Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 04, 2020

The Financial Times Asks For Socialist Policies

On the same day the British Labour party announced the election of a center-rightt new party leader to replace the much denigrated socialist Jeremy Corbyn, the Financial Times(!) calls for the socialist policies Corbyn had planned to implement.

From today's FT editorial headlined:

Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract (also here)

If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that it has injected a sense of togetherness into polarised societies. But the virus, and the economic lockdowns needed to combat it, also shine a glaring light on existing inequalities — and even create new ones. Beyond defeating the disease, the great test all countries will soon face is whether current feelings of common purpose will shape society after the crisis. As western leaders learnt in the Great Depression, and after the second world war, to demand collective sacrifice you must offer a social contract that benefits everyone.
Radical reforms - reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades - will need to put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.


Amen to that.

There was a time when I regularly bought the FT weekend edition to the read the economic discussions in it. The weekend edition also has a section that is titled "How to spend it". The newest luxury cars are tested and the greatest estates are discussed in it. I never had a craving to buy any of the things that section promoted. I thought that the snobbish section title was probably meant to be ironic.

Now the FT has finally found the right content for that section.

This editorial is a sea change. We will quite soon experience more of it.

Posted by b on April 4, 2020 at 17:43 UTC | Permalink

next page »

- What the world needs is to write off say 5 or say 10% of all the debts.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 4 2020 17:54 utc | 1

There are a lot of reasons the reforms the FT (and many others) are promoting won't happen and/or won't work. The explanation is too long to put it here, but I'll just highlight the main ones:

1) just because capitalism was able to reform once, it doesn't mean it has an infinite and indefinite capacity to do so. History doesn't repeat itself;

2) the years that followed the 1929 depression were sui generis in History, mainly for the fact that there was a real alternative at the table - namely, socialism, led by the USSR. That alone put immense pressure on the capitalist classes in the West, as it gave the working classes unparalled leverage in class negotiations. Remember: not every war results in a war economy - after WWI, capitalism continued as usual, and would culminate with the aforementioned 1929 crisis.

3) a new technological paradigm already existed, ready to be exploited by capitalist reproduction, namely, electricity. It was all a matter of creative destruction to happen so this new technology could massify and subsititute the old productive paradigm. There's no analogous to electricity now (the capitalists are betting on: nuclear fusion, "renewable energy", gene editing, nanotechnology, quantum computing an artificial intelligence - none of them are nearly ready for capitalist exploitation as was electricity in the 1930s); in other words, creative destruction (i.e. mass extermination of other human beings and human infrastructure) will not work right now;

4) the capitalist world post-2008 is a system that is suffering from historically low profit rates. Profit rate is the lifeblood of capitalism. To compensate low profit rates, capitalism resorts to financialisation, which increases debt. High debt - specially, corporate (private) debt - means that there's a "hole" the system would've to get out before starting to invest again. That's why the USG's USD 6 trillion package didn't work, but just fuelled unemployment: business had to hoard the money to keep their debt rolling. No investment was made, and, even if the governments force the implementation of welfare states, it will be at the cost of the private sector's profit rate - it would be the euthanasia of capitalism;

5) because of financialisation, the headquarters of capitalism - also called the First World - was heavily deindustrialized. What I want to mean here is that most industry is now located in China. That means the governments of the First World are weaker than ever: even if they wanted to reindustrialize, they wouldn't be able to, at least not in the short term;

6) creative destruction is harder nowadays than in the 1940s for two reasons: a) the scale of destruction needed is bigger than ever, as capitalism is bigger than ever (because the vital space of the ex-USSR was freed up after 1991); and b) we live in a world of nuclear weapons, which elevate the level of destruction to human extinction. Put it in other words: the very concept of creative destruction is self-erasing itself, as it is converging quickly with the the act of the extermination of the homo sapiens itself.

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 18:05 utc | 2

Actually the FT has always had a rather reasonable, rational attitude, as opposed to the right-wing dross you get from most of the British press. It's only a pity that it's nearly all behind a paywall, and there's not enough of interest for me to pay a subscription. So it's less of a sea-change than one might imagine.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2020 18:06 utc | 3

The wolf changes his coat but not his nature

Posted by: Abe | Apr 4 2020 18:17 utc | 4

re vk 2

Corona is a far more radical crisis than any we've seen for many year. I wouldn't be confident in saying how things are going to go. The main issue likely to be affected is inequality, the lowering of which was a great consequence of the post-war period.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2020 18:17 utc | 5

Bravo for The Financial Times. Common sense and the recognition of reality appears to have finally, if not belatedly, made some inroad into the thinking of that fossilized bastion of upper class conservatism in the UK. Now all we need is some sort of similar action in the boot licking US main stream media. But don't hold your breath. As readers of MoA know, 2020 is a presidential election year and the two leading candidates consist of a serial liar, hypocrite, and intellectual moron, and a dementia plagued nincompoop who in couple of years will probably be a candidate for a rest home. In short, logic and reality have yet to cross the pond westward to the fossilized political elites that reside here.

Posted by: GeorgeV | Apr 4 2020 18:20 utc | 6

I posted this link on an earlier thread. This might be a more appropriate place for it:

Incidentally it speaks volumes for b's essential generosity of heart that he calls Sir Keir Starmer- the Director of Public Prosecutions who protected at least two high profile Police murderers from justice and a member of the trilateral commission, as well as the prime mover in the betrayal of Brexit voters that led to the defeat in the 2019 General election -a member of the Centre Right. They guy is an unreconstructed Blairite and probably on the US payroll.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 4 2020 18:26 utc | 7

As to the FT is this not a Japanese owned paper? And might this not be reflected in this deviation from raw neo-liberalism?

Posted by: bevin | Apr 4 2020 18:28 utc | 8

Wow. The day after Corbyn to steps down.

Posted by: mpn | Apr 4 2020 18:34 utc | 9

Here's the public letter by illustrious European scholars (in Italian):

La lettera degli accademici europei: "Senza una nuovo patriottismo, il declino dell'Unione è inevitale"

To give my honest opinion, this letter is astonishing. Astonishing by the level of intellectual decay of the European intelligentsia. It's like, they can't even perceive the immediate reality surrounding them, completely delirious.

And, of course, their practical solution to all the problems they list is simple more money. More of the same.

I remember when I first begun to read foreign media (both mainstream and alternative). I had immense expectations: as a third worlder, I thought I had a lot to learn and very little to contribute to what people from the First World would publish, post and comment. I was completly wrong.


@ Posted by: GeorgeV | Apr 4 2020 18:20 utc | 6

I don't think the FT did "common sense". They always were the vehicle of the class-conscious bourgeoisie and, as such, they always had a less filtered editorial line.

Their editorial simply states the obvious: if the present dominant system wants to remain so, it must restore its hegemony. And hegemony requires both brute force (monopoly of violence) - which they already have, and consensus (i.e. the dominated want the dominant to dominate them). Consensus requires, evidently, the proverbial carrot.

Doesn't mean it will happen.

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 18:39 utc | 10

Posted by: bevin | Apr 4 2020 18:26 utc | 7

You're unfair to Starmer. What he did before was under orders from above. Better to wait and see what his policy is going to be, rather than instant condemnation. There are some things I don't like about his recent policy in the campaign, like the insistence on suppression of anti-semitism, not genuinely a problem in the Labour Party. Let's wait a bit and see.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2020 18:50 utc | 11

I am a capitalist. I believe in free enterprise. But there is a very simple fact: there is a vital role for government (for the public sector). No question about it. If you are in the health insurance business, you only want to insure healthy people. Its very simple. So if public health is important i.e. you don't want pandemics to make everyone (including the wealthy) sick, then obviously private insurance isn't going to cut it (to maintain public health). There are times markets don't function. There are crucial services that are simply not profitable - like policing or the military for example (not security guards, but actual policing or battling ... where there is a huge possibility of death - therefore very high risk). So obviously there is a need for public sector governance. This pandemic is raising very important issues - that will change the way we see the role of governments and commerce going forward. Testing boundaries, testing limits! Its an important issue.

Posted by: ayatoilet | Apr 4 2020 18:51 utc | 12

On what planet is Starmer "centre-right"?

You've lost a reader.

Posted by: anon | Apr 4 2020 18:57 utc | 13

@ Posted by: ayatoilet | Apr 4 2020 18:51 utc | 12

That's what I think will happen in the West: the governments will try to test the limits of the system.

My bet is it won't be enough. The West will get through the pandemic, maybe the neoliberals will tone down or go back to their closets for a while and give the keynesians a little bit of time in the sun.

But, ultimately, I don't think substantial change will happen systemically. The West will continue to be capitalist; its peoples will continue to belive in capitalism. B

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 18:58 utc | 14

Those are not socialist bud fascist policies.

Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question.

Socialists would never question the privileges of the elderly, or of any infirm in general. That is a hallmark of fascist ideology.

Posted by: hopehely | Apr 4 2020 19:00 utc | 15

[continuing #14[

However, exactly because it will continue to be capitalist it will emerge this pandemic smaller than it was before the pandemic.

The West will emerge smaller, more unequal and more impoverished - albeit with its capitalist system intact.

The only variable I see here is how the Western elites will be able to isolate China after the pandemic is over. Its propagandists are already promising revenge on the CCP. Rumors say Trump is "furious" with China (because he still blames it for the pandemic). He'll certainly double down on his attempt to build an "arc of freedom" around China, converting it into a giant North Korea/Cuba (it would be, by far, the largest siege in History).

That's my ultimate prediction on this pandemic.

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 19:02 utc | 16

I am a capitalist. I believe in free enterprise. there is a vital role for government (for the public sector).

If you are in the health insurance business, you only want to insure healthy people. Its very simple. So if public health is important i.e. you don't want pandemics to make everyone (including the wealthy) sick, then obviously private insurance isn't going to cut it (to maintain public health). There are times markets don't function. There are crucial services that are simply not profitable - like policing or the military for example (not security guards, but actual policing or battling ... where there is a huge possibility of death - therefore very high risk). So there is a need for public sector ayatoilet @ utc 12 <= thanks a lot ayatoilet according to you government handles that which is not profitable that is what we the people have now, BS to that! Government should take away the private profits to all those goods and services which government is obligated to provide to those it governs at cost, not privatize them out as gifts to the feudal system which people try to claim is capitalism.

I do not believe you are a capitalist.. you might be an investor, but not a capitalist.. Capitalism requires that government play a central fair, completely unbiased roll in the economy.. All governments under the nation state system have failed this test.. Industry and so called investors want monopoly powers ( copyrights, patents, and government services and resources privatized by control or lease, so that the investors make a profit from those the government governs. no way is that capitalism.. no way at all

The nation state system needs to be disbanded..

Posted by: snake | Apr 4 2020 19:13 utc | 17

the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.

I notice they don't say anything about people who are non resident for tax purposes or offshore companies, i.e. their money. If I face a wealth tax on the money I have legally earned I'll have to think about whether I should allow the current government institutions and the people in them to continue to exist. Given the treason of joining the EU and subjugating English Common Law to Napoleonic Law, to the child rapists allowed to commit their crimes with impunity, from Jimmy Saville to the Priests and Muslim child rape gangs to the Iraq war and the murder of David Kelly, that would be the final straw, assuming the manslaughter of British people by refusing to use chloroquine or the outright refusal to properly test the population for the COVID-19 is not.

Posted by: TJ | Apr 4 2020 19:16 utc | 18

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 18:39 utc | 10

I couldn't see your problem with the Italian letter. It's a fairly standard call for more European integration. European integration, while at the same maintaining national independence, is the desire of most Europeans who have anything to do with what happens beyond their national frontiers. The hyper-nationalists, like Le Pen, only appeal to those who have no interest in trans-national activity. Once a French national has to go to work in Belgium, Germany or Italy, in order to survive, they change their attitude.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2020 19:19 utc | 19

"Starmer married Victoria Alexander, a Jewish solicitor, in 2007, and has a son and daughter, who are being brought up in the Jewish faith." Finally, and end to antisemitism, for the greater good of the United Kingdom!

Posted by: Tod | Apr 4 2020 19:23 utc | 20

This editorial is CYA lip service. We will quite soon experience more of it.

When TPTB feel stressed they pretend to be 'sensitive' to the needs of the little people.

Change You Can Believe In! LOL. It never gets old.

Nothing will change while people remain entranced by a corrupt democratic process that PROVES, time and time again, that Westerners don't want socialism.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 4 2020 19:24 utc | 21

Speaking from the US and being aware of the slime and corruption that infests our so-called healthcare industry, I think this is a good time to seriously push for “Medicare for All.”

However, the devil is always in the details, and if Medicare for All is to meaningfully change things, there are four areas that need to be addressed:

1. The private insurers need to be completely and totally booted out of the game. I am aware that in Germany and some other European countries there is some private involvement, but it seems to be fairly well controlled, and not allowed to bloat the overall costs to the system as it does here. However, here in the US, the insurance industry has been addicted to the healthcare gravy-train for decades so we can't trust them anywhere near the system. They really need to excised and excorsized from healthcare in toto.

2. Healthcare needs to be completely detached from one's employment, or lack thereof. One's employer should have nothing to do with the healthcare of their employees.

3. Some way of holding negligent or incompetent medical practitioners accountable for their screw-ups needs to be instituted that excludes the legal profession. The current approach, of aggreived patients filing a malpractice lawsuit adds expenses to the system that dwarf the amounts that plaintiffs actually are awarded. The vast amount of lawyers “billable hours” (at several hundred dollars per hour) has, like the insurance industry been feeding at the healthcare cash-cow for decades. Thus, the legal indistry, like the insurance industry has to be kept well away from healthcare. Another problem that results from the legal approach is the rise of “Defensive Medicine.” This is where doctors will order multiple tests that they know are irrelevant to their patient, but that will be a record of due diligence if something goes wrong and they do end up in court. Some of these tests run into the thousands of $$$$; another aspect of cost bloat that needs to be taken out of the system.

4. Representatives and salescreatures of both the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries need to be permanently physically banned from entering the premises of any medical establishment, from hospitals and clinics to individual doctor's offices, unless they are personally being wheeled in as a patient themselves. These industries can post news of their ongoing new drugs and equipment on-line to doctors and medical institutions in which they can describe the technical aspects of the new item, recommend what it is useful for, and the price. If medical personnel want to try the new product they order and pay for it on-line and receive it by Fed-Ex or the USPS or similar service. This is to eliminate the free samplea and kickbacks that happen when industry salescreatures and medical personnel come face-to-face.

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Apr 4 2020 19:28 utc | 22

thanks b.... regarding the capitalist- socialist divide, it seems to me covid 19 is only the beginning.. ft might like to entertain some socialist type ideas but a whole lot more has to happen for us to get to a more social dynamic here.. as we see trump, bolsonaro and other fanatic zealots of capitalist ideology, putting commerce over the lives and health of people is maintaining the status quo for them.. they are fucked in the head and we have a long ways to go before we get to the promised land, if we are ever able to..

Posted by: james | Apr 4 2020 19:29 utc | 23

“There's a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who standing looking.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.”

One really has to wonder where it will end. Perhaps it will be soon.

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 4 2020 19:29 utc | 24

No surprise. Once the British Labour party replaced Jeremy Corbyn the elites then call for some similar policies as they can keep it under their control and to their financial benefit.

They are trying to get out in front of the change even they can see is coming. They want to be in control of change as it occurs.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Apr 4 2020 19:30 utc | 25

you know that paint they tarred corbyn with - antisemitism - same paint they will continue to use on whoever steps out of line.. same bullshit.. anyone who believes that bullshit needs to go spend a week or more in gaza to be cured of it..

Posted by: james | Apr 4 2020 19:33 utc | 26

I noticed the FT article as well. The publication makes a lot of sense sometimes. This is not the first time.

Posted by: Jonathan W | Apr 4 2020 19:33 utc | 27

@ Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2020 19:19 utc | 19

What astonished me in the letter was precisely the fact that the authors still believe the European Union can still be saved. Not only that, but that it is still humanity's hope, or that it somehow has some kind of responsibility with humanity. It's like they still think they hold the torch of the Enlightenment.

Maybe the fact that this is the European standard line of thinking is what really astonished me (which can be attested by the fact that you think it is normal). The dellusion is real indeed.


This graphic may illustrate why the FT seems to be so worried with a possible reaction of the masses in the West:

"Working from home” is mostly an upper and upper-middle class phenomenon. It’s almost nonexistent at the lower end.

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 19:37 utc | 28

Posted by: anon | Apr 4 2020 18:57 utc | 13

on what planet is Starmer "centre-right"? You've lost a reader.

A closed mind has just left the bar.

A "Sir" appointed to lead the serfs - working blue collar labour.
Ignore Starmer's platform because he kept his true cards in the vault. In weeks to come, you may be disappointed to discover, after the scorched earth anti-Corbyn campaign, Starmer ran right of Long Bailey and Nandy so he could win support of shameless Blairites and Corbynite Momentum members.

Forget his pledges. Sir Starmer won't get to decide all by himself.

Posted by: Likklemore | Apr 4 2020 19:37 utc | 29

private insurers... that would be the same private banks that own them all too.. lets go back to the topic of private finance while we're at it.. private, verses public.. it is going to take some work to dismantle the present capitalist monster the west has created - noeliberalism, globalistic ideology run amok..

Posted by: james | Apr 4 2020 19:39 utc | 30

Too bad the pandemic didn't occur prior to the British election where propaganda, traitors in the ranks, and the Israeli lobby defeated Corbyn, who had the right ideas. Now Labour has been neutered with a new Blairite head, and there is no opposition to the odious British power structure on the horizon unless a new party somehow can emerge from what may become an extremely serious crisis.

Posted by: exiled off mainstree | Apr 4 2020 19:44 utc | 31

The Labour Party leader is SIR?!?
Geez. The true socialist in heart for sure. People's person 125%.
What a joke.
As Obelix would say, these Britons are crazy.

Posted by: hopehely | Apr 4 2020 19:46 utc | 32

Antoinetta III
It would be best not to have a for profit pharmaceutical industry at all. The pharmaceutical industry should work for people not profits. Universities and non-profit institutions would do a better job a producing affordable research and drugs

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Apr 4 2020 19:48 utc | 33

Lunch break and need to get back to my roofers but b wrote about social contract and that is what I keep trying to get folks to focus on.

The social contract of the West is a dictatorship because all of finance is privately controlled and all must belong or will be fought against, sanctioned, taxed, etc.

Change from private to public controlled global finance is happening in spite of the lack of understanding of most, including MoA commenters that keeping ignoring the mixed economy reality and write of capitalism/socialism polarity like it were something other than myth.

Back to my roofers....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 4 2020 19:53 utc | 34

@ Posted by: hopehely | Apr 4 2020 19:46 utc | 33

The curiosity about Keir Starmer is the fact that he's the first Labour leader 100% media created. He's a pure media fabrication.

Nobody in the UK had ever heard about Starmer before he begun to talk to the pages of The Guardian and The Independent. And, the more he bashed and sabotaged Corbyn, the more space in those two newspapers he earned.

Nevertheless, fact is at least two of the UK's main unions ended up (at the eleventh hour) supporting him on his election (albeit, to what degree they did so, it is unknown so far). In this context, he was just the right man at the right place and the right time, at a time when the "moderate throne" was vacant after a series of short-lived experiments (Angela Eagle, Owen Smith, the three Lib Dem leaders post 2016, Theresa May, Rory "the tory" Stewart).

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 19:57 utc | 35

Antonietta III @22
I would add a fifth: the higher education system needs to be subsidized to encourage and provide opportunities for qualified young people to study medicine and medical research, so they don't have to pay a fortune for the requisite degrees. Increased support is also needed throughout the public education system, which in turn needs support for families and communities.

Posted by: norecovery | Apr 4 2020 20:00 utc | 36

Meanwhile, Norway rushes to save their American masters, capitalism:

Norway Can Cut Oil Production Unilaterally if Global Output Deal Agreed

But please, keep talking about your post-pandemic socialist wishlist (universal healthcare, free higher education etc.).

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 20:07 utc | 37

Posted by: Tod | Apr 4 2020 19:23 utc | 20

"Starmer married Victoria Alexander, a Jewish solicitor, in 2007, and has a son and daughter, who are being brought up in the Jewish faith."

Not good news for Middle Eastern policy, but a lawyer in human rights does not entirely abandon his former clients, because of his marriage. Let's see what his policy is.

In any case, Israel's survival doesn't depend on British policy, but rather on the increasingly fascistic policies of Netanyahu, his allies, but also his enemies. All those Israelis with second passports, are they going to stay to support the fascistic homeland, or disappear and take up better opportunities in the US or Europe? That's the problem of Israel.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2020 20:10 utc | 38

Two days ago, MSM presented Duterte's call to the police to shoot ppl who do not obey self isolation as a bit crazy but that's it. Any UN condemnation? list of the supporters of Duterte's "regime"? travel ban? frozen bank accounts?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 4 2020 20:20 utc | 39

@vk | Apr 4 2020 20:07 utc | 38

But please, keep talking about your post-pandemic socialist wishlist (universal healthcare, free higher education etc.).

My Thai wife just explained how much easier health care is in Thailand.

Posted by: Norwegian | Apr 4 2020 20:25 utc | 40

@39 His kids are Jews, but I bet that's just a coincidence. After a guy that was accused of antisemitism, the next one is basically a Jew. I am sure that he got great marks on all the other tests, you know, pertaining to actually serving his people, and not some insignificant minority, and that no one was better than him for this job. One can only wonder, why non Jews aren't able to win political points. It's a mystery.

Posted by: Tod | Apr 4 2020 20:31 utc | 41

Sorry b, just can't agree. FT is just looking for another way to "save capitalism" a la Roosevelt. There is nothing what-so-ever genuine or sincere about elite talk of anything approaching significant change. Empires are imperial until they are not.
Without ashes no Phoenix can rise.
But there is democracy after all, just one more election, just get Bernie (or fill in your name) elected and everything will begin to change no fire no ashes needed.
Pathetic thinking from a civilization in serious decline, its built in flaws (democracy is only one) destroying it.

As soon as I see or hear the word "redistribution" my bull shit detector goes off - is there no economic/political system where the initial distribution is not done properly and must be constantly done over? OF COURSE IT CAN BE DONE.

The empire understands power and that is all it understands.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Apr 4 2020 20:34 utc | 42

testing info on worldometer.

I have emailed the site asking how they arrive at the testing numbers and have not gotten a response or found an explanation on the site.

At the moment I am not sure if the info has any practical value. Testing vs infections is about 20%. Who is getting tested? Last info I was able to find concerning this was they were only testing people who were admitted to the hospital, or who were directly exposed to someone who had been. I would assume all emergency personnel are getting tested regularly, and I would also assume all politicians are getting tested regularly. I have read about some drive thru testing available in CA and NY, I think, but not so much anywhere else.

For the most part we are basically testing those who we think have it, or those who very likely have it. If this is the case then the 20% number doesn't really have any practical value. If we were testing the general public and finding that 20% of them have positive results, that would be useful. And ridiculously terrifying.

That being said I don't see any practical value to having this information. Anybody else more knowledgeable or have a better understanding of the process or value of this info?

Posted by: David F | Apr 4 2020 20:35 utc | 43

A people 'appears', lives out the logic of their life and, once this logic does not work for them anymore, 'disappears'. A people can not reform itself. By the logic of life, I mean what individuals in this group consider a good life, how they organize themselves to obtain the basic needs of life and to protect themselves from other people and natural calamities.

A more likely scenario is a frantic and brutal effort to go back the way things were and to repress the doubters and reformers:

Posted by: LL | Apr 4 2020 20:35 utc | 44

@ Posted by: Tod | Apr 4 2020 20:31 utc | 42

It's certainly a coincidence.

Labour has degenerated a lot since the post-war, but it is still the party of the unions. It was only after two of the largest British unions officially backed him that he effectively won the war against Corbynist Rebecca Long-Bailey.

That doesn't mean, however, that he's a "union guy". As with their American counterparts, the British unions opted to go all-in in the partidary, behind-the-scenes game.

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 20:36 utc | 45

Obviously all the "capitalists to the core" want is a return to a status quo where they control the narrative. ie Give bread to the "workers" and keep the cake for themselves.
The FT article is just trying to front-run the ending of lockdown.

But VK is correct in saying the "rebirth" of capitalism, even a new capitalism with all debts safely thrust upon Governments and locals, won't happen. I'll give another reason. People are adapting to the present situation. Those I talk to do NOT talk about work or consuming. They talk about the flowers, the birds the sky and the calm. I think that the "return" to work will not be enthusiastic. Some obligation to gain the means to eat and be housed will be necessary, but how many will find alternatives to Corporate slavery? Why work to death to make the rich richer? Why take on unpayable debts?. Industry does not need more workers anyway, and the majority of jobs were already in the services before Coronavirus. Production by robots is in the hands of the "termites".

A similar situation happened at the end of WWII. When the Autocracy tried to rein in the workers and put them back into the factories cap in hand. It led to May 68. Worker discipline was not reinstated as they would have wished. It was the beginning of a great period of personal freedom. OK, after many years they managed to use debt to force submission rather than worker servility. (Which was a hangover from landed aristocracy and conscription/military service anyway). But it was a fun period.

Debts? How many people will be unable to pay anyway and will just have to "walk away" as in the subprime crash? More than Banks and the shadow parallel financial system can handle? ALL of it is dependent on the assumption that someone will pay down or "service" their debts.

The other reason is that BIG Governement has been tried and found wanting. The reaction of the Corporations and their greed has been noted and the reaction of certain countries has also opened eyes. Who wants them back?

(The MSM have clearly seen that they have lost credibility and are also trying to pretend that "they know best, and you must follow the official line". How many will follow I wonder?)

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 4 2020 20:41 utc | 46

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 19:37 utc | 28

What astonished me in the letter was precisely the fact that the authors still believe the European Union can still be saved.

You evidently have no understanding of why the EU continues to exist. It is not, or rather not only, a top-down diktat. It is rather a popular movement of those who want to do business, and those who are looking for a job to help them survive.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2020 20:44 utc | 47

Everyone has heard of Might versus Right. Why should the right way have to fight forever against Might? Stand up for limitation of fortunes to the maximum earned by work. Prevent Might.

Unlimited fortunes means tyranny and Might against the right, against the people, against democracy. Stand up for limited fortunes for limited work.

There is Might wherever there is belief in allowing unlimited fortunes. Might means tyranny, fascism, nazism, state terrorism, revolution, mass murder, undemocracy, unfreedom. It is the duty of everyone who is for democracy, for the right, for freedom, everyone who rejoices at the end of a war, to stand up against Might.

Prevent concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and prevent Might, prevent slavery to the will of the few.

Power corrupts. Stand up against corruption by standing up for limitation of fortunes. There is a limit to what any one person can truly earn.

Unlimited fortunes is unjust, is theft from the people, from everyone. It is the duty of everyone who believes in justice to stand up against unlimited power.

Unlimited fortunes means overpay and underpay. Overpay and underpay means violence. Stand up against unlimited fortunes.

Unlimited fortunes means poverty and slavery for the many. Stand up against unlimited fortunes.

Democracy is impossible with concentration of wealth and power in the hands of fewer and fewer. Stand up against the destruction of human rights.

Unlimited fortunes means conflict between rich and poor. Prevent this conflict. Limit fortunes to the maximum self-earnable [approx US$10 million].

Money is power. Power corrupts. Money and power are best when spread justly, according to how much work people do.

Unlimited fortunes is unjust. No one can self-earn unlimited fortunes. Unlimited fortunes are theft. Theft causes violence. It is the duty of everyone who is against violence to stand up against unlimited fortunes.

There is Might and there is Right. Right is right and Might is wrong. Might means misery, violence, danger, suffering, grief, war, crime, injustice. Stamp out Might. Stand up for limitation of fortunes to the just limit. Stand up against overpay and overfortunes. Stand up against nderpay, underpower and underfortunes. Stand up for your rights. Stand
up for the rights of all people. 99% of people are underpaid. 99% of people are parttime or fulltime slaves. Stand up against slavery and having to fight for what is yours.

Only a fraction of 1% are seriously overpaid. Stand up against those very few ruining life for everyone. Stand up for sanity, for everyone good, for order and peace!

1% get over 90% of world earnings. This is definitely wrong, definitely unjust, definitely theft. Stand up in defence of your family, your community, your country. Stand up against the theft of everybody's everything by a very few. Outlaw super-overpay. Outlaw tyranny. Stand up for democracy and freedom and peace.

'Equality breeds no strife', said the Athenians. Stand up against strife, against war and crime and social unrest and disorder.

Stand up against the enemy of all good things. Stand up against unlimited power. Save your country from tyranny. Save your country and the world from endless terrible suffering under tyrants. Money is best when spread, said Francis Bacon. Enforce the just spread of money: equal pay for equal sacrifice to doing the work.

Everyone has heard that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is wrong and causes violence, crime and war. No one can work more than twice as many hours a week as the average person. The world has pay up to a million times the average hourly pay. This means poverty, underpay, underpower, undemocracy, unfreedom for 99% of people. Stand up against the destruction of everything good in life by unlimited fortunes. No one can earn a million times the average pay. This is stealing money and power from the people. Plunderers get plundered. Save the plunderers from being plundered all the time.

True government, government for the best interests of everyone, is impossible with unlimited fortunes, with power in the hands of a few, continually being wrested from them. The more overpaid they are, the more time they must spend fighting off opposition, and the less time they can govern. The super-overpaid will always pursue their interests, not
everyone's interests fairly. If humans never stop craving having overpaid people, the overpaid should at least be forbidden to go anywhere near the governments.

Limit fortunes and you will reap buckets of happiness. There is superplenty for everyone if money is spread fairly, according to work.

The few get richer and the many get poorer has been going on for a very long time and so we now have extreme overpay and underpay, and consequently we have extreme violence in the world. War and weaponry are escalating all the time. We are within cooee of destroying the world. Stand up against the destruction of the whole world. We already have enough bombs to destroy the world 60 times over. Stand up against the destruction of the world. The world is under siege from rich and poor, from overpaid and underpaid. Stop this siege. Stand up for justice. Stand up against the endless robbing of the 99% of people who are underpaid.

Present world income, spread according to work, would pay approx. US$100,000 to every family working average hard, the real figure may be double that -but the overpaid are getting 90% of world earnings, and this overpay, injustice and theft is causing the escalation of war and crime to destruction of everything. It is causing vast unnecessary suffering to billions of people, who are made angry by it, and who fight to get their rights. Stop terrorism, stop concentration camps, stop torture, stop state terrorism. Stand up for limitation of fortunes.

Limit fortunes to US$10 million and end the wealth, poverty, and terrible conflict in your world. Stop everyone becoming evermore used and abused wage-slaves to a very few.

Stop a very few from strangling the economy and peace of your country, from stealing everything by unlimited fortunes. Save capitalism from fascism! Make capitalism equally available to all, in justice. It is the duty of everyone to stand up for happiness. And there is no happiness without justice, without limited fortunes for limited work, without the prevention of wealth drifting silently, steadily, endlessly into fewer and fewer hands.

Limit fortunes to US$10 million and you will preserve happiness, democracy and peace in the USA forever. You will make USAmerica a model for happiness for the world. It is madness to pay one person a million times the average hourly payrate, as we are now, causing extreme underpay and slavery, causing endless escalating violence and misery, when there is
enough for every family in the world to have an income of US$100,000 if the money is spread justly, proportionally to work.

Why do you put up with working as hard, and yet being paid a fraction of the pay of the most overpaid? What happened to equality, liberty, friendship, fairness, peace?

USAmerica will just get more and more disturbed and violent, if you fail to do your duty, to limit fortunes to the maximum earnable. Are you for violence, suffering, disorder, chaos, or are you for peace, happiness, order, sanity? Prevention of overpay prevents underpay. Prevention of overpay prevents the endless deterioration of your quality of life, your safety, your future.

The super-overpowerful have always murdered millions. Are you against Massmurder, or not? The founding fathers of America passed laws to limit fortunes, the first thing after the Declaration of Independence. Will you? The American dream of freedom from tyranny failed. The laws limiting fortunes were not good enough. Look at America now. Save America from the self-destruction America is suffering. Save America from the self-destruction every empire has suffered once inequality grew to extremes.

There is super-plenty for everyone, US$200,000 for every family for working average hard. 1% are overpaid. A tiny fraction of 1% are super-overpaid. A tiny fraction of 1% are getting 80% of the products of all the world's work. Money is a ticket that allows us to take workproducts from the pool of workproducts – division of labor has been used as an excuse to dis-equalize contribution and withdrawal, but there is no logic nor sound reasoning behind this practice. The tradition is wrongheaded in the extreme. What makes sense is what makes justice: you take out the amount equal to what you put in by your own work, no more and no less. Stand up for right, stand up for good sense.

It is hard to grasp how much the 1% get for things that are not their own work. They get over 90% of world money. That means, that there will be ten times as much money in people's hands, in the economy, in the markets, if everyone is paid fairly. Overpay has gone to a super extreme. By allowing unlimited overpay, we have caused the robbery of ourselves. 99% of people are underpaid. That is, you are probably working part or most of the time to make some stranger rich, overpaid, overpowerful, able and very willing to
rob you of your freedom, happiness and peace.

Can you grasp that you have been robbed? That you are being robbed daily? That you earn much more than you think you do? That almost all the violence in the world is caused by you neglecting to prevent limitless overpay? Limitless overpay means limitless underpay, which is theft, which causes anger and violence, war and crime. Which escalates. Which
has escalated for thousands of years because people have never prohibited unlimited overpay, which is giant robbery and mass murder, torture and terrorism.

Stand up for equal pay for equal sacrifice to work. Stand up for no more paying people for things that are not their own work.

Or carry on with your perfectly senseless all-grab-for-all, grab off and grab back economic geno-sadism as you have for far too long, Humanity, and keep loyal to the suicidal idea to allow unequal reward for equal sacrifice.

You’re choosing one or the other every minute.

Meanwhile, the future is approaching at the rate of 1 second per second.

Humans have painted themselves into the ultimate corner. There is one way out. The price of walking through the door to survival is getting majority general human opinion in strong agreement to bestow fairpay justice on all humans.

Everything else is auto-extinction.

Posted by: Phryne's frock | Apr 4 2020 20:45 utc | 48

Two days ago, MSM presented Duterte's call to the police to shoot ppl who do not obey self isolation as a bit crazy but that's it. Any UN condemnation? list of the supporters of Duterte's "regime"? travel ban? frozen bank accounts?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 4 2020 20:20 utc | 40

Or perhaps it wasn't really that. The local papers don't mention it, and nobody seems to take that possibility seriously.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 4 2020 21:04 utc | 49

Years, decades in some cases, of austerity has hollowed out the public health sector in western countries. Now a robust public health sector is needed, and it's nowhere to be found. (That is, it's needed if "they" are really serious about saving everyone.)
Now we are seeing an airlift of supplies coming into the west from China and Russia, and even Cuba. I'll bet that hurt!
The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is being touted as a possible replacement for an incapacitated Biden in this year's US election, mainly due to his very public caring and concern for all those threatened by Covid-19. And yet in his just passed 2020 budget there are cuts to the public health sector. Go figure.

Posted by: Hal Duell | Apr 4 2020 21:10 utc | 50

Capitalism of course is just a way of life of inhabitants of a certain island. At first it was productive, increasing levels of agricultural produce (agricultural capitalism) and fueling population growth. A population increase led to overcrowding of the island and spread of the inhabitants abroad, ie colonialism. Incessant assault of the islanders on the continent led to adoption of some elements of capitalism by the continentals -- some elements.. no other people embraced it. The continentals talked about social contract. In one part of the continent, continentals violently rejected efforts to displace them from land and turn into wage-laborers on their own land and embraced community...

Private property does not make capitalism. Private property had existed in various forms before. Nor trade makes capitalism. Great merchant societies had existed before.

Posted by: LL | Apr 4 2020 21:11 utc | 51


I thought that was a pretty good article. Try explaining this to the average american:

"This lack of shock absorbers is integral to the U.S. growth model, and under normal circumstances, it is a feature, not a bug. When systems such as the American one are hit by shocks, they tend to bail out their financial systems to keep credit flowing and let the real economy absorb the blow through unemployment and austerity policies. The assumption is that with no shock absorbers in place, prices and wages will adjust quickly, capital will be redeployed, and growth will return without the need for state intervention."

Say something like this to almost anyone in america and they look at you like you are a complete and utter moron for suggesting such a ridiculous thing. You will be the fool and you will be shunned and not taken seriously.

This is the reason that there is no hope for america or capitalism, at least not until this entire thing collapses. Perhaps after a lot of bloodshed and suffering, something better can be built from the ashes.

Posted by: David F | Apr 4 2020 21:17 utc | 52

Posted by: Abe | Apr 4 2020 18:17 utc | 4
"The wolf changes his coat but not his nature"

If FT, or the Wall Street Journal, push something calling it "Socialism" it is actually Stealth Fascism. Didn't Hitler do the same, right up to the Night of the Long Knives in 1934?

Posted by: carl | Apr 4 2020 21:23 utc | 53


Posted by: paulmeli | Apr 4 2020 21:37 utc | 54

Bevin 7
Thanks for the info.
He has already bent the knee and pledged to Tel Aviv.
Almost the first thing he has done is the 'necessary' grovel...
We know exactly where he stands.....

Posted by: Emily | Apr 4 2020 21:42 utc | 55

David F@55

Stupidity and indoctrination is one thing. But now I think people react that way out of fear and terror. People do know, they are not stupid, but they are just weak, bullied and intimidated, afraid of losing jobs, being unemployed and homeless, starving on the street. They need to be obedient and believe all the right beliefs and do all the right things or they will be punished, ostracized, vilified, fired. People do know.. anxiety/mental illness, gun sales through the roof... And the overlords know that the plebs know.. police armed to the teeth, surveillance state, NORTHCOMM...

Perhaps, what distinguishes those islanders from all the rest of people is lack of terror tolerance and complete obedience of their overlords. A curious conclusion given all the talk about freedom and human rights...

One of the references in that article is to a paper 'Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device' by Joseph Stiglitz.

Seems to me things will come apart when being obedient will be no different in the outcome as being disobedient, question remains for what % of the population...

Posted by: LL | Apr 4 2020 21:50 utc | 56


I would agree that some people know, and very small amount of people, the vast majority don't. Also agree that of the ones who know, fear and intimidation keep them playing along.

I play along as much as necessary to keep myself fed and out of jail, out of fear. Who wants to get shot by a cop, or sent to prison to be raped on a regular basis.

And it is always so easy to quell a group of dissidents, simply take a small part of their number, give them a better life than the others on the condition that they keep the others in line. Works every time.

This is why I think the whole thing has to collapse for any change to take place.

Posted by: David F | Apr 4 2020 22:06 utc | 57

You are probably right about Duterte.
As for Starmer, he is a very peculiar sort of "Human Rights" lawyer. He has indicated his satisfaction with the appalling Extradition Treaty with the US and, so far as I know, would be quite happy to see Julian Assange sentenced to a millenium, less time served, for publishing the very real human rights violations in Iraq and other much needed information.
He is also signed up to the ludicrous and thoroughly discredited definition of anti-semitism promoted by fascist zionists.
Starmer is, by far, the most openly right wing leader that the Labour Party has ever had. His open affiliation with the trilateral commission is an indication of this. His crippling of the Labour election campaign in 2019, two years after he had been part of an coup to remove Corbyn and deny him the right to run for re-election, may help explain his refusal to publish details of the financial contributions to his well oiled campaign.
Perhaps you are right in allowing him the Nuremburg defence that since the killing of de Menezes was carried out by an anti-terrorist police squad the Attorney General had the right to veto any prosecution for what the Coroners' Jury found was an unlawful killing.' In the case of Ian Tomlinson, beaten to death by cops while trying to make his way home past demonstrators, it was Starmer's decision not to prosecute.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 4 2020 22:11 utc | 58

Since the FED is owned by its member banks and not the USG it is actually the corporations bailing themselves out in a pinch. That was the whole reason the FED was created. By definition a pandemic would strip any system bare and it would be impossible to instantaneously respond to with masses of required resources.

A pandemic would case any system to struggle under its burden. What I am seeing is the creation of the public private partnership coming out of this pandemic. Together we will make the trains run on time. What has brought us to this point in the shadows in now coming into the open. The corporations will openly merge into the government.

Enjoy your $1000 a month cut from the government to make this happen. That $1,000 will be worth $10 in a decade. We will pay a heavy price for that free money. There may be a better solution but who is in place too implement such a solution? Let me guess, nobody.

Posted by: dltravers | Apr 4 2020 22:22 utc | 59

@ Posted by: King Lear | Apr 4 2020 21:37 utc | 58

I've already commented many times here why all the evidence indicate China is a socialist country by the scientific definition. I'll not repeat myself again.

But I agree with you that the capitalist world is acting like a desperate necromancer trying to revive the social-democrat corpse.

It'll fail in my opinion, mainly for these reasons:

1) social-democracy depends on super-profits to exist. And super-profits can only exist in a world with First and Third Worlds (which was clearly the case in the post-war): the First World, as the industrialized part of the capitalist world, extracted super-profits from the Third World, thanks to extremely cheap commodities the later exported to the former, in exchange for much more valuable manufactured goods. This resulted in chronic trade surpluses for the First World at the expense of the Third World. That room for superexploitation doesn't exist anymore, as China rose to the status of superpower, and the Russians are not caving in so easily as the western elites planned;

2) capitalism inevitably suffers declining profit rates. That's Marx greatest discovery. As it gets older, its general (social) profit rates get more and more depressed. This diminishes capitalism's capacity of reproduction, as it lowers its capacity of valorization. To compensate for that, capitalism has to increase its mass of surplus value, which can be done by rising exploitation of the working class (independent of the country) and by expanding its Lebensraum. The problem with the later option is that, after the fall of the USSR, the only place capitalism has to go is to China. If it fails to conquer China, it will have to continue to increase its exploitation of its own working classes, which excludes the social-democrat option.

3) the First World is not that industrialized anymore. Now, the industrial center of the world is China. That means the First World lost its capacity to recall capital from the Third World without financializing. The USA can still recall capital from the rest of the world because it is the financial superpower, but, as we observed (and as I correctly predicted in this very blog), the COVID-19 crisis was not a crisis of capitalist cycles, but a crisis of production. This resulted in a crisis of liquidity in the USA: there were plenty of American Dollars, stronger than ever, but with nowhere to go. Hence they had, inevitably, to resort to violence in order to divert masks and ventilators being destined to Germany, France and Brazil to their own consumer market (thanks to their hegemonic navy).

Posted by: vk | Apr 4 2020 22:26 utc | 60

This is George Galloway-who knows what he is talking about when the Labour Party is being discussed- on what happened. sadly, he is right.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 4 2020 22:26 utc | 61

King Lear @58
"In the long run the international Bourgeoisie are planning for a time in the distant future, where they have completely replaced the proletariat with technology (AI and Automation)"

I disagree on many levels.
Robots will not replace people any time soon (as Mask @ Co found out recently), and I would argue never, simply because the metallic bond is not as good as the C-C bond and because natural proteins and enzymes are the most awesome nanorobots ever produced. Many think that nanotech is a tiny metal robots doing things -- no, you can not make robots the size of a protein from metal. Modern nanotech is a boondoggle, except maybe for drug delivery and some contrast agents. The future will be in some sort of fusion of metal and C-C materials, but will see, this is a different topic. BTW, AI is likewise at this point nothing but a giant statistics program.

Capitalists are good at fear mongering and suck at tech, simply because people who are gripped by fear can't think 'straight'. Creativity and innovation is hard and can't be delivered to a deadline and at will. Innovators are not imported from China or India. What can be delivered is the fudge that is touted as the greatest innovation. See Boeing, self-driving cars... Uber, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, etc are not tech companies and never were... I admit being wrong when I see Mask on Mars, until then all his talk is a desperate effort to stay relevant and support TSLA. Socialist countries (lifetime employment, co-ownership with labor) - Germany, Japan, South Korea - are the best at tech.

Communists got it wrong. There is nothing international about capitalism. It is a way of life of a people from a certain island. There is no "international Bourgeoisie", which is actually a problem for capitalists. There are only some bad people with huge egos (essentially traitors) in many countries willing to deliver their own people for exploitation by the capitalists to satisfy their need to feel better than the rest of countrymen...

Talk of tech replacing people is another labor-disciplining fear-inducing device (see my post above)...

Posted by: LL | Apr 4 2020 22:26 utc | 62

David F

When obedience = disobedience, then things will change...
But one also needs to imagine a different world.

Posted by: LL | Apr 4 2020 22:30 utc | 63

Perhaps you are right in allowing him the Nuremburg defence that since the killing of de Menezes was carried out by an anti-terrorist police squad the Attorney General had the right to veto any prosecution for what the Coroners' Jury found was an unlawful killing.' In the case of Ian Tomlinson, beaten to death by cops while trying to make his way home past demonstrators, it was Starmer's decision not to prosecute.

Posted by: bevin | Apr 4 2020 22:11 utc | 62

There really is no excuse for the lack of prosecution in both the de Menezes and Wilkinson cases. In particular with Wilson, the killing was captured on video, leaving almost no room for equivocation on the part of the prosecution.

Best in future to treat Starmer as either an MI5 or Mossad plant in the labour party. Even if he's not, his behaviour is so close to that of a MI5 or Mossad operative as to be indistinguishable. Presuming that he is, makes his future actions somewhat easier to predict

Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 22:35 utc | 64

**** In particular with Wilkinson

Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 22:37 utc | 65

I doubt the Financial Times is truly serious about including socialist policies in the hopes of improving the quality of life of the average citizen. No, like the Nazis rebranded themselves from Fascist to National "Socialist" in the hopes confusing the people about the goals of actual Socialism with Fascism, The Financial Times is throwing around the terms "Redistribution" and "privileges" & "Wealthy" with the hopes of confusing the people into accepting Fascist policies with a thin veneer of Socialism. The next 10-20 years will be years of despair and suffering in the West (US/Canada/UK/Germany/France) but years of Triumph in the East (Russia & China).

Posted by: Kadath | Apr 4 2020 22:39 utc | 66

Unions in UK have been worthless since early eighties. The bosses sold out the workers to the capatalist oligarchs for fear of losing their position. Why the people still pay their dues is out of tradition/loyalty. Pulling in money every year and making no difference to working class peoples health well being or prosperity or rights. Never hear from them until voting count. Never see them even when votes required. When you need them - silence.

Posted by: Jagsfan | Apr 4 2020 22:56 utc | 67

UBI is essentially indistinguishable from dole money, if theres no well paid jobs or few, to be had.

Inflation will wipe out any extra benefit to recipients, over and above current existing welfare entitlements.

Whatever level UBI is set at will rapidly become the new poverty level.

anyone telling you otherwise is either, at best, so ignorant of basic economics they are not worth listening to or, at worst, actually dangerous to pay attention to

Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 23:32 utc | 68

I do not see how it is going to happen in any of the five-eyes countries. France showed some hope with the yellow vest movement. However, even if grassroots leaders such as Sanders or Corbyn made their way into the office, they would face opposition to their policies almost from every corner of the establishment. And I do not see how something resembling yellow vest protests happening in US. It is not 1930s or 1960s any more, where there was a strong laboring class along with their unions which were able to dictate and protect their interests. It is death by thousand cuts after the communist Soviet boogeyman is buried. The social rights gained through long fights in the past are taken away one by one under austerity measures while the unions are marginalized and become irrelevant with their identity politics.

Posted by: Innocent Civilian | Apr 4 2020 23:32 utc | 69

If the FT is championing UBI then the 1% are determined to offer a future of no employment, productive or otherwise, and offer only dole-slavery to the proles

Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 23:36 utc | 70

Capitalists are good at fear mongering and suck at tech,

Posted by: LL | Apr 4 2020 22:26 utc | 66

Ironic given that you are communicating this using realiable tech created almost exclusively by capitalists.

"Talk of tech replacing people is another labor-disciplining fear-inducing device (see my post above)..."


Tech has replaced massive workforces in all major industries. Eg: Tech replaced the large work forces employed by the publisgers of newsmedia and is well on the way to replacing printed newsmedia entirely.

Tech replaced the vast majority of the workforce employed in the auto industry, banking industry the textile industry

I could go on, listing industry by industry, but if you don't get ithe point by now you never will

You really are speaking nonsense

Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 23:47 utc | 71

"This editorial is a sea change. We will quite soon experience more of it."

No, we won't. Rather the opposite; soon it will be open season on the bourgies, let alone the poors.

Posted by: corvo | Apr 4 2020 23:48 utc | 72

Socialist countries (lifetime employment, co-ownership with labor) - Germany, Japan, South Korea - are the best at tech.


Anyone calling Germany, Japan and SK "socialist" is either ignorant of the state of affairs in those countries or ingorant concerning the definition of "socialist".

Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 23:56 utc | 73

Seems the US is converging on Venezuela.

is this the beginning of WWIII?

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 4 2020 23:57 utc | 74

"Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract"

LOL "Social contract"...never was one...never will be...

"Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question."

Yeah, governments have *ever* had the interests of the population at heart over their own...

Dummies...promoting the same failed statist policies..."same as it ever was..." This is just another scam to continue the rule of the powerful...aided and abetted by the fools who think some sort of "socialist utopia" is remotely possible. Even *anarchists* of all people fell for this scam - except a handful of individualist anarchists who realized the utter futility of all the "collectives" and "communes".

Get a clue. There is NO government OR society which is truly viable *indefinitely* for human beings.

It all comes crashing down when *human nature* reasserts itself. Human nature is *the* limiting factor on human civilization.

You'll learn - or you'll die. Whichever comes first. And it doesn't matter to me which.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 4 2020 23:57 utc | 75

Re: The social contract

In this interview, UK billionaire James Goldsmith discusses the ramifications of free-trade agreements that were about to take place in 1994 (GATT), as you can retrospectively see, he correctly predicted many of the things that happened after that

He predicted GATT would "break the social contract" and it did. He was against doing so, surprisingly

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 0:04 utc | 76

The amount of utter sneering here makes me think there is some hope!

Posted by: Nancy E. Sutton | Apr 5 2020 0:12 utc | 77

@ Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 23:47 utc | 75

Not this time. AI is still just a distant dream, and quantum computing is still at an experimental stage. Nanotechnology is well beyond our reach and gene editing will take time to bear fruits.

More importantly: all those new technologies would require gigantic amounts of investment. Capitalism only invests when the profit rate with the new technology compensates for the substituted workforce in wage terms (variable capital). Put it in simpler terms, the probability for capitalism to automize labor (i.e. invest in new productive technologies) lowers the lower are the wage levels. That's why Third World countries have so low technological development levels: workforce is simply too cheap, you can simply throw people at the problem until the problem is solved.

A solution for this would be for the State to pay for the R&D (socialization of losses). Indeed, that's what happened in the USA during the 1960s-1980s (the internet, for example, was a military project paid entirely by the USG). But, as I said before, all the promising technologies are still a distant dream.

@ 74

It's not surprising for the FT to be defending UBI at all. The original idealizer of UBI was nothing more nothing less than Ludwing von Mises, one of the fathers of neoliberalism.

His rationale for UBI was pretty much straightforward: the western nations should immediately dismantle their welfare states and give every individual a single income in the form of money. This money could then be spent at the free market. The argument is that UBI could maintain a cheap and numerous reserve industrial army, so wages could be maintained at a minimum level.

Posted by: vk | Apr 5 2020 0:13 utc | 78

Not this time. AI is still just a distant dream


True AI, yes. But we already have useful enough machine-learning systems in place. We have almost replaced the need for military vehicles and aircraft to be piloted by humans in situ for example

Tanks have already been produced that through a combination of remote piloting and installed robotics do away entirely with the need for a human crew.

Large UAV fleets can be remote piloted by a number of pilots smaller than the number of UAV in the fleet.

This is tech in operation, today, replacing large numbers of expensively trained human individuals

In the banking and financial industries [sic] large numbers of humans are being replaced by algorithms programmed and overseen by much smaller teams of specialists

So as you can see, just making confident sounding pronouncements like " not this time" doesn't make what you say true

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 0:33 utc | 79

A dole slave is free to do whatever he wants with all that free time. It could be something quite creative.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 5 2020 0:40 utc | 80

@ Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 0:33 utc | 83

But the military sector is unproductive in the sense it is a dead end in the chains of production: it only contributes through lateral appropriation by other sectors.

They most compelling evidence those technologies are still a distant dream (for capitalist exploitation) is the very fact we're in an economic depression. If the techology was there, ready to be massified, the this depression could be quickly over - even if at the cost of hundreds of millions (or even billions) of human lives: all the bourgeoisie had to do was to implement the new technology and violently crush any rebellion/riot/revolution that appeared in its was with the national armies.

More importantly, China wouldn't be the geopolitical problem to the West it is now. Neither Russia. The West would certainly have broken with MAD vis-a-vis China-Russia (Eurasia) by now and, therefore, asserted techological superiority over them. We wouldn't need that horde of hysterical propagandist of the Western MSM screeching on twitter about how they will get revenge over the CCP once the pandemic is over.

Either this is the greatest bluff in History, or those so-called "technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution" are just more capitalist fluff.

Posted by: vk | Apr 5 2020 0:42 utc | 81

A dole slave is free to do whatever he wants with all that free time. It could be something quite creative.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 5 2020 0:40 utc | 84

yeah, could be . . ..


More importantly, China wouldn't be the geopolitical problem to the West it is now. Neither Russia. The West would certainly have broken with MAD vis-a-vis China-Russia (Eurasia) by now and, therefore, asserted techological superiority over them. We wouldn't need that horde of hysterical propagandist of the Western MSM screeching on twitter about how they will get revenge over the CCP once the pandemic is over."


You mistake the purpose of the screeching MSM hordes. It's not to scare the CCP, its to distract the lumpen proles.

The CCP have their own lumpen proles to distract, their own 1%.

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 0:51 utc | 82

:all the bourgeoisie had to do was to implement the new technology and violently crush any rebellion/riot/revolution that appeared in its was with the national armies.


The purpose of all the distraction is not to get to the point where there's any rebellion/riot/revolution for them to crush.

But just in case, the systems to do so are already in place. The necessary laws. The means of covert surveillance and remote monitoring we proles even purchased ourselves. The iPhone became a must have object of desire. "Hey look at me, my chains are gold plated, with 64 GR of memory and high res video surveillance"

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 0:58 utc | 83


Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 0:59 utc | 84

But the military sector is unproductive in the sense it is a dead end in the chains of production: it only contributes through lateral appropriation by other sectors.


It already is contributing. The lessons learned from use of those technologies are being appropriated by other sectors

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 1:08 utc | 85

@ Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 0:51 utc | 86

Another very important evidence that those technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are nowhere near to our reality (if they are even feasible in theory): oil.

If those technologies were near completion, we would certainly be talking about a post-oil (post-combustion) society right now. Yes, oil is essential for the production of many polymers, but this geopolitical war over oil is still certainly over combustibles. Most industrial equipment is still moved by an oil-based fuel. The USA is still very worried about its energy security in oil terms, as it is going to soon invade Venezuela and is trying to bankrupt the oil industries of Russia and Iran, plus it is also trying to strangle China of oil. It is also moving mountains to make shale oil to work out.

Oil for fuel certainly wouldn't be a problem if we were anywhere near, say, an efficient solar energy source (orbital caption and transmission through microwaves to the Earth) or a non-deficitary fusion energy generator.

The Rosneft or Gazprom bigwig once said (during the 2014 oil crisis) that he would only stopping extracting oil "when the price reached zero".

The fact that geopolitics is still molded by oil is another evidence the Fourth Industrial Revolution is not in the horizon.

Posted by: vk | Apr 5 2020 1:09 utc | 86

So "they" win again. Never in the annuls of human history, have so few, done so much, to F people over, than them. We have the same problem here in america. Thanks Tod for the information.

Posted by: Tonymike | Apr 5 2020 1:10 utc | 87

@ Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 1:08 utc | 89

The military has always contributed (since the Roman times).

The problem is that, in the capitalist system, the military-industrial complex will still suffer the problem of valorization over time. That's why the Pentagon is much more bloated, corrupt and inefficient now than 50 years ago.

Posted by: vk | Apr 5 2020 1:21 utc | 88

Realist (I don’t agree with him on everything, especially his borderline Zionist view of Iran)

Posted by: King Lear | Apr 5 2020 1:10 utc | 91


I've never expressed an opinion on Iran, Zionist or otherwise.

That was probably one of the many regular commenter twats that pollute this place, most likely one of the Stalinist contingent, sockpuppeting and impersonating or whatever term you prefer.

Obviously something I said upset them, and since they hadn't the wit or imagination to offer a rebuttal they chose that route instead

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 1:25 utc | 89

welp since you have made 13 of the last 26 posts ( 1/2), i am sure it was indeed something you said, lol..........

Posted by: james | Apr 5 2020 1:48 utc | 90

Re: VK #82,

It's worst than that, with UBI under a fiat money system the welfare system that provides for a minimum standard of living/care would be replaced by a money that would be constantly devalued with the printing press of the Fed in order to enslave the labouring class to the owners of capital. It reminds me of the post-WWII Germany and Japan, the US Occupation forces introduced a "ration" system to supposedly provide for the welfare of the conquered nations. However what they didn't mention was that the daily calorie ration was less than 1300 day for a man (i.e. below starvation) this was deliberate choice as the US/British/France Occupation forces used both the threat of withholding rations to individuals and their families and the bribery of bonus rations to force the German and Japanese people to obey their occupiers.

Interestingly, the US only reversed this policy of forced starvation when Communists victories forced them to. In Germany, the US army pointed out that the Soviets were providing a full 1800 calories in their zones of control and there was "no choice between being a Capitalist on 1300 calories a day and a Communist on 1800". In Japan, The US was forced to reversed their deindustrialization policy after the Communists defeated the Nationalists and the US plans to use China as their primary ally in Asia were left in ruins.

UBI will be used by the hostile Oligarchy Class against the Working Class in the same way rations were used against the occupied peoples of Germany and Japan. Whatever the UBI amount is, it will be deliberately kept below the starvation / dire poverty level to force people to work for the Oligarchical Class at whatever level the Oligarchic wants and the threat to remove / reduce the UBI will be kept over the workers' head via the various small print rules that will be inserted into the law (i.e. if your convicted of a crime, if your not a "good" social citizen, your paper work might be lost or mismanaged, etc..). The eventual goal will be the same as it always is, to crush the ability of the Working Class to resist and eliminate the Middle Class entirely (capital/wealth in Capitalism must always be concentrated into a smaller and smaller group of elites)

If you want to improve the standard of living of the Working Class and society in general, here's the solution the elites will never accept, but it is the only one that will work, Pay people a living wage, tax the top 0.1% at 80% of their income. Until governments are elected that enact that simple, straight-forward solution, everything else they say about a more equal society or redistribution is just a lie, perhaps a pretty lie, but a lie all the same and a lie aimed at destroying society itself.

Posted by: Kadath | Apr 5 2020 1:57 utc | 91

Realist #94
I remember a poster on this website who called themselves “Realist” claiming to be part of the Iranian diaspora and posting complaints about the Iranian government, that implicitly supported regime change.


Well it wasn't me, and his comments appeared after I first used this name to comment here, so obviously an attempt to smear by association with neo/zio-con ideology


Posted by: james | Apr 5 2020 1:48 utc | 95

Well my doppelganger clearly isn't the only one with neither the wit nor imagination to offer anything interesting in rebuttal

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 2:01 utc | 92

another note, I don’t understand why you resort to calling people “Stalinists

Stalinist in the sense of unable to coexist with or tolerate difference of opinion and view. Perhaps Chekist/fascist/ISIS-like might be a better description

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 2:05 utc | 93

Or perhaps even neo-con

Posted by: Realist | Apr 5 2020 2:08 utc | 94

"Ironic given that you are communicating this using realiable tech created almost exclusively by capitalists."
"Tech has replaced massive workforces in all major industries. "
Posted by: Realist | Apr 4 2020 23:47 utc | 75

Nope. Not true. To say that 'realiable' (what that may mean) computers or internet were developed "exclusively by capitalists" (whatever that may mean as well) is to be ignorant of tech development. A mere look at Wiki (not a best of sources) should disabuse anyone of that opinion. Some point to US and EU leadership in biotech as evidence of capitalist innovation. But there is a trick in everything, and the real situation is hidden from you. Biotech is a public-private partnership: publicly funded scientists with employment for life (tenure) made the discoveries and pharma then took that knowledge and turned into drugs: cost to public, some cost and all profit to capital, scientists get to do what they like. Capitalists know what they can't do -- they can't do tech innovation. At least that how it was suppose to work, but then university administrators figured out that they could pay themselves more if they got the capitalists to pay for discoveries, university opened 'innovation' centers and hired patent lawyers a plenty, scientists came under pressure to publish and patent more, which they did by publishing garbage, system broke and we hear now about the crisis of result reproducibility. The response to that now is to 'speed up drug approval' -- Boeing all over in the making, release to the public crappy drugs... The innovation of the old worked the same way, Xerox PARC, from whom Jobs and Gates famously stole ideas, was essentially partly state-owned (whether we admit this to ourselves or not), because it was supported by DARPA and other governmental agencies.

Nope. Tech does not replace anything. Yes, in a factory somewhere a capitalist can decide to fire some workers and purchase a complicated robot. Fine. But this is law in thermodynamics that is true for everything. It says roughly that the amount of disorder in the world always increases. To make an order somewhere, one must spend a lot of work and make an even larger amount of disorder somewhere else. To make and maintain that highly complicated (read ordered) robot requires lots of highly qualified engineering and labor talent. A capitalist elsewhere must train labor and produce that robot, parts, maintenance. Only those who are not familiar with any sort of tech will deny this.

Can anyone seriously argue that the one of the greatest leaps in technology from horses to cars eliminated jobs?!?! Or from candles to electricity?!? From hand-washing to washing machines... From abacus to calculators... etc... Technology improves and speeds up life and frees us to attend to other needs and necessities... That's the truth.

Technology creates jobs, full stop! What US is experiences is a destruction of technology and innovation and growth in manual labor and least tech jobs: food delivery, cooking, handyman labor, etc... and my favorite 'professional shopper industry'... This is happening as we hear about an imminent arrival of pizza delivering drones and cooking robots.... but they never come and never will - it is a trick.

Posted by: LL | Apr 5 2020 2:16 utc | 95

C'mon b. The only socialism coming out of this plandemic will be for the 1%. MMT will be used to ensure the slave hoard do not starve, but the real wealth and power will accrue to those with the most power and wealth. Every small business that goes broke, every indebted home owner that foreclosure destroys, every taxpayer the world over will contribute their hard earned wealth to the coffers of the few.

Virus? Pig's arse!

Where is the electron microscopy work that sorts out all the other corona viruses from "covid 19" in the PCR test samples?.

That is where the truth of this plandemic is determined and as far as I can find there is none.

But what would this poor dumb farmer know?

Posted by: eagle eye | Apr 5 2020 3:27 utc | 96

@66 LL

Wholeheartedly agree with your thesis that human labor will not be replaced anytime soon.

Look no further with the recent incident of Amazon firing and then attempting to smear an organizer in their warehouses. Leaked documents showed they were trying to paint him as unintelligent and a threat to the other workers (violating quarantine rules) when he was really blowing the whistle on Amazon not protecting its people.

We have heard over the years that robots will replace workers at their warehouses. We have heard that automated trucks will deliver packages...or drones. All a pipe dream. Why else would they still be engaged in this union-busting if those advances were anywhere close to bein rolled out? These are impossible logistics for a company like amazon and automating everything IMO would severely increase their liability and the efficiency which they are touted for.

At bottom, you are correct, LL, with your assertion that threatening automation is TPTB utilizing a fictitious, looming spectre to scare off unions who desire transparency and a fair cut.

There is no proper argument that could be mustered where Amazon is anything but a typical neoliberal corporation par excellence that is desperate to keep people in the dark.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Apr 5 2020 3:51 utc | 97

@105 nc

Correction: Automation will severely decrease the efficiency Amazon is known for.

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | Apr 5 2020 3:56 utc | 98

"Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix."
Amen to that? Why? There are many of us who sacrificed a lot so we can retire in comfort in the future and be of no burden on anyone, so why should my wife and I be taxed on our wealth that we began from Zero after paying full taxes along the way. Sorry B, but I have to disagree here.

Posted by: Hass | Apr 5 2020 4:12 utc | 99

Nemesiscalling | Apr 5 2020 3:51 utc | 105

Ye. Exactly. Fully agree,

Posted by: LL | Apr 5 2020 4:12 utc | 100

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