in quite a muddle:
It has taken me more than 30 years as a journalist to ask myself this question, but this week I find that I must: is the Left right after all? You see, one of the great arguments of the Left is that what the Right calls “the free market” is actually a set-up.

The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything.
And when the banks that look after our money take it away, lose it and then, because of government guarantee, are not punished themselves, something much worse happens. It turns out – as the Left always claims – that a system purporting to advance the many has been perverted in order to enrich the few. The global banking system is an adventure playground for the participants, complete with spongy, health-and-safety approved flooring so that they bounce when they fall off. The role of the rest of us is simply to pay.

This column’s mantra about the credit crunch is that Everything Is Different Now. One thing that is different is that people in general have lost faith in the free-market, Western, democratic order. They have not yet, thank God, transferred their faith, as they did in the 1930s, to totalitarianism. They merely feel gloomy and suspicious. But they ask the simple question, “What's in it for me?”, and they do not hear a good answer.
I replied:
You're half way there, Mr Moore, but you seem to have been confused by the same false assumptions as the Left.

Big Business thrives on Big Government.

If it is true that "people in general have lost faith in the free-market, Western, democratic order", then it is up to people like you to point out that both our democracy and our economic freedom are severely limited.

We have not lived in a golden age of capitalism, which has shown up its inherent faults. We've never had a properly free market.

A truly capitalist society would not have interest rates set by a bunch of central planners, and it certainly wouldn't bail out banks.

What we've seen is a failure of corporatism, not capitalism. It's time we gave true capitalism a try.

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