— The Erimtan Angle —

Paul Mason | Comment is Free: “The neoliberalist capitalist model has resulted in civil wars and economic disaster, and it’s only going to get worse”.

The English journalist and broadcaster Paul Mason makes a persuasive case . . . still, people in hell want ice water . . .  or, is Mason merely promoting his latest book???  In the Independent, John Rentoul writes that “Mason seems to me like the Martian in Bogdanov’s Red Star, stranded on Earth with a clear view of a different and better way of organising society, but with little idea of how to get there”.[1]

Rentoul’s reference to Alexander Bogdanov’s 1908 science fiction novel about a communist utopia on Mars seems somewhat facetious at first sight, but probably does Mason some justice. In his new book, Mason posits that “Neoliberalism is the doctrine of uncontrolled markets: it says that the best route to prosperity is individuals pursuing their own self-interest, and the market is the only way to express that self-interest. It says the state should be small (except for its riot squad and secret police); that financial speculation is good; that inequality is good; that the natural state of humankind is to be a bunch of ruthless individuals, competing with each other”.[2]  A succinct and straightforward description of the cut-throat world we live in today . . . Mason explains his thinking to Rentoul as follows: ” I think there are two belief systems inside the neoliberal elite. The one they converse with, tempered by social responsibility [and the one they use in private]. Blair and Clinton were neoliberalism: the pursuit of financial profit, combined with the trickle-down of some of the surplus down to the poor”.[3]  And going down to the nitty-gritty, Mason elaborates: “Neoliberalism opened up a technological revolution but it has created a dead end. Financialisation, which has too many syllables but is a new and controversial analytical category in economics, understands the creation of revenue streams to capital direct from people through interest, through credit cards, store credit cards. Our lives are financialised. Once you do that, and then you pump the system full of money at every crisis – elites decided there could not be a crisis, every crisis had to be met by expanding the money supply. So Greenspan meets every downturn with money expansion. They understand implicitly the system depends on the removal of social solidarity, so if you were now to have a Thirties-style depression, it would be much rougher than the Thirties. I covered Hurricane Katrina and what was striking was how quickly society broke down. If you pump money into a financialised system you raise asset prices to extreme proportions and wages don’t have to rise – that’s what creates the boom-bust pattern but it’s not a steady state, it destroys another part of the state. So my critique of it is beyond moral it is practical. That can’t go on and it doesn’t work”.[4]

[1] John Rentoul, “‘A Martian stranded on Earth’: more of the Paul Mason interview” The Independent (09August 2015). http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/a-martian-stranded-on-earth-more-of-the-paul-mason-interview-10446940.html.

[2] John Rentoul, “‘A Martian stranded on Earth’: more of the Paul Mason interview”.

[3] John Rentoul, “‘A Martian stranded on Earth’: more of the Paul Mason interview”.

[4] John Rentoul, “‘A Martian stranded on Earth’: more of the Paul Mason interview”..

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