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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The GNP of Neoliberalism - Inequality

Inequality is poison to democracies,  the most successful product of the neoliberal economic disaster that has been forced down own throats, by those who fund parties on the right and left, for the past thirty or more years.

However, I disagree with what is said here about capitalism beating socialism. It beat communism, in a perverse tyrannical oligarchical form, not socialism, which is ticking along just dandy in most Scandinavian countries while capitalism creates massive inequality, misery and is in an existential crises right now.

The fact that the NDP is abandoning it just shows that they are abandoning their ideals in pursuit for power, what I feared Mulcair would do. He's too much a back-room power broker. Without its socialist heart, the NDP are the Liberals, the party who seeks to uniote the sides from the centre. If the Liberals can return to this idea of unity from the centre, they have my vote back and the NDP cease to be relevant. The NDP should stand to the left and look to the centre, not try and chase the right right across centre line. To use my only sports metaphor, Mulcair is offside.

Th following is from the CBC's Sunday Edition.


Jerry Muller discusses economic inequality

Capitalism, while building prosperity, is also creating a widening economic gap. Photo: CP/Ryan Remiorz
Capitalism, while building prosperity, is also creating a widening economic gap. 
Photo: CP/Ryan Remiorz
In the battle between capitalism and socialism, we can safely say capitalism won. Even the membership of the federal NDP voted overwhelmingly to remove references to socialism from the party's constitution two weeks ago.

Not to mention the fact that the ostensibly communist redoubt of China has loosed the reins on a particularly energetic form of capitalism. 

But while few would argue anymore that capitalism is not the best way to build prosperity, the steadily worsening side effect of capitalism unbound is economic inequality. The gap between the rich and everyone else has gaped ever wider over the past three decades. 

The effect is perhaps most pronounced in the US, where capitalism is an article of faith of the republic.
The Pew Research Center in Washington reported last Tuesday that between 2009 and 2011, the top seven percent of Americans had their net worth increase by 28 percent. Meanwhile, the other 93 percent saw their wealth actually go down.

It's happening in Canada, too. Over the past 30 years, according to Conference Board of Canada, the top 10 percent of Canadians have enjoyed a 34 percent increase in average income, compared to a meagre 11 percent rise for the bottom 10 percent.

Economists like the Nobel Prize-winning Joseph Stiglitz and global bodies like the World Bank warn of the dangers of inequality to social and economic stability.
The left responds to the widening chasm between the rich and the poor with outrage. Elements of the right respond with something more akin to a shrug. 

But Michael's guest, Jerry Muller suggests that neither the right nor the left really know how to respond effectively to inequality. 

Jerry Muller is a Professor of History at the Catholic University of America in Washington, and his books include The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought and  the author of the lead essay in the current issue of "Foreign Affairs", Capitalism and Inequality: What the Right and the Left Get Wrong.