Great article by the venerable 93 year old Marxist historian. I agree with him that no sane person is looking to Soviet-type socialist systems, and he doesn’t even advocate them himself anymore. Yet he argues that the free market capitalism of the past 30 years has failed as badly as socialism, or even worse. The future, of course, must be some kind of a mixed economy. As Thatcher used to say, There Is No Alternative. Those who continue to drink the free market Koolaid against doctors’ orders will experience increasing pain, illness and debilitation.
Hobsbawn points out how badly the British Labour Party, in the form of New Labour, has failed in its attempts to mimic Thatcherism. That agenda is precisely why the global economic crisis is hitting the UK so much harder than much of the rest of Europe. The UK drank the free market Kool Aid a lot more and longer than some others like Germany and France did. For one thing, the UK gladly offshored all of its manufacturing in order to become a world center for global financial shenanigans and gimmickry. Great idea that was.
The Republican Party, unrepentant advocates of free market capitalism in this era when that is increasingly suicidal, has no role to play in the future of the US. To the extent that we keep electing them, we go down the tubes faster and faster. At this point, the Democrats are little more than a weak version of the Republicans. The mixed economy of the future is off the agenda for both parties, so both parties are scrolling our nation’s epitaph with every step they take.
The American people have not figured out the wisdom of Hobsbawn’s words, and possibly they never will. In that case, Americans deserve every future bad thing that will befall them.
Reading the idiotic comments at the end, many of them, appallingly, from British readers no less, who seem just as insane about free market capitalism as the average US teabagger, was very discouraging. I thought that the British were a bit more sane than we are. I guess not. Oh well, in that case, the Hell with the Brits then too. I have little sympathy suicidal idiots.
The future is not going to be good.