Where is politics going?

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
Post Reply
User avatar
shpalman
Light of Blast
Posts: 4912
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:53 pm
Location: One step beyond

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by shpalman » Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:13 pm

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 5:51 pm
dyqik wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:21 pm
JQH wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:19 am


There would appear to be a link between income inequality and levels of crime. See this for example. So your comment is only valid if you don't regard reducing crime as worthwhile.
Inequality is also important if you care about supporting a strong, stable economy. Which most UK and US voters say is important to them.
A strong stable economy is good, but if you state that one of the goals of such an economy is less inequality, the capitalists won't have it. The goal of capitalism being to make the rich richer at the expense of the poor.
capitalists want the benefits of socialism it just doesn't occur to them that they'd have to pay for it

`we all suffer'
molto tricky

User avatar
jdc
Hilda Ogden
Posts: 1021
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:31 pm
Location: Your Mum
Contact:

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by jdc » Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:47 pm

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:06 pm
monkey wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:01 pm
Martin_B wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:18 am
I'd consider myself a democratic socialist: I'm a capitalist, but think that the self-destructive excesses of capitalism should be restrained by government oversight and that taxation should be enforced, with the money collected going towards creation of opportunities for everyone, regardless of your status of birth. Government should be there to help all people, not a greedy few and their friends.
You can call yourself what you want, but from what you've written there, I'd call you a Social Democrat.
What is the difference between a social democrat and a democratic socialist? I really don't get it. I'd consider myself to be a left wing socialist but not a communist or a marxist. Although I think communism gets a bad rap, which it doesn't wholly deserve.
I think, essentially, social democracy is where you have making capitalism nicer as your end goal and democratic socialism is where you have making capitalism nicer as a stepping stone on the way to your end goal of socialist paradise.

monkey
Catbabel
Posts: 670
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by monkey » Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:00 pm

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:06 pm
monkey wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:01 pm
Martin_B wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:18 am
I'd consider myself a democratic socialist: I'm a capitalist, but think that the self-destructive excesses of capitalism should be restrained by government oversight and that taxation should be enforced, with the money collected going towards creation of opportunities for everyone, regardless of your status of birth. Government should be there to help all people, not a greedy few and their friends.
You can call yourself what you want, but from what you've written there, I'd call you a Social Democrat.
What is the difference between a social democrat and a democratic socialist? I really don't get it. I'd consider myself to be a left wing socialist but not a communist or a marxist. Although I think communism gets a bad rap, which it doesn't wholly deserve.
For me at least, and I know others define things differently, a social democracy would be what Martin described: Capitalism with a democratic state taking the edge off things. Democratic Socialism has the democratic state, but the means of production are in some way socially owned. Social democracy might be seen as a step on the way to Democratic Socialism, so a Democratic Socialist might support a Social Democracy, but for them it isn't the goal, and I think that's where the difference is.

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:37 pm

jdc wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:47 pm
Herainestold wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:06 pm
monkey wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:01 pm


You can call yourself what you want, but from what you've written there, I'd call you a Social Democrat.
What is the difference between a social democrat and a democratic socialist? I really don't get it. I'd consider myself to be a left wing socialist but not a communist or a marxist. Although I think communism gets a bad rap, which it doesn't wholly deserve.
I think, essentially, social democracy is where you have making capitalism nicer as your end goal and democratic socialism is where you have making capitalism nicer as a stepping stone on the way to your end goal of socialist paradise.
I don't think it's fair to say imply that many people actually believe in socialist paradise. Leftists certainly can believe that socialism would merely be an imperfect improvement, but nevertheless a desirable one.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:02 pm

In terms of Blairism - I thought the UK was mostly fairly nice under Blair, unless you happened to be a Muslim or look like one. Not perfect, but doing ok domestically. I politically came of age during the Blair years and took many of the benefits for granted. The Conservatives were massively sh.t back then, it's probably worth bearing in mind - both Iain and Duncan Smith spent time as Party Leader, for example.

The problem with government policy under Blair was that the tools it used didn't ensure sustainable change. Blairism was only as good as the Blair at the head of it, and didn't last a decade after he left office. Ten years is easily enough to ensure deep-rooted change to the economy: for example, see the Conservative governments of 2010-2020. If the right will make swingeing, rapid changes to achieve their goals, the left needs to be prepared to do the same or they're acquiescing to inexorable ratcheting rightwards.

For simple examples, Starmer isn't proposing to restore Blair-era levels of social welfare. Biden is keeping some of Trump's corporation tax cuts. The right made those cuts overnight, but the left responds with gradual increases over a decade, just in time to be cut again when the pendulum swings back.

The Thatcher administration doubtless knew that they were effecting a long-lasting decline in the power of organised labour unions, and they delighted in doing so. If the left wants to have long-term success - as it presumably does if it's self-confident in its position - it needs to similarly think about breaking the power of the institutions that hold the country back by preventing equalising opportunity and alleviating poverty. The left needs to decrease the political influence of big businesses, especially the financial sector and media (including social media), the power of billionaires (especially unaccountably international non-doms), the lockup of resources by hereditary property-owners, and so on. A small number of billionaires would be mildly inconvenienced and millions of poor people would benefit.

You have to adapt the weapons you employ to the enemy you face, and softly-softly Blairism doesn't work against the move-fast-and-break-things modern right, and they're only able to behave like that now because they were able to continue solidifying gains during the Blair years. What's the reasoning of folks here who seem to be advocating for gradualism as a necessary component of left policy?
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

Herainestold
Dorkwood
Posts: 1159
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:23 pm

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Herainestold » Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:07 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:37 pm


I don't think it's fair to say imply that many people actually believe in socialist paradise. Leftists certainly can believe that socialism would merely be an imperfect improvement, but nevertheless a desirable one.
I think he was being ironic. Socialist paradise makes one think of the Khmer rouge or Gulags. There are socialist end states that are not so extreme but would be orders of magnitude better than capitalism
Delta changes everything.

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:19 pm

monkey wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:00 pm
Herainestold wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:06 pm
monkey wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:01 pm


You can call yourself what you want, but from what you've written there, I'd call you a Social Democrat.
What is the difference between a social democrat and a democratic socialist? I really don't get it. I'd consider myself to be a left wing socialist but not a communist or a marxist. Although I think communism gets a bad rap, which it doesn't wholly deserve.
For me at least, and I know others define things differently, a social democracy would be what Martin described: Capitalism with a democratic state taking the edge off things. Democratic Socialism has the democratic state, but the means of production are in some way socially owned. Social democracy might be seen as a step on the way to Democratic Socialism, so a Democratic Socialist might support a Social Democracy, but for them it isn't the goal, and I think that's where the difference is.
These boundaries are fairly fuzzy, though, if you include things like worker representation on corporate boards. In Denmark, for example, companies with over 35 employees have 33-66% board worker representation. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, France and even Luxembourg have similar policies (though outside Scandinavia the law typically applies only to very large companies with hundreds of employees). Nevertheless, that does represent a considerable democratisation of corporate power.

People don't tend to laugh at those countries and make jokes about collectivising farms, but there are clearly ways to do quite socialisty things using economic instruments rather than tanks. Which is much nicer all round. Quite a few of those countries also have things like wealth taxes (France, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland have them, as do Italy and Spain), and they couple it with things like grants for students and cheap (or free!) higher education, improving participation in the modern economy.

In terms of this:
Martin_B wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:18 am
I'm a capitalist, but think that the self-destructive excesses of capitalism should be restrained by government oversight and that taxation should be enforced, with the money collected going towards creation of opportunities for everyone, regardless of your status of birth. Government should be there to help all people, not a greedy few and their friends.
That's my basically my position too, with the exception that I think I wouldn't call myself "a capitalist": I think capitalism is best considered one of several tools for achieving a certain kind of end, rather than an end unto itself. I suppose if I earned my crust by investing assets I might use it as a job description, but at the moment I don't even earn enough crust to own any assets ;)
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:20 pm

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:07 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:37 pm


I don't think it's fair to say imply that many people actually believe in socialist paradise. Leftists certainly can believe that socialism would merely be an imperfect improvement, but nevertheless a desirable one.
I think he was being ironic.
That would be so typical of jdc. He's like ten thousand spoons on my wedding day.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
jdc
Hilda Ogden
Posts: 1021
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:31 pm
Location: Your Mum
Contact:

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by jdc » Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:57 pm

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:07 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:37 pm


I don't think it's fair to say imply that many people actually believe in socialist paradise. Leftists certainly can believe that socialism would merely be an imperfect improvement, but nevertheless a desirable one.
I think he was being ironic. Socialist paradise makes one think of the Khmer rouge or Gulags. There are socialist end states that are not so extreme but would be orders of magnitude better than capitalism
I was thinking more of a nice, cuddly socialist country than something like the Khmer Rouge or Gulags. It was maybe a bit flippant rather than ironic?

If it reads like I'm being unfair to socialists generally, it was careless rather than intentional and I'll happily replace the offending words with the neutral "socialism".

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:00 pm

Fair enough :)

A lot of people do tend to write fairly dismissively about people to the left of themselves so I was probably too touchy there.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
lpm
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3263
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:05 pm

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by lpm » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:49 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:02 pm

The problem with government policy under Blair was that the tools it used didn't ensure sustainable change. Blairism was only as good as the Blair at the head of it, and didn't last a decade after he left office. Ten years is easily enough to ensure deep-rooted change to the economy: for example, see the Conservative governments of 2010-2020. If the right will make swingeing, rapid changes to achieve their goals, the left needs to be prepared to do the same or they're acquiescing to inexorable ratcheting rightwards.

For simple examples, Starmer isn't proposing to restore Blair-era levels of social welfare. Biden is keeping some of Trump's corporation tax cuts. The right made those cuts overnight, but the left responds with gradual increases over a decade, just in time to be cut again when the pendulum swings back.

The Thatcher administration doubtless knew that they were effecting a long-lasting decline in the power of organised labour unions, and they delighted in doing so. If the left wants to have long-term success - as it presumably does if it's self-confident in its position - it needs to similarly think about breaking the power of the institutions that hold the country back by preventing equalising opportunity and alleviating poverty. The left needs to decrease the political influence of big businesses, especially the financial sector and media (including social media), the power of billionaires (especially unaccountably international non-doms), the lockup of resources by hereditary property-owners, and so on. A small number of billionaires would be mildly inconvenienced and millions of poor people would benefit.

You have to adapt the weapons you employ to the enemy you face, and softly-softly Blairism doesn't work against the move-fast-and-break-things modern right, and they're only able to behave like that now because they were able to continue solidifying gains during the Blair years. What's the reasoning of folks here who seem to be advocating for gradualism as a necessary component of left policy?
What you wrote is factually incorrect from the beginning. The benefits of Blairism continue and were not totally wiped out. Despite the damage of Tory austerity we still have the schools and hospitals, and pensioners remain mostly lifted out of poverty, and teenagers can still expect to go to university.

If Blair was promptly reversed, how come education, health etc is so much better today than 30-40 years ago?

I accept the pandemic is a big dent, as were the austerity cuts to local services and welfare benefits. But 10 years of Starmerism can easily get it back on track.
What ever happened to that Trump guy, you know, the one who was president for a bit?

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:40 pm

Yes, most of the buildings built in Blair's time are still in use, though with cuts to operational budgets meaning that there are less teachers, doctors and nurses to go around*. But that's not what I was referring to.

Rather than just accepting a 10-year ping-pong, with the left incrementally building up social support and the right knocking the pegs down again then squeezing some more juice out, a big-picture thinker might consider the idea of making lasting changes to the socio-political systems itself, such that power dynamics are altered more permanently. Otherwise you end up with a huge disparity in people's opportunity depending on whether or not they were born at the peak or trough of the cycle. I think the example of Thatcherite union-crushing is a good one: unions haven't recovered since, giving employers a long-term upper-hand over workers.


*Much like baked-in covid deaths, you need to bear in mind the relevant generation time: we're still not seeing what happens when young people born and raised under austerity enter the workforce. I bet when that happens we'll see a widening social gap, from the ongoing cuts to schools, welfare, Sure Start, the EMA, student grants, etc. That doesn't mean the UK is going to revert to pre-Blair levels of health and education, because there are also global trends to consider: very few places have made that much of a backstep. If we can't completely blame Blair et al. for the 2008 crash, we also can't completely credit them with educational and health improvements.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 1916
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:48 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:02 pm
What's the reasoning of folks here who seem to be advocating for gradualism as a necessary component of left policy?
They won't get elected if they don't do that. Its gradual ism or nothingism.
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:56 pm

Hmmm. Brexit was quite drastic, and sort of sold as such, and people voted for it.

If the left could sell their ideas as well as Brexiteers I reckon they'd be in with a shot, especially with the added bonus of truth on their side. But they can't even sell their own policies to themselves without a tentative toe-in-the-water approach.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

Herainestold
Dorkwood
Posts: 1159
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:23 pm

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Herainestold » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:01 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:56 pm
Hmmm. Brexit was quite drastic, and sort of sold as such, and people voted for it.

If the left could sell their ideas as well as Brexiteers I reckon they'd be in with a shot, especially with the added bonus of truth on their side. But they can't even sell their own policies to themselves without a tentative toe-in-the-water approach.
Corbyn's agenda was fairly radical and it didn't seem to excite people, maybe because Brexit sucked all the oxygen out of the room.
What is really needed is a moderate lefty, who doesn't scare the middle classes, who then pivots when in office and has the strength to make structural changes so that policies can't easily be reversed, and can stay in power.
Someone like a left wing Viktor Orban.
Delta changes everything.

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Light of Blast
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Iceland

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:33 am

I reckon the people who sold brexit to the masses could just as easily, or even more so, sold Corbyn's manifesto, had they wanted to. And I doubt brexit would have happened if Corbyn was its avatar.

The left is not good at clear, simple messages, nor at promoting popular charismatic figures. That's what Blair did well, the slickness, the style and the spin. He could have sold a different set of policies just as well.

It's clearly possible to convince people to vote for radical things. You just have to be good at convincing people of things, and the modern UK left is sh.t at it.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

Millennie Al
Catbabel
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:02 am

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:20 am

JQH wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:19 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:09 am
So what? Inequality is not a valid measure of anything worthwhile in society.
There would appear to be a link between income inequality and levels of crime. See this for example. So your comment is only valid if you don't regard reducing crime as worthwhile.
Firstly, the mere presence of "a link" is not an approriate basis for a conclusion, but more seriously, that article is journalism based on data which it links to. It is clear from the actual data, at https://news.gallup.com/poll/235391/pea ... dwide.aspx that the only measure of crime was asking people their opinion on how safe they feel. That is not measuring crime as people are highly biased in their perceptions. Furthermore, from the Gallup page:
Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted throughout 2017 in 142 countries and areas.
That's an average of very slightly over 7 people per region. Not a basis for drawing any sensible conclusion other than it's cheap publicity for Gallup.
Covid-19 - Don't catch it: don't spread it.

Millennie Al
Catbabel
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:02 am

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:31 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:40 pm
Yes, most of the buildings built in Blair's time are still in use, though with cuts to operational budgets meaning that there are less teachers, doctors and nurses to go around*. But that's not what I was referring to.
Please point out the cuts in expenditure on the graph "UK government expenditure by sector 1993-2014 in real terms" at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governmen ... ed_Kingdom

Or maybe you'd prefer to point out the tax cuts on the graph "Tax receipts in the United Kingdom from 2000/01 to 2019/20" at https://www.statista.com/statistics/284 ... -receipts/
Covid-19 - Don't catch it: don't spread it.

Millennie Al
Catbabel
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:02 am

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:04 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:33 am
I reckon the people who sold brexit to the masses could just as easily, or even more so, sold Corbyn's manifesto, had they wanted to.
I doubt it. The difference is that Brexit was a novelty, so the Remainers couldn't point to a variety of other countries which had tried something similar and ended in disaster, while the left-vs-right debate is an old one and lots of countries have tried a variety of positions on that spectrum so there are plenty of examples and many people have heard all the arguments before. There's also the fundamental deceit of Brexit that it was one thing. As Theresa May aptly put it, Brexit means Brexit, which most Brexiteers did not understand (and probably many still don't). If you voted for Brexit you were voting for what you thought it meant, but many other people voted for it on the basis that it meant something incompatible.
It's clearly possible to convince people to vote for radical things. You just have to be good at convincing people of things, and the modern UK left is sh.t at it.
There's a good reason why the left has a hard time. In vague generalities, the left believes that the governemnt should do stuff while the right believes it shouldn't. If I think, for example, that we should spend more on tackling homelessness, then as a left wing voter I must be confident that the specific bunch of lefties standing for election are going to take the tax money and spend it on that. But as a right wing voter all I have to be confident of is that the bunch of rightists are not going to take the tax money and I can spend it on the homeless myself. The same applies to all reasons for spending money - however worthy or unworthy, so the left have a much greater need to agree on priorities and are therefore much more prone to internal squabbling leading to voters being wary of what they'll end up doing if elected.
Covid-19 - Don't catch it: don't spread it.

User avatar
discovolante
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2690
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by discovolante » Sun Feb 14, 2021 6:34 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:59 am
Martin_B wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:21 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:09 am


So what? Inequality is not a valid measure of anything worthwhile in society.
But it does appear to be an important part of the World Happiness Rating; which sounds like a made-up PR thing, but is from the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Given that the UN use this rating to gauge national population levels of well-being and drives economic and social policies, inequality does appear to be a valid measure of something worthwhile in society, and something which high levels of it should be discouraged. Unfortunately, uncontrolled capitalism and trickle-down economics seem to believe that inequality is something to aim for.

That said, the opposite, which would be hard-line communism where equality is forced upon the population, isn't something I think many people would see as the optimum solution. ;)
Inequality is only relevant if you think envy is ok, and the worlds main religions very much think it is not, as well as many philosophers. Instead of focusing on inequality and thereby fomenting envy, the focus should be on reducing poverty.

Which world is more desireable: one where everyone is a subsistence farmer working 60 hours a week to avoid starvation, or one where most people have plenty and a few live in stupendous luxury?
Just to return to this, because of something that reminded me of it: why is the assumption in this scenario always that envy is the effect of inequality, rather than say, guilt or shame, and low self-esteem due to feeling like you're not good enough because you haven't succeeded in the way more wealthy people have? The connotations of envy are 'I should have what that person has' rather than 'I'm worthless because I can't achieve the material wealth they've achieved'.
socialism is when the government does stuff

Millennie Al
Catbabel
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:02 am

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:32 am

discovolante wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 6:34 pm
Millennie Al wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:59 am
Inequality is only relevant if you think envy is ok, ...
Just to return to this, because of something that reminded me of it: why is the assumption in this scenario always that envy is the effect of inequality, rather than say, guilt or shame, and low self-esteem due to feeling like you're not good enough because you haven't succeeded in the way more wealthy people have? The connotations of envy are 'I should have what that person has' rather than 'I'm worthless because I can't achieve the material wealth they've achieved'.
Well, inequality is necessary. It's hard to remain envious of your neighbour's holiday home in Morocco if you own the identical next door property. It's hard to be envious over someone's 500ft yacht if you own an identical yacht.

But I don't think envy is merely wanting what someone else has - it's more destructive than that. Envy is feeling bad because they have something which you don't, which can mean that you want that thing, but can also mean that you want the other person to not have the thing. And it's not just material wealth - people get envious over other people's relationships where the ultimate expression of that is murdering an ex so that nobody else can have them.

As you say, feeling worthless through lack of material wealth is relevant, but that is encouraged by people being told that material wealth equality is very important. If people were told that wealth is largely a matter of luck that might help.
Covid-19 - Don't catch it: don't spread it.

User avatar
discovolante
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2690
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by discovolante » Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:50 am

Good luck achieving that massive cultural and political shift :)
socialism is when the government does stuff

User avatar
lpm
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3263
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:05 pm

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by lpm » Mon Feb 15, 2021 10:01 am

In some languages but not all, "envy" has a slightly different meaning to "jealousy". Envy has good overtones - "I envy you your nice new car and I'm going to strive to achieve similar success". Jealousy has the more destructive meaning.

This is why Thatcherites embraced envy, seeing it as a motivating factor, and why the American Dream is mythologised. There's a fundamental belief that inequality drives economic success through envy rather than social conflict through jealousy.
What ever happened to that Trump guy, you know, the one who was president for a bit?

User avatar
Martin Y
After Pie
Posts: 2093
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 pm

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Martin Y » Mon Feb 15, 2021 10:36 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:56 pm
Hmmm. Brexit was quite drastic, and sort of sold as such, and people voted for it.

If the left could sell their ideas as well as Brexiteers ...
But it's not really a good example because Brexit was decades in the making with a steady newspaper campaign against Barmy Brussels and in the end that wasn't nearly enough. It needed boosters of fear and resentment and frustration to generate a sufficient backlash and by luck it eventually got them in a perfect storm of events. Years of austerity combined with years of very visible (audible) social change with Eastern European immigrants transforming the workplace and any expression of concern about that change batted away as racism while the government wrung their hands and lied that they were forbidden to do anything about it by Brussels rules, and then the Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS leading to the refugee crisis which meant that, in the year leading up to the referendum, the Daily Mail headlines at least once per week were about swarms of scary brown foreigners at Calais exploiting every chance to invade us, and the French letting them, and it was all somehow the EU's fault.

It was David Cameron's perfect moment to ask the nation if it really wanted to lash out at the thing his party and the press had been blaming for everything bad and stupid for years, somehow expecting people to say "no".

And of course it was a completely negative campaign. You can always get more people willing to help smash the old system than to build a better new one because smashing stuff is more exciting and building stuff is hard and dull. Maybe a better example than Brexit would be the rise of Blairism. There too the driving force wasn't really a great national desire to see Tony Blair's policies enacted, it was a growing resentment of "Tory Sleaze". There was a very strong sense that the Tories had been in power too long, they were corrupt, self-serving and overentitled and they had to be kicked out. All Labour had to do was look electable. Any competent-looking alternative was fine. A few years into Cool Britannia people might have felt "this is what we wanted" but what people wanted in 1997 was a lot more those guys out than these guys in.

nezumi
Catbabel
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:43 pm
Location: UK

Re: Where is politics going?

Post by nezumi » Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:54 pm

lpm wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 10:01 am
In some languages but not all, "envy" has a slightly different meaning to "jealousy". Envy has good overtones - "I envy you your nice new car and I'm going to strive to achieve similar success". Jealousy has the more destructive meaning.

This is why Thatcherites embraced envy, seeing it as a motivating factor, and why the American Dream is mythologised. There's a fundamental belief that inequality drives economic success through envy rather than social conflict through jealousy.
The problem here is that you can't have one without the other and denying the existence of jealousy in this equation makes the whole idea flawed. I'd argue that jealousy is just a more extreme and urgent form of envy.

A bit of envy is absolutely fine, but when it gets to the point that the envy is directed at basic human requirements like food on the table and a roof over your head. That's where the US is now and the UK is heading.

From start to finish the manifestation of this worshipping of envy is crime. Starting with pinching stereos to buy drugs, through to pinching a loaf of bread to feed your starving family.

What really grinds my gears is when (usually right-wingers) my preference of equality is framed as "the politics of envy". Mate, I don't envy any of your fortunes, cars, private jets, whatever, nor am I jealous, I just want everyone to get a fair shake and I don't want crime to be the only way people can keep their kids fed.

This is the same reason I had a lot of problems with Blair's "Aspiration, aspiration, aspiration", all that does is lead to more envy because aspiring to something does not mean you're going to get it, and if the doors to your social mobility are closed that leads to jealousy which leads to crime.

Obviously this makes me a communist and/or Yoda but, hey ho.
Non fui. Fui. Non sum. Non curo.

Post Reply