The real road to serfdom

So the credit rating agency, Standard & Poor (great name) has downgraded the US’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. Do you know what this means? No? Because I don’t either. Does it mean that the US will have its credit card taken away and sent to the naughty step?

Is it me or is this whole process of credit rating  nations a little simplistic? I remember when Thatcher compared Britain’s economy to to a domestic budget. It was silly and reductive then and it’s silly and reductive now. It provides an instant rationalization and a justification for spending cuts and job losses.

Viewing the world in such simplified terms can only lead in one direction: disaster. The global economic meltdown is partly a product of lazy thinking as well as inveterate greed.

The world and its economies are much more complicated than the world’s politicians are prepared to admit. Credit rating agencies are merely an arm of enforcement that works on behalf of the banks and other financial institutions.

The US can thank the sociopaths in the Tea Party for its downgrade. It can also thank them for nearly bringing the world to its knees. I get the feeling that they won’t be happy until we’ve all returned to a feudal formation.

When Hayek wrote The Road To Serfdom, the serfdom that he envisaged was associated with what he saw as the two ‘socialisms’: Nazism and socialism (or communism). But there are fundamental flaws in his understanding of what constitutes serfdom. His knowledge of socialism was also limited to his own narrow ideological understanding of the word. In Hayek’s world, only the free market could protect liberty but, as we have seen in the last thirty years, people are less free because our politicians put the interests of corporations and banks first. The Hayekian praxis of Thatcher and Reagan and those who have followed them has put us all on a path to serfdom. The trouble is, those who support this form of economic libertarianism have little , if nothing, to lose. They won’t become  serfs. But the rest of us will end up as their slaves if we don’t put a stop to this nonsense.

Meanwhile in Israel, people have been on the streets to demand homes and jobs.

We need more of that here in Britain.

Guns or butter?

Here’s a song from a The Gang of Four.

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Filed under Economics, laissez faire capitalism, Late capitalism, neoliberalism, robber baron capitalism

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