Author Topic: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen  (Read 5478 times)

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_JS

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The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« on: October 24, 2008, 04:48:04 PM »
Hard times: The myth of public v private has now been exposed

Private companies have often vilified the state for causing dependency. Now the boot is on the other foot, it's time to focus on public service values, says Peter Beresford


The Guardian


Enron's collapse in 2001 proved that private companies were equally as prone to inefficiency as the state. Photograph: Martin Godwin


For a generation now, the received wisdom has been: "Market good, state bad." But how do we square this equation with the collapse of the market economy and the idea that only the state can bail it out?

For those of us concerned with the public sector, these issues are raised with particular intensity. Where does this leave the market-driven values we've been taught to internalise? What will it mean for public policy and the public service ethic?

From Thatcher onwards, we have been told how hopeless public welfare is and how damaging state intervention has been. Welfare claimants have been held up as figures to despise and suspect. The state has been cast as wasteful, bureaucratic, inefficient and dependency-creating. Welfare claimants have been stereotyped as draining the wealth which the market has generated, their dependency presented as a burden on the rest of us through their cost in high taxation.

Where once we heard that the welfare state would put an end to social evils, more recently we have been encouraged to believe that it's the cause of social breakdown, and "benefit scroungers." The market and the private sector, we are told, alone have the competence, expertise and experience to provide efficient goods and services. They can convert us from clients and claimants patronised by the state to public consumers with choice and control.

Yet now, without apparent embarrassment or hesitation, state intervention is advanced as all that stands between us and economic meltdown.

The banks, we are told, so distrust each other that only unprecedented injections of state money may make it possible for them to do business together again. For years the Daily Mail and the Sun have run poisonous campaigns against asylum seekers and people on income support to reclaim an imagined few millions. Governments promote campaigns to snoop on welfare claimants. These campaigns rarely generate enough money even to pay for themselves. Yet now we are encouraged to spend hundreds of billions of public money to bail out the banks and private sector that preached the mantra of independence and individual responsibility.

Are we really going to pretend that all this hasn't happened, carrying on as before as if the market hasn't now faced its equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall? Will we still be looking to bright young management consultants at £1,000 plus a day, few of whom have even run a corner shop, to teach central government, local authorities and primary care trusts to be 'business-like'?

What about the big voluntary organisations who tell us they must pay their chief executives the salary packages of the private sector if they are to get the brightest and the best? Many such charities have increasingly divested themselves of services as their metropolitan offices and fundraising departments have got larger and glitzier.

What will go into the large organisational hole now filled with the "visioning", team-bonding babble lapped up from the commercial sector? This is the same private sector that has now for years been featherbedded by profit-taking from public utilities, government sell-offs, wasteful PFI schemes and government tax credit subsidies for low wages, operating within a globalised economy that exploits the majority world and its people and damages the environment.

From Enron onwards, we have all known that the private sector bore no relation to the lean and efficient paragon we were told it was. No one's saying the private sector is all bad, just that it has been grossly oversold. Meanwhile the merits of public service values have been treated as, at best, worthy but dull. The current economic crisis should remind us of what we can gain from enduring values of collectivity and mutuality. Our energies must now be spent on updating them to match the challenges of the future.

• Peter Beresford is professor of social policy at Brunel University
Peter Beresford Posted by Peter Beresford Friday October 17 2008 00.03 BST

* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
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Plane

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2008, 04:52:25 PM »




For a generation now, the received wisdom has been: "Market good, state bad." But how do we square this equation with the collapse of the market economy and the idea that only the state can bail it out?



It is a bit early to know that President Bush's plan is going to work , but I am glad fianally that his genius is being recognised.

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2008, 05:07:48 PM »
It is a bit early to know that President Bush's plan is going to work , but I am glad fianally that his genius is being recognised.
==================================================
Exactly how is anything being done now Juniorbush's plan? How is his 'genius' a part of it?
Junirbush's role in this mess is as a  bystander.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

Plane

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2008, 05:43:38 PM »
It is a bit early to know that President Bush's plan is going to work , but I am glad fianally that his genius is being recognised.
==================================================
Exactly how is anything being done now Juniorbush's plan? How is his 'genius' a part of it?
Junirbush's role in this mess is as a  bystander.


Oh?

I note that the President , Barack Obama and John McCain are agreed that the $700 billion bailout should be passed.

I don't think that Bush even had much troubble convinceing Obama the conformist , but McCain the Maverick came around too after application of Bush's considerable charm and formidable logic.

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2008, 05:48:20 PM »
IT WASN"T BUSH'S PLAN!

Bush was simply the chair warmer in the White House when this plan was devised. Paulson was the man who did nearly all of the convincing.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

Plane

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2008, 05:51:51 PM »
IT WASN"T BUSH'S PLAN!

Bush was simply the chair warmer in the White House when this plan was devised. Paulson was the man who did nearly all of the convincing.


It is who's plan?

Just because you like the plan doesn't mean that it isn't possibly Bush's plan.

_JS

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2008, 05:53:23 PM »
Quote
Bush's considerable charm and formidable logic

 ;D

Plane, I haven't seen baiting like that since shark week.


I liked this part of the article:

Quote
Are we really going to pretend that all this hasn't happened, carrying on as before as if the market hasn't now faced its equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall? Will we still be looking to bright young management consultants at £1,000 plus a day, few of whom have even run a corner shop, to teach central government, local authorities and primary care trusts to be 'business-like'?

The answer to both questions is an emphatic "hell no!"
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Universe Prince

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2008, 05:58:51 PM »
With all due respect to JS, Peter Beresford is either a fool or a liar. Perhaps he was misled by other fools or liars. I don't know. "From Enron onwards, we have all known that the private sector bore no relation to the lean and efficient paragon we were told it was." Who told him? Saying the private market is better is not claiming it to be a paragon or flawless or perfect. "Yet now, without apparent embarrassment or hesitation, state intervention is advanced as all that stands between us and economic meltdown." Says who? Maybe there are no people who believe in free markets in Britain, but here in the U.S. there are many people trying to explain that state intervention is the beyond the last thing we need. We even have a handful of politicians who are bold enough to suggest the massive bailout isn't the best plan. "Are we really going to pretend that all this hasn't happened, carrying on as before as if the market hasn't now faced its equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall?" No one has to pretend, because that hasn't even remotely happened. The interference of government carries as much or more blame than that of individuals in the private sector. There was no "Berlin Wall" to fall. As a post by Brassmask correctly pointed out, "the Wall Street hotshots didn't have and don't want a free market [...] have no interest in a free market." If there is anything we have to pretend, it would be to pretend that this somehow a failure of a laissez-faire free market.

Peter Beresford seems to be a victim of extremely wishful thinking. Not unlike Jacob Weisberg and his proclamation of the end of libertarianism, Beresford seems to have constructed an entirely false view of the nature of the situation for the purposes of propagandizing. So at this point, I am of the opinion Beresford is a liar. He has, perhaps, lied to himself most of all, but that doesn't make him any less of a liar.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2008, 06:00:56 PM by Universe Prince »
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Plane

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2008, 06:07:17 PM »
Quote
Bush's considerable charm and formidable logic

 ;D

Plane, I haven't seen baiting like that since shark week.


I liked this part of the article:

Quote
Are we really going to pretend that all this hasn't happened, carrying on as before as if the market hasn't now faced its equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall? Will we still be looking to bright young management consultants at £1,000 plus a day, few of whom have even run a corner shop, to teach central government, local authorities and primary care trusts to be 'business-like'?

The answer to both questions is an emphatic "hell no!"

So you like the Bush plan too?












If you catch and release ,do they get wise to the bait ?
http://www.kevinwakeman.com/44kinkaidmarchmuskie.wmv
http://www.kevinwakeman.com/bgfpics/big_fish_clips.htm

_JS

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2008, 06:10:58 PM »
In fairness UP, he is likely writing in hyperbole but you cannot deny that neoliberalism sold the free-market as snake oil. I can go hunt down quotes from Maggie Thatcher or Ronnie Reagan if you like. And on the flipside, yes there are folks who have attacked the bailout plan (me included, but for different reasons), but the mainstream political parties have endorsed it.

And whether you are willing to admit it or not, this is a failure of deregulation to an extent. Is that the only variable? Of course not. But it most certainly played a role and you'd be hard-pressed to find many investors who disagreed.

So while Beresford is playing up his argument (and certainly using hyperbole), there was certainly an inherent push to burn the idea into people's mind that "government=bad, market=good." Now, did that idea of the private sector coincide with your idea of a free market? No. Neo-liberals never wanted the government completely removed. Notice that in Chile under Pinochet the Government had to exist, mostly to keep Pinochet in power, but also to use public funds to invest in private markets (and for bailouts as well).

In many ways neoliberalism is a refining of Fascism. Fascism was a triangular relationship between Government - Private Sector - Unions. All the neo-liberals did was remove the unions and make it a two-way relationship. So I agree that it wasn't truly laissez-faire anarchism, but it is the market that has been preached by the likes of Thatcher, Reagan, Friedman, Pinochet, and others.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

_JS

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2008, 06:11:56 PM »
Quote
Bush's considerable charm and formidable logic

 ;D

Plane, I haven't seen baiting like that since shark week.


I liked this part of the article:

Quote
Are we really going to pretend that all this hasn't happened, carrying on as before as if the market hasn't now faced its equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall? Will we still be looking to bright young management consultants at £1,000 plus a day, few of whom have even run a corner shop, to teach central government, local authorities and primary care trusts to be 'business-like'?

The answer to both questions is an emphatic "hell no!"

So you like the Bush plan too?

No. I did not support the bailout.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Plane

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2008, 06:13:36 PM »
Fascism was a triangular relationship between Government - Private Sector - Unions.


Perhaps , but if so it was not this feature of Facism that made it objectionable or deserveing of the contempt it earned.

_JS

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2008, 06:27:42 PM »
Fascism was a triangular relationship between Government - Private Sector - Unions.


Perhaps , but if so it was not this feature of Facism that made it objectionable or deserveing of the contempt it earned.

No other form of government turned around a nation with such a dire economy in hyperinflation into one of the (if not the) leading economic power in the world as quickly as Fascism in Germany. The problem is that it took an extreme nationalism, fear, and dedication to a rigid hierarchy to perform the economic miracle that Fascism was capable of.

Neoliberalism takes some of those same problems as well, but more than that it takes an almost religious faith in the market-government relationship as well as an idea that wealth flows downhill. Chile proved that this wasn't the case. In almost every way the people of Chile were worse off under Pinochet's Friedman-esque economy. That is...everyone except the top 10% who were far better off. This seems the case with neoliberalism in general. It is wonderful for the wealthy and elite.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Plane

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2008, 06:30:29 PM »
Fascism was a triangular relationship between Government - Private Sector - Unions.


Perhaps , but if so it was not this feature of Facism that made it objectionable or deserveing of the contempt it earned.

No other form of government turned around a nation with such a dire economy in hyperinflation into one of the (if not the) leading economic power in the world as quickly as Fascism in Germany. The problem is that it took an extreme nationalism, fear, and dedication to a rigid hierarchy to perform the economic miracle that Fascism was capable of.

Neoliberalism takes some of those same problems as well, but more than that it takes an almost religious faith in the market-government relationship as well as an idea that wealth flows downhill. Chile proved that this wasn't the case. In almost every way the people of Chile were worse off under Pinochet's Friedman-esque economy. That is...everyone except the top 10% who were far better off. This seems the case with neoliberalism in general. It is wonderful for the wealthy and elite.


I don't understand Chile well enough to critique your understanding of that situation.

Has th4e USA never proven your point?

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: The Berlin Wall of Laissez-Faire has Fallen
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2008, 06:48:23 PM »
No other form of government turned around a nation with such a dire economy in hyperinflation into one of the (if not the) leading economic power in the world as quickly as Fascism in Germany.

============================================
Germany got out of trouble by basically stealing all the money of a very prosperous minority of Jews. The state took nearly all their money, their possessions, their real estate, and even the gold from their teeth. They used this to pay for autobahns and weaponry, among other things.

It was not true that all Jews in Germany were rich, but there were many of them who were.

It is not a good model for economic stimulus.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."