Image and video hosting by TinyPic














Saturday, January 04, 2014

Capitalism: What went wrong

Famed British documentary film-maker Adam Curtis first made a stir with his four-part 1999 work, The Mayfair Set (subtitled "Four stories about the rise of business and the decline of political power.") I had never seen it until last night. Although this work requires a sizable investment of time, it is never dull...and it is eerily predictive of the catastrophe of 2008. In fact, it has a lot to say about the present moment.

All four parts are available for free, here.

The over-arching theme is that the Reagan-Thatcher revolution redefined capitalism -- although, as Curtis points out, the redefinition really began much earlier. Capitalism is no longer a matter of businesses hiring workers to provide goods and services to customers. Capitalism is now Wall Street (or, in a British context, The City) exercising its freedom to crush businesses, workers and customers alike.

The film reminds us of some counter-intuitive history: The heyday of Keynesianism occurred during the Conservative government of  Harold Macmillan (the man who told Britons "You never had it so good"), while the ultimate triumph of laissez-faire finance capitalism and globalization occurred under Labor leader Tony Blair. Arguably, something similar happened here: Nixon famously pronounced "We're all Keynesians now," while Obama infamously refused to prosecute the Wall Streeters or to impede globalization. 

As I watched Curitis' work, I kept asking myself: What would Adam Smith have made of all this? Would he even have recognized this new system as capitalism?


This page is 

powered by Blogger. 

Isn't yours?


























Image and video hosting by TinyPic


FeedWind



FeedWind




FeedWind