Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I suppose it is to be expected that the term 'free market' is used as synonymous for capitalism as such. On the basis of the most recent PIPA poll, support for 'free markets' has tumbled since 2002 in most countries. And most of those who do support the 'free market' want it to be strongly regulated (ie, they don't actually support a 'free market'). The results indicated that support for the 'free market' was sliding long before the current banking crisis. Given the current global failure of entitlements, and the growing recession, the crisis of confidence is likely to grow. But grow into what? In some European countries, the Left is growing (Germany and Greece). In Italy, it has just experienced a catastrophic defeat, mainly on account of being chained to a neoliberal administration in the era of manifest neoliberal failure. What did Prodi promise after his election victory in 2006? "Shock therapy". I shit you not. Where was he by early 2007? Up shit creek without a paddle. It is amazing that the left coalition has survived this long, what with the insistence on keeping troops in Afghanistan, driving through, er, 'free market' reforms, and expanding a US base in the country. In the UK, it is very difficult to imagine New Labour winning the next general election - it isn't that the Tories are popular, it is that enough of Labour's voters won't come out (and in London, 22% of them are considering a vote for the shaggy right-wing sociopath from Have I Got News For You). Most Britons have no confidence in Brown's ability to handle the crisis, and the reason is that they know they're just going to get more of the same. Unless the radical left makes some strides quite quickly, not only will there be a Tory government, but the Nazis will have representation in the London Assembly and boost its standing in local councils.