SELF-RELIANCE: The neoliberal success story is really a sorry tale of tribalist failure to oppose.

Things we can no longer rely upon:

The News

The government

Journey times

Ethics in public life

Truth in marketing

A job

Interest on savings

Equality before the Law

The police


A good education

A decent pension

State healthcare

Glance down that list, and two things are clear: we are forced to be more self-reliant today than 60 years ago…..but the equipment necessary for self-reliance has been gradually taken from us.

Both of these changes in British life since 1955 are the direct result of government action, inaction and incompetence.

But still our share of world trade shrinks, our national debt gets bigger, the gap between rich and poor gets wider, our salaries sink lower, our overpopulation gets worse, our Rights are eroded….and nothing is certain any more. From the availability of a qualified doctor on duty at the weekends to the word of a Priest, nobody’s sense of duty, honesty or competence can be taken for granted.

Think about all that, and then ask yourselves: what have the Thatcher >>> Blair >>> Cameron years really achieved? Why do people see neoliberal fiscal economics as a success?

One answer must surely be, “Because those offering more inclusive alternatives have failed to gain credibility, and refused to form a common front for decency”.

That’s it for Sunday morning. Enjoy your lunch.

19 thoughts on “SELF-RELIANCE: The neoliberal success story is really a sorry tale of tribalist failure to oppose.

  1. May I humbly suggest that we never could rely on many of these items. I look back on the naivety of our trust in the news, government, ethics in public life, equality before the law, and the police with a kind of bemused wonder. It is with some embarrassment that I remember my early trust in these various agencies and understand what ‘nothing but voluntary blindness before had concealed’ (Johnson – Rasselas). Nothing much has changed in the last 200 years and I suspect that nothing much will change in the next 200. But that doesn’t stop me appreciating the beauty of our countryside today. Yes, it may be raining – well, pissing down actually – but the garden could do with it!


  2. Blaming it all on neo-liberalism turns this an astonishing pro-government intervention statement that makes it really clear that we are indeed lacking “Truth in marketing”. Why do you not take a little trip to Venezuela? I mean just as a healthy reminder of what politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats can do if you hand them excessive powers.

    By the way “What Neo-liberalism?” Bank regulations: Credit risk weights for government 0%, for private sector 100%


  3. Venezuela! I agree both socialism and neo-liberal economic systems have failed.
    Self-reliance will be the order of the day. Friends wonder why I grow all my own vegetables/fruit and brew all my ales and wines. Well, when the Minsky Moment arrives over the next 12 months they will discover why.


  4. Pers so a couple of rouge states N Korea,Greece,Venezuela & Iceland are to blame for the world flat-lining & not flat earth neoliberal economics

    ps “What Neo-liberalism?” Bank regulations: Credit risk weights for government 0%, for private sector 100%,it’s the lack of regulation & enforcement of any regulation that allows passing the buck of responsibility! for gross misconducted & accountability for their actions onto the government,ie privatised profit socialised debt


  5. Indeed, Caratacus, the past was no Eden. The state has always an extractive, elitist (hierarchical or class-based), expansionary social mode (see e.g. “The Art of Not Being Governed” by James C Scott and a wonderful collection of essays in “The Early State” edited by Skalnik and Claessens) that uses, and is symbiotically coexistent with the market (see e.g. “Debt: The First 5,000 Years” by Graeber) to perpetuate its existence. Victories within the state for ‘common folk’ are very hard won and tend to be retracted, evidence that such egalitarianism is in fact against its grain. The government of a state entity cannot be for and by the people for reasons of its history and structure, and neither can the market, for both are part of the same process.

    And regarding the ‘honesty’ of marketing, see Adam Curtis’ “The Century of the Self” (an excellent BBC documentary on marketing’s roots in propaganda) and Vance Packard’s “The Hidden Persuaders” (1957). Both should quickly disavow us of any such notion. Advertising is not about honesty, it is about deception and manipulation.

    As for the uncertainty of things, well, that’s what happens when paradigms crumble. They are the solid ground of ideas upon which we stand, from which we progress, of which we feel certain. When they change, as they always do, uncertainty takes over, and it’s unsettling for a while, perhaps several decades. Another aspect of this that is typical when civilisations weaken and die is the decadence explored by Jacques Barzun in “From Dawn to Decadence”.

    In short, the broader and deeper our perspective on things in their historical context, and in terms of what is changing and where, the better able we are to navigate, adapt and survive. But yes, on the whole, this is probably going to be about self-reliance down to smaller groupings that the nation state (if we’re lucky), and I think the truly democratic (anarchic) experiment being carried out now in Rojova is instructive in this regard.


  6. What do we trust when all else fails?? Well it is fitting that this question was asked on a Sunday morning. When we see that every bit of the system created by man to function for our safety and welfare has been or is about to be destroyed by greed and corruption, wherein can we trust??
    The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone of the foundation.


  7. @ johnb

    ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone of the foundation.’

    Sorry mate, Sunday or not, it hasn’t, it never was and it never will be. Judeo-christian claptrap and the religious extremism it spawned is a large part of the problem.


  8. JW you are most philosophical today as the contributors are too. In my humble opinion you all get ten out of ten.


  9. talking to “old scrotes” as we do it appears to me that your list John, has been universal for many years, i call it being an old cynic! the problem about getting older is you realise how many times you,ve been had over.


  10. @Iancas56

    Things that we can not rely on.

    To that list you add “Judeo-Christian claptrap”. My I ask what you believe we can rely on? What do you suggest to bind us all together? It would seem to me that denigration of someones religious belief is not a place to start.


  11. There was never a time when all or perhaps any of these things could be relied upon. I don’t dissent from the argument that self-reliance is being “removed”. But in my ripe old age (early 50’s) I have never believed in any of the above – at least for free. It would be a much better world if we could rely them. However we have to take the world as we find it. Alas..

    Of course you could start a popular political movement and change the world. But basically most folk seem to manage quite well without government getting involved. And they want to keep their heads down. Indeed, most problems seem to be created by government – at least here in France where I have the pleasure of living. I’m not for unrestrained global capitalism, but a little economic liberalisation here would be a welcome relief to most folk trying to earn a living…


  12. That kind of knowledge is priceless. I can only claim the garden part. I tried ales and they tasted pretty bad.


  13. Pingback: At the End of the Day - SecuritySlagsSecuritySlags

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s