The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: The recovery bubble. The discussion was initiated by Fred.Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!
George Osborne says "Britain is coming back". This begs the question: where's it been? Was it cut adrift from the European continental shelf and, if so, who did it? Is god in the anti-European lobby after all?
UKIP and the right wingers would like that though. Cut adrift! Free from Europe at last! Free as a bird or a Stock Market speculator. "Britons never never never shall be slaves" as the old ditty "Rule Britannia" puts it; now missed at the last night of the Proms with flag waving and jubilation all round in the proper patriotic spirit. Why doesn't somebody start a movement to bring it back? And "Land of Hope and Glory" too? Those were the days! Bring 'em back, dammit! The Prime Minister will support us. Only yesterday he was on the tv news being driven round in a car painted all over to look like a Union Jack. That's one in the eye for Scottish independence isn't it? If it wasn't for us English, slaughtering them into discipline and some sort of order, all those years ago, they'd still be prancing round in wode. Kilts ahoy!
But think about George Osborne for a minute. Britain is coming back, he mumbled, as if he'd never been to Eton. Back to where it was in 2007! It's like time traveling. Back to the glorious days of prosperity for all, like in the 'nineties, before Labour messed everything up with socialism and free handouts.
So what will Britain's return mean for you and your commie friends and all the other scroungers? Probably not a lot. Unemployment, underemployment, precarity, and all the other fancy words designed to hide the fact there's not much work available will still be round, as will withering Health Care services, rapidly declining standards of education and schools, old age pension shrinkage as inflation kicks in, increasing rail fares for all (you dont expect to travel miles and miles everyday to get to a lousy job for nothing do you? Just be thankful you've got a job to go to at all!) and the increasing advance of austerity and misery into all walks of British life. But you might say: why should Britain be any different from anywhere else on this lousy stinking capitalist planet sinking into the miasma of war and decay? Why should Brits prosper when others have problems too? .
Well this is why. We the ruling class, the British bourgeoisie as you commie scroungers like to call us, are still amazingly good at manipulating and fiddling the money. We should be though shouldn't we?We've been utilising capitalism successfully much longer than most other contenders, including the Italians who invented it, who ought really to stick to football. For instance, we have the City of London with all its arcane mysteries and non-stop speculation, which makes money out of thin air, and now we've conjured up yet another housing price bubble. This is excellent. There's nothing like a brilliantly hued housing price bubble expanding and filling with air, to fill us the bourgeoisie with confidence. (This doesn't include you commie mind freaks of course reveling in your commie misery. So just get on with it.)
Bubbles can be relied on for filling the coffers with a quick profit while the poor mutts struggling to get on the housing ladder as we urge them to do with our best interests at heart, always fall for the trap only to come unstuck later with the inevitable rise in mortgage rates. Its sad really. Why do they go for it? Why don't they do what you commie misfits tell them to do and get rid of the sick capitalist system once and for all? I don't understand it. They must be gormless. Don't they know we're using them?
Ah well! All's fair in love and war as they say, and war is on the upswing while there's little love around. But who needs love as long as we've got capitalism? We, the blessed eternal bourgeoisie, we love it and love profits and screwing workers and money money money. And you'll never get rid of us. We're here to stay. And Britain's coming back and we love our country too! Down with the foreigner! And down with sour faced commies.
Britain really is coming back, PM Cameron said so himself last night on the tv news. The recovery is under way he said. Well, perhaps it is for him and his posh friends but not much sign of it for those of us out of work, permanently on the edge of being dumped on the garbage tip, or trying to survive on an old age pension. (My advice to those on old age pensions is: try and stop having to eat and never get ill.)
But David, I mean the PM, was positively brimming with hope, and so was his school pal, the chancellor, who was also featured making a speech in an almost confident tone of voice. So what's happened?
Well, according to them, its all down to the railway system. By 2030, if you can just hang on that long, England, specially the North between Manchester and Sheffield , will be so prosperous you'll be able to paper your walls with pounds sterling. How come you may ask, looking round your current and run down sleezy living arrangements, and wondering whether papering over the damp might actually work. Where's the money coming from?
You don't know? Its the railways you dummy, David Cameron and George Osborne are building magnificent modern railway lines linking all the great metropolitan cities of Northern England, as Cameron called them, with such high speed train links that as you take your seat in Sheffield, before you've even had time to open your Sun or Telegraph , you'll be arriving in Manchester itself - the Brazil of the north. There's already a well established plan for a high speed rail link from London to Birmingham, and when the problem of a few old cemeteries that lie in the way of the route has been solved, courtesy of the good old C of E (for those of you who've given up on god C of E means a Church of England, now an integral part of our proud National Heritage) that line will be complete and then it'll be onwards and northwards straight for Manchester with branch lines to Sheffield and who knows where. Nirvana next stop.
What about the Pennines do you ask? Well yes, they're always a nuisance but the high speed link will shoot right through them. No problem. But you can already get from Sheffield to Manchester in an hour, do I hear you mumble? Yes, that's true as well, but imagine doing it in half the time and in any case that's not the point. The point is that Britain will be modernized and the business and profits that will accrue as a result are of unimaginable dimensions. It'll be riches for all. The capitalist dream come true! Its all about growth and jobs. That's what matters. Messrs Cameron and Osborne intend to make British capitalism the envy of the world like the shattered Health Service. Money's no object.
Asked about all this, a commentator said that this talk of the railways was pie in the sky and speculation, and that what was really going on was the opening salvoes of an electioneering season and the promise of a prosperous north of England being offered as a temptation to vote Tory.
But this left me puzzled. Why would the crazy and impossible dream of prosperity for all in 2030, which prosperity for the working class could only be manifest as some reduction in the unemployment figures, not in any improvement in overall life quality, persuade anyone to vote Tory in the next election, or even to vote at all in the bourgeois democratic fraud?
The problem with Britain as with the rest of the world, is not rooted in some antiquated transport system, but in an antiquated economic system called capitalism. This is causing not just delays in getting from A to B but frustrating the possibilities for life itself of the billions of people on the planet who do not have the doubtful privilege of belonging to the ruling class.
Surely by 2030 the International working class will already be well on its way to disposing of capitalism once and for all, and high speed rail systems not necessarily high on our agenda?
The respected Geneva Report is out today and it makes bad reading for capitalism (see today's Telegraph).The UK is now the fourth largest debtor nation in the world with 276% of GDP and the US is not far behind with 264%. What's even more dangerous is that globally, ie, the global debt ratio to GDP has increased from 162% in 2001 to 210% in 2012/13 and the figure year on year has pushed steadily upwards with all the signs of it going very much upwards rather than even slowing down let alone falling. The report says that rising debt has been holding back growth since the 1980's and when economies do not grow or grow only by a small amount the debt to GDP ratio rises automatically. The UK and US being minutely relatively "better off" is due to "conjuring tricks" such as loading private debt onto the public sector as well as a certain margin of manoeuvre in these two economies such as don't exist in the Eurozone for example. But the overall tendency is for debt to reduce demand - so debt can only increase - and this is the so-called "death spiral" that will affect the whole of capitalism and is particularly apparant in the economy of Italy today.
A message from the Hon.D.Cameron.
Well hello comrade baboon- I suppose "comrade" is the correct form of address?
I was interested to read what you said about the Geneva Report. You shouldn't believe everything you read you know. Just because George (the Chancellor) and I are having short-term issues with the British economy doesn't mean we've entered any sort of "death spiral" as you so melodramatically suggest, and if you understood anything about how a well-run, well-planned capitalist economy works you would appreciate that the solution to the amassing of debt is to print more money, cut back on free handouts to the layabouts back home, and deal decisively with ISIS! President Obama and I (and George, the Chancellor, who shouldn't be written off merely because he looked like Banquo's Ghost when giving his excellent speech at our Conservative Conference yesterday: his spectral appearance was the effect of poor lighting nothing else) are all agreed on this. Our six BRITISH fighter planes will be teaching ISIS a lesson they won't quickly forget. And when our latest up-to-the-mark technological achievement - I refer of course to the remarkable Aircraft Carrier her Majesty recently and so graciously named - is actually launched, you will find that George and I have once again restored the "Great" to Great Britain, especially since the ridiculous Scottish Nationalists made such fools of themselves in the referendum, and that pathetic gnome-like creature Ed Miliband is proving himself such a wimp that not even UKIP would want him to defect!
With regard to growth, comrade baboon, which you seem somewhat lugubriously to forecast as about to fall, nothing could be further from the truth. George (my friend the Chancellor - we were chums at school together did you know?) are determined such a thing will never happen, at least under our care - though I won't predict what horrors might await us all if the Socialists are returned next year - sheer lunatic mayhem I should think, but then they are too schooled in Marx to manage even their expense claims without getting into debt - and this is why we are pushing ahead with our plans for the new technological railway breakthrough in the Pennines. This will restore high employment in a region long neglected by previous labour governments. Education and Health Services will blossom as never before and cost a lot less as cut-backs kick in faster; and scrounging off the nanny state will become a relic of earlier times under socialism.
Those who have the temerity to question whether capitalism can continue to bring joy, happiness and full-time employment on tightly controlled wages to everyone prepared to do an honest day's work for minimum pay, should be assured on this, and will be proved wrong yet again, with the dawn of a new era under the Conservative government with myself as PM - unless George tries to oust me that is. But he's much too timid to do that as we all know. Even looks feeble-minded at times.
A final thought, comrade. Debt is the key to growth. Are you incapable of understanding this simple fact? The greater your debt the richer you become. So forward with the Conservatives! The Republicans too. Lets restore sense in the world!
Thank you comrade baboon for allowing me to debate with you in this friendly fashion. I could wish all my political opponents were so charming.
There's a good piece on the Geneva Report on today's World Socialist Web Site.
It points how the regular reports of the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank all stress the "silver linings" and contribute to the lies about economic recovery. This report, though posed in capitalist terms obviously, is much less ambiguous about the state of things. Every successive report from the IMF on the developed economies for example, have been subsequently revised downwards while debt has increased in all the major economies - a "poisonous combination" according to the report. Quantatative Easing has contributed to the increased debt of the US and Britain and the state of the Eurozone remains parlous. The development of state capitalism is shown in the resort to QE by Britain and America and its variations in Europe. For example the Federal Reserve has increased its holdings in financial assets from 6% of GDP in 2007 to some 25% today. Little of this (QE) has gone into the "real " economy and, according to the WSWS, makes the Fed a "master procurer of the next crisis". The report itself is clear that "one of the conditions ..for the next debt crisis" is China whose debt level in relation to GDP has increased by 72% over the last years. China's expansion of credit has led to massive infrastructure projects and stoked up an unsustainable housing boom. Emerging countries, according to the report, have a "staggering" debt to GDP ratio increase of 36% over the last 5 years.
And at long last the Bull Markets suffered a reversal yesterday too. The FTSE is back to where it was five years ago and the Dow Jones fell as well. Commentators shrugged it off by saying it's the usual October blues (recalling the events of 1929 and 1986) but warned that a 10% correction is needed anyway, and that a lot depends on what happens in Hong Kong, and that China is the key.
But I wonder what would happen if there was suddenly a really big "correction" and the correction was inclined not to stop. Would this have a shock effect on the planet and act as the wake up call to the Western proletariat? If the boom on the Stock Exchanges is all phony and debt based anyway how much longer can the bourgeoisie go on pretending that all's well? Isn't judgement day getting closer?
ha fun thread. i wouldn't bet the farm on the economy, either way
Green shoots: stimulating growth: pruning: cutting back: sow the seeds: reap the profits: banks have branches ... yeah right and money grows on trees.
The organic metaphor is as entrenched as the spurious naturalness of political economy.
It is as stubborn a myth to dislodge as nationalism. Baboon is right: even the bourgeoisie find it necessary to limit their lies about the possibility of expansion. Take for example the general context of the 'global crisis' of 2008. It could scacely be totally denied but it has already become - by sleight of ideological hand - a reified 'force' with its own mysterious power to affect things.
Because of 'the global crisis' we have to attack you more: it will take a decade at least to recover from 'the global crisis'. While appearing to own up to 'reality' they obfuscate the reality by redefining the actuality of the utter dysfunction of the Capitalist mode: investing some purely-bad-luck alien being called the 'global crisis' with the power to throw the indubitably nice and proper process of natural endless growth off course.
I can never forget an anarcho-syndicalist pamphlet from 1968 - 'Ten Days That Shook The World' - in which it was stated that bourgeois economists, from the very beginning, have been shovelling numbers from one ditch onto another: not the most precise marxist critique but basically true.
Researching the European Bank's recent history I found - unsurprisingly - that the fiscal policy in 2012 was based on loaning up to 375,000,000,000 € to the sovereign state National Banks on the 'strength' of their ...er...debt: i.e. the European Bank takes a multibillion debt which can't be paid off as collateral for a further loan: i.e. you are 27 billion in debt so we will take this negative sum of money as assurance and lend you another 27 billion: which you can then lend to private capital which will 'of course' make a profit .... well obviously because that is the natural way things naturally grow and we just need to fertilise the soil and growth will ensue.
Very rational and sensible as I am sure you will understand.
Thank you for your post A. Simpleton. Your emphasis on the organic reminded me of the importance of destruction, and particularly destruction by war, in a prosperous world. We live in a veritable garden of Eden. But this garden requires a regular destructive procedure for its continuation and survival. Something the aboriginals understand well in outback Australia - or did at least till the arrival of civilization. Here, in the outback, the aboriginals used regularly to set everything on fire in a controlled destruction-for- renewal procedure.
In "the West" we cannot do this so rely instead on war. Ignorant folk may only see the destructive side of war. But they fail to see the opportunity for renewal which it inevitably brings. For where would we be without its invigorating powers? We would be for ever in a condition of permanent constipation! And I'm sure we all know how upsetting and irritating that can be.
I give a simple example. At the end of the second world war, and well in into the fifties, London was ablaze with wild flowers. These, as in a Garden of Eden, grew spontaneously on all the derelict bomb sites provided free by Herr Hitler and the Nazis. It was like the Chelsea Flower Show writ large and provided free by generous nature for everyone's enjoyment.
Now there are those who see no use for war, and of course it has its drawbacks too. The radioactive rain which fell on Hiroshima after the dropping of the first atomic bomb was of course regrettable, and did nothing for anyone's garden, organic or otherwise. But that was a mistake.
Controlled war is the way forward. No nuclear weapons - unless by accident, or some fool of a terrorist gets let loose - and no "boots on the ground" which only sets off the liberals. But we can engage in quite a lot of controlled and rationalized destruction without these inconvenient methodologies.
What we need comrade Simpleton is a sort of "organic war" in which as many people as possible are killed off in the most hygienic possible way, and in which designated enemy property is destroyed with minimum damage to the environment.
You will witness the billion flowers which will follow this cleansing process. Do not despair!
We need to accept that after the age of sixty we should report to euthanasia clinics so as to become the 'Soylent Green' foodstuff for the rest of the population. You may remember the film: Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson.
Vegetarians beware ...