The political and economic motivations behind the re-branding of capitalism…

Transition studies regarding democracy are politically motivated, separating politics from economics when defining democracy in order to marginalise calls for economic redistribution to be associated with democratisation. In a similar vein, Cameron and Miliband’s re-branding of capitalism is an attempt to humanise the reality of capitalism, so there is more focus upon agents/individuals like in transition approaches, to distract attention from the deeply unequal practices and aspects of capitalism. Essentially, transition democracy and also Cameron and Miliband still officially sign up to the liberal democracy philosophy, which I wrote about recently, where capitalism and democracy are seen as inevitably linked.

Both Cameron’s ‘moral capitalism’, or so-called ‘popular capitalism’, and Miliband’s ‘responsible capitalism’ are attempts to humanise the markets, focus on individual responsiblity and actions whilst taking attention away from the wider structural context and constraints. Both speeches are based on rhetoric, ignoring the endemic unfairness in a system where there are excessive cuts to social services, benefits, welfare, health care (one trust is considering bringing in the army to stop them from closing down their A&E services at night due to the cuts), to name a few; where changes are focused on tinkering around the edges. Utilising a neoliberal capitalism driven economic policy, there is no wonder they want to focus on the political elements of any economic decision rather than the economic decisions themselves. Therefore, the specific economy details such as spending and cutting are skirted over, as we are lambasted with soundbites of different forms of capitalism. This ignores the fact that capitalism needs debt, unemployment, depression and conflict to sustain itself – if we concentrated on the practical reality of capitalism then it wouldn’t be so easy to dress it up with flowery concepts such as moral, popular and responsible; all oxymorons when placed beside capitalism.

This isn’t a new thing. Everyday there are personal vicious attacks on the most vulnerable in society, as attention is taken away from the corrupt nature of a system based on profit, greed and conflict. Boris Johnson was only saying yesterday that young people in Britain lack a ‘work ethic’; that pays no consideration to the lack of jobs, when people who spend money getting into debt come out with a degree and have to work at a supermarket; that is hardly breeding a responsible working attitude. We then turn on the news and see some more rubbish about excessive bankers’ bonuses or cuts to working people and think, why? It doesn’t make people feel valued nor nurture self-respect; especially attacking those unemployed when unemployment is at its highest in 18 years.

Sadly, in the case of Labour, their pandering to the right is a product of a system where media right-wing monopolies and an international system obsessed with neoliberal cutting preside; this makes any attack upon capitalism harder. To be fair to Labour, their attack against capitalism is a lot more systematic than the Tories, and I can’t imagine Ed Miliband coming out in an all and out attack upon capitalism. But more and more people around the country are starting to connect the dots, though sadly our political system doesn’t enable a consistent mainstream representation of these views. Labour’s leadership and mass base are too disconnected. This is where local democracy and alternative political movements and dissemination of information is important; we have to remember the realities of a system that has had liberal democracy as the core philosophy for many years and the constraints upon Labour after a Blair reign.

Sometimes you may find yourselves wondering why you’re bothering. Why you’re fighting an uphill battle against a group of small manipulative people. Why you put so much energy into fighting for causes that often find you preaching to the converted, as people close, and not so close, around you sometimes don’t always get why you’re so passionate about social justice. The clever manipulation and re-branding of capitalism, an inherently unequal political, social and economic formation, is one of those battles. People think you’re being too negative, ignoring the positives of the government. Well my response is that any positives you can find are seriously undermined by all the negatives, and the day we stop fighting to make sure every ounce of injustice in the world is removed, is the day our souls die.

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5 thoughts on “The political and economic motivations behind the re-branding of capitalism…

  1. The reason the main political parties are tweaking around the edges, (some more than others, as I do see a shift in ideology within the Labour Party, that’s why Luke Bozier has fucked off to the Conservatives). Is that they are all Free/Mixed Market Economy based Parties, no one (that includes Communism), can see outside of the bubble to solve the basic dilemma, that human beings in the majority are a greedy bunch of shysters, who look after number one, ie themselves.
    That’s why the ‘Free Market’ has done a wonderful job of exacerbating the gap between rich & poor.

    Remember the ‘Free Market,’ is not Capitalism, as Capitalism needs strong set of rules & regulations to run successfully, to counteract human greed, that is why it is doing so well in China, as it is the ultimate Capitalist State – you don’t want those pesky things like freedom, democracy & individualism, when you can make a quick Yen!

    The Free Market, on the other hand, was designed to circumnavigate everything ‘human,’ by letting it (the market) be controlled by imaginary numbers, making imaginary markets to exploit, and leading to continuous growth. All controlled by computers, which of course doesn’t work, as it still needs humans as a core component. (If we were all emotionless Cybermen, it may work).
    Once this problem is solved, a non-aggressive ‘Rodenberry’ style Social/economic system can be created, but whilst we are they way we are, all social/economic/political system are going to be exploitative.

    So why do we struggle?

    Because, brothers & sisters, we are the small but growing percentage who are not ‘shysters!’ We all have a greedy, over individualistic ‘shyster’ moments, but we usually feel guilty afterwards.
    So we fight, because know its right. We fight for the planet, we fight for each other, and slowly but surely will get stronger and win the argument.

    However if the human race has survived to that point, is another matter…!

  2. Thanks for the comment, appreciate it.

    I’m not so sure I share your Hobbesian view of human nature nor your argument regarding markets not being capitalism. Free markets are an essential part of capitalism; yes, in practice, this is often not fully realised as these added regulations are just reforms brought in to tame the realities of capitalism; things like the welfare state are closer to the social democratic traditions more than anything else.

    I think people’s attitudes towards each other is closely related to the nature of the system. This system encourages greed, conflict and hate. It has excessive inequality to divide and rule. In a different type of society, I don’t think you’d have such a negative view of humans!

    1. I seriously believe it is vice versa.

      The need for self preservation, for one’s self and ones close to you, be it family, or group, is fundamental animal base emotion. With it comes selfishness, and power (to be head or near the head of the heard & staying there).

      Historical records clearly shows when the shit hits the fans, it is literary a human-eat-human free-for-all.

      The powerful remain powerful, because it is self preservation, whether it is a workers revolution or something else, it is done for the self preservation or the betterment of that group, for example the Russian populace believed that they would be better off under the Soviet ‘Communist’ system (I use the term Communism sarcastically here as it certainly wasn’t Communism), and most likely the original leaders of the ‘Soviets’ did believe in the equality of Marxism, but it soon disappeared, when they liked the trappings of power – why, because with power they could keep the cake they had snatched from the hands of the old bourgeois elite and eat it!

      It happened in France it happened in Germany, and the British and the Romans used it to build to massive empires.

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