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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Milliband and Markets

The uninspiring person whom the unions inserted a year ago into the Labour Party leadership made his first ritual annual speech yesterday. It had, as usual, been painfully constructed by a committee and yet because the event is a Labour Tradition it is treated as Significant
The core of the speech was a repudiation of market Economics: explicitly denying thirty years of all parties' policies and arguing that other principles should determine what is 'good' economic activity and what is 'bad'. This concept can easily be fitted in with the recent fashion in politics on both sides of the Atlantic to argue that 'fairness' should transcend market outcomes.
Examples of 'constructive' and 'destructive' behaviour can be dredged from recent business news: but the elucidation of principles for making the distinction right across the economy is far away. If 'fair' means 'making incomes equal by imposing a pattern of high and progressive taxes and handouts' where is the incentive that drives people to excel, to innovate and to take risks; without which no economy can survive.
The more people become interested in yesterday's retro-Labour, the more its easy assumptions must be challenged.
Market Economics is obviously a busted system: it needs to be replaced: but Milliband has not signposted the way forward.  

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