Saturday, September 24, 2011

Layer 481 . . . The State of the World, the March of the Neoliberals, the Greed Creed, Austerity and Roy Harper

It's time for a bit of catching up on who's been saying what about these appalling times we're living through - in particular Professor Jayati Ghosh and Stuart Hall. In times like this there's no point in mucking about with halfwit commentators - we need to listen to people who know what they're talking about.

As Michael Moore pointed out some time ago, Stupid White Men are largely responsible for the state of the world (aided and abetted by the likes of Margaret Thatcher and now Sarah Palin). Non-white intellectuals such as Ghosh, Hall and also the likes of Tariq Ali ought to be our major points of reference in these dismal times.

"Times like this"? We're in a depression, not just a recession, and it's about to get worse. So what's worse than a depression? Maybe a suicide pact - like the Tories and Libdems agreed with one another. Like the British people have had with successive shit governments, including New Labour.

Frankly the rich bastards who run the world don't give a toss about the state of Britain, as such. They don't pay taxes here, they keep their profits elsewhere, and they probably don't even live here. If the country disintegrates they'll happily live elsewhere - all of them. These are people with choices. They enjoy having freedom and choice, and they use these words as often as they can. These are nice, positive words . . .  unlike greed, unearned income, exploitation, corruption, tax havens, tax avoidance, etc. These are people who are quite content to asset-strip any damn country they fancy, and then move on to the next one. It starts with asset-stripping individual businesses, individual factories . . . and it moves on to whole cities, whole regions, and whole countries . . . Such is the power of 'globalisation'.

We've become a world fit for asset strippers, fit for bankers and hedge fund managers, fit for itinerant billionaires, and fit for the people who worship them and want to be just like them.


Last night I was watching "Later" on the BBC when up popped Roy Harper - now seventy years of age, with snow white long hair and a snow-white beard to match. Jules was suitably reverential to Roy, and Roy sang a couple of verses of "I Hate The White Man" - a song that's passed the  test of time, a song that still resonates on this planet that's still sowing the seeds of its own destruction.

"For I hate the whiteman
And his plastic excuse
For I hate the whiteman
And the man who turned him loose..."

"While his golden headed scandal sheets
Present their daily bite
To give their righteous news-bleeders
Drugs to keep them white

While outside in the whitewash
Where the guns are always, always right
A shooting star has summoned
Its dark angel from his night" - I Hate The White Man

I guess Roy Harper, back in the sixties at least, was the nearest thing that Britain ever had to the early Bob Dylan - a proper poet who composed and sang solo with acoustic guitar - who toured the college circuit with his stoned wit, his ascerbic observations, his provocations and his bite . . . steadfastly refusing to compromise or sell out his uncomfortable truths. Interesting that Roy, like Bob, is a Gemini - they were born within 20 days of one another in 1941.    -   Me and My Woman, Highway Blues, McGoohans Blues, etc. (50 songs)  -   Acapulco Gold

If anyone ever doubted that Roy is the real deal then consider that the likes of David Gilmour, Kate Bush and Jimmy Page consider him a major influence on their work. Imagine being revered by that bunch of stratospheric musos . . .


Meanwhile, the state of the world . . .

1. Jayati Ghosh

Spooked into austerity, we dig our own economic grave

Fear of the markets has blinded leaders to the alternatives. Economies can grow out of debt or plunge deeper into crisis

The stupidity of the current macroeconomic stance in the UK is surprising in itself; but when combined with similar voices in Europe and the US, it is downright astonishing. Three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the global economy is not going through a recovery from financial crisis, but simply entering act two after a brief intermission. On current form this play is a farce that will end in tragedy.

Policy discussion on both sides of the Atlantic is dominated by extreme fiscal hawks, who wrongly see public spending as the problem rather than at least part of the solution. The emphasis on fiscal rectitude is accompanied by the inability to rein in finance. All this condemns economies to financial instability, depressed and even contracting GDP and worsening conditions for ordinary citizens.


2. Stuart Hall

The march of the neoliberals

We are living through an extraordinary political situation: the end of the debt-fuelled boom, the banking crisis of 2007-10, the defeat of New Labour and the rise to power of a Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition. What sort of crisis is this? Is it a serious wobble in the trickle-down, win-win, end-of-boom-and-bust economic model that has dominated global capitalism? Does it presage business as usual, the deepening of present trends, or the mobilisation of social forces for a radical change of direction? Is this the start of a new conjuncture?


3. Angela Eagle MP

[Yes - a decent article by a Labour politician!!]

An end to the greed creed

Market fundamentalism's dogma is now exposed. Labour must look to build a new moral economy

Three years on, it is ever clearer that the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the global financial meltdown was a watershed. The era of rightwing market fundamentalism forged by the Thatcher/Reagan administrations in the 1980s has at last ended. Things are in flux. We must learn from the financial crisis or we will fail the next generation.

The Tory-led government is unwilling and unable to do this, still in thrall to the discredited doctrine and the old rules of the game.


And finally . . .

John Crace's take on the Libdem conference -
Clegg asserts his 'authority'. Everyone else looks baffled


As is his 'Digested Read' of  Honey Money by Catherine Hakim -

Digested read, digested: Get your tits out for a job.