Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Against Skidelsky

Also in today's Taipei Times, outrageously in my view, was this piece of errant nonsense by the clown Skidelsky entitled:
"Could socialism be an alternative or the heir to capitalism?"
No. Refutations...
"In 1995, I published a book called The World After Communism. Today, I wonder whether there will be a world after capitalism. That question is not prompted by the worst economic slump since the 1930s. Capitalism has always had crises and will go on having them."
Right from the off, I'm calling him on his misuse of language on two counts: first, when identified in terms of the application of basic ethical premises, an honest observer must admit that the "communism" he refers to is still very much with us; all that has changed are the surface features of political method and the degree and direction in which they are applied. The ethical primacy of the "common good", as decided by the State, over and above the rights of the individual is precisely what lies behind the government expropriation (theft) of farm land for corporate use; it also underlies the so-called "liberalization" of China to foreign investment and industrialization - this is not evidence of the demise of communism in China, it signifies nothing more than a shift of political method; foreign investment and industrialization has "collective benefits" - either as a rise in living standards over time, or, more cynically, as benefits to the financing and prestige of the State itself. That it is an insincere adoption of the surface features of "capitalism" only, ought to be apparent on an even cursory glance at the general weakness of private property rights in China (and elsewhere).

Similarly, Skidelsky's misuse of "capitalism" lies with his sub-Marxist* and presumptuous account of the "crises" of capitalism which ignores the myriad distortions of both capital and labour markets through the coercive policies and regulations of the State, and especially through long-term monetary debasement. So Skidelsky is wrong to claim that communism is over, and he is likewise wrong to claim that capitalism is having "crises" - since in both cases, his use of the words is so conceptually shallow as to demand dismissal; he quite literally doesn't know what he is talking about. His very next sentence is just appalling:
"Rather, it comes from the feeling that Western civilization is increasingly unsatisfying, saddled with a system of incentives that are essential for accumulating wealth, but undermine our capacity to enjoy it."
Skidelsky's psychological collectivism, and just brute, pig ignorance here is as loud and ghastly as a bright pink Ferarri; "increasingly unsatisfying" for whom? For extremely wealthy airheads like himself perhaps, but ask any young working mother with kids to raise, in say, Aberdeen, about whether she feels "increasingly unsatisfied" and why, and I guarantee you will not hear her utter a word against her "accumulated wealth" or her (not "our") "capacity to enjoy it". In the real world, there are countless people struggling to keep up with the material demands of their lives, let alone sitting back on an armchair wondering how they will ever spend all their money. Tosser. But he goes on:
"Capitalism may be close to exhausting its potential to create a better life — at least in the world’s rich countries. By “better,” I mean better ethically, not materially. Material gains may continue, though evidence shows that they no longer make people happier. My discontent is with the quality of a civilization in which the production and consumption of unnecessary goods has become most people’s main occupation."
"Ethically better" - by whose standards? "Evidence" shows that material gains no longer make people happy? Consumption of "unnecessary" goods - which goods, and who is he to dare say they're unnecessary? Is my Mac "unnecessary" for me? Or the chicken legs I bought earlier today from the supermarket to feed the dogs with?

I'm sorry dear readers, there's so much more of that conceptually shallow, collectivist filth; I haven't even got past the third paragraph (in an eighteen paragraph article), but I've got to stop here before I make myself sick. I may write a protest letter about this, but there are other things I want to write about while my engine is still firing...

N.B. To whomever it was at the Taipei Times who decided to publish Skidelsky's evil gibberish - I say he's not fit to sit in the same room as a decent person, let alone a "House of Lords".

For shame.

*I said "sub-Marxist" because I believe that Marx himself, had he lived through the early part of the twentieth century, would have rejected his own earlier analysis in which he claimed such crises occur as a result of increases in productivity.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is now in place, as of April 2012. Rules:

1) Be aware that your right to say what you want is circumscribed by my right of ownership here.

2) Make your comments relevant to the post to which they are attached.

3) Be careful what you presume: always be prepared to evince your point with logic and/or facts.

4) Do not transgress Blogger's rules regarding content, i.e. do not express hatred for other people on account of their ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.

5) Remember that only the best are prepared to concede, and only the worst are prepared to smear.