One of the most annoying aspects of both the current UK political scene and the US presidential campaign is the continued rallying around old, discredited ideologies. Politicians and commentators alike persist in portraying issues along socialist or capitalist lines, attacking and vilifying anyone who occupies a different space on the political spectrum. The fear-mongering around the “Brexit” referendum has even invoked the possibility of a renewed Cold War.
Of course this is a very real possibility, as long as we persist in viewing things from the old paradigm.
You have to ask whether the manifest voter disillusionment with politicians might not, in fact, be an instinctive rebellion against the constraints of such conventional thinking? If it is, it is supremely ironic that efforts to escape career politicians have simply resulted in situations like the rise of Donald Trump, and the further entrenchment of ideological dogma. This suggests that it is not politicians but ideology that is at the root of the problem.
Unfortunately, few seem to be alert to this or to escape from this line of thinking. This article epitomises:
- The inherent left/right dichotomy in modern politics
- The iconic status of political parties in our system
- The rigid thinking that attaches to political parties and their inherent inability to adapt
- A blind faith that politics is simply a pendulum and that things will ultimately swing back.
As such it is indicative of the need for a fresh approach and a new paradigm. The collapse of communism is evidence of the fact that pure socialism does not work, while the global economic crisis and the Great Recession brought about the near-collapse of the banking system, along with the increasing divide between the rich and the poor, is evidence of the fact that capitalism does not work either – even when tempered by moderating regulations and requirements. And while stock markets have reached pre-crisis levels, there is nothing to suggest the problem has been fixed.
There are all sorts of stark warnings about future job losses as a result of automation and improved technology. Even if they are grossly over-stated, they point to a future where work will be harder to find and there will be greater unemployment and under-employment, especially with a rapidly growing population. Forget the social costs involved, this will inevitably also result in a shrinking market. Similarly, the capacity to borrow is reaching its limits and there is little scope to pay for increased public services. Consequently, the future looks bleak from both a capitalist and a socialist perspective.
All this makes a new approach imperative. We have to find a way forward that:
- Enables business to drive the economic growth that only business can, whilst safeguarding the environment and natural and human resources in the process.
- Provides for the less fortunate in society while limiting the growth of government
- Moves beyond the futile fighting that currently prevails.
Surely that can’t be too difficult, if we simply agree that we all want something that works and find a new starting point for getting there.
Please get hold of my book, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped read my ideas as to how we could change our economic systems and promote discussion and debate around them so that we can restore democracy and safeguard a better future for future generations.