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Saturday, 5 November 2011

Permanent Decline?

One of the strangest phenomena in contemporary Britain is the journalistic career of Matthew Parris. I used to see him occasionally in my local in Wapping when he was sketch-writer on the TIMES, and he is fairly often to be seen in my other stamping-ground of Bakewell. So I know that he is real, frail-looking flesh and blood. He appears on broadcasts and in journals and in newspapers with such frequency - and with such prolixity - that it becomes hard to believe that he writes it all, even if he is a victim of severe insomnia. Yet it is clear that he is the sole and genuine author of the piece that was printed under his name in the TIMES on November 5.

Matthew's comment piece points to a fact that faces almost everybody in the European Union [maybe not Germans, Finns, Austrians or those with a communist past], but certainly every British citizen. It is a truth that has been several times stated in this Blog; which is a central proposition in my Personal Political Economy. The game is definitely over, after three decades during which the 'financial services' invented 'products' that enabled governments, firms and individuals to borrow - and to spend - 'money' that did not exist. Delusory Economics emboldened the politicians and the 'bankers' to ignore the precepts of common sense, oblivious to the forgotten Laws of Political Economy, to encourage the development of the credit-card boom. The decline in living standards that has intensified in the past year will be consolidated; then it will continue to bite for at least ten years; after which a new low-level norm for standards of living will become accepted - not willingly, but with sullen recognition of the inescapable.

Speculation to the effect that depriving the rich of their wealth could make a better general lifestyle for the masses could only have a small and very short-term effect, after which such exactions would make matters worse. Any cash that could be collected in a one-off wealth tax would be spent by the government within a few months, after which the former rich - having been deprived of their capital - would no longer be able to generate earnings, or to pay taxes at their former rate or to buy goods or services. Government revenue, and the recorded level of supply and demand in the economy, would be reduced: which could only intensify the depression. Naive arguments for 'fairness' are impossible to segregate from the Politics of Envy, and because of that such policies become inimical to medium-term economic growth.

The very full-time metropolitan journalist and columnist and broadcaster [with his doppelganger the part-time llama farmer of Over Haddon] sometimes achieves a sound and sensitive analysis of Real Life. Matthew Paris's pessimistic message for Saturday's TIMES readers is of permanent significance. The situation that he describes is unavoidable.

As long as British Politics remains locked in the atrophied parties there is no hope of the country forging the tools that could give us means to escape the mess into which Thatcherism and the Brown-Balls phantasmagoria allowed the financial markets to deposit us all.


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