Category Archives: Economics

Politics : European Union : Entry 10 : My Opinion

This is my entry and my opinion for staying or leaving the European Union. My next entry will be unknown. This is to be used as a guide to make a decision and to further discussion.

European Union

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Introduction

I will be talking about the European Union and to see if I think the UK should leave or continue staying in the EU.

History

The EU is a unique economic and political partnership between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent.

The EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries who trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict.

The result was the European Economic Community (EEC), created in 1958, and initially increasing economic cooperation between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Since then, a huge single market has been created and continues to develop towards its full potential.

What began as a purely economic union has evolved into an organisation spanning policy areas, from development aid to environment. A name change from the EEC to the European Union (EU) in 1993 reflected this.

The EU is based on the rule of law: everything that it does is founded on treaties, voluntarily and democratically agreed by all member countries. These binding agreements set out the EU’s goals in its many areas of activity. [1]

Decision-making at EU level involves various European institutions, in particular the European Parliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them the European Council, which consists of the Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, then there is the Council, which represents the governments of the EU Member States, then there is the European Commission, which represents the interests of the EU as a whole. The European Council defines the general political direction and priorities of the EU but it does not exercise legislative functions. Generally, it is the European Commission that proposes new laws and it is the European Parliament and Council that adopt them. The Member States and the Commission then implement them.

The argument for staying in the EU:

  1. Jobs

Around 3.5 million British jobs are directly linked to British membership of the European Union’s single market – 1 in 10 British jobs.

Britain’s large, foreign-owned car industry would be particularly at risk. “The attractiveness of the UK as a place to invest and do automotive business is clearly underpinned by the UK’s influential membership of the EU,” said a KPMG report on the car industry. The financial services sector, which employs about 2.1 million people in the UK, also has concerns about a British exit. “The success of the UK financial services industry is to a large extent built on EU Internal Market legislation. To abandon this for some untried, unknown and unpredictable alternative would carry very significant risks,” said global law firm Clifford Chance in a report by think tank TheCityUK.

  1. Exports & investment

The EU buys over 50 per cent of UK exports (54 per cent of goods, 40 per cent of services). Over 300,000 British companies and 74 per cent of British exporters operate in other EU markets. American and Asian EU firms build factories in Britain because it is in the single market.

  1. Trade

The EU negotiates trade agreements with the rest of the world. Outside the EU Britain would have to renegotiate trade deals alone. While the EU is the world’s largest market, a UK outside the EU would not be a high priority for other counties to negotiate a trade deal.

The EU is the UK’s main trading partner, worth more than £400bn a year, or 52% of the total trade in goods and services. Complete withdrawal from the EU would see trade barriers erected, with car exports to the EU, for example, facing a 15% tariff and imports a tariff of 10%. “The idea that the UK would be freer outside the EU is based on a series of misconceptions, that a medium-sized, open economy could hold sway in an increasingly fractured trading system dominated by the US, the EU and China; that the EU makes it harder for Britain to penetrate emerging markets; and that foreign capital would be more attracted to Britain’s economy if it were no longer part of the single market,” the pro-EU Centre for European Reform said in a recent report.

  1. Consumer clout

British families enjoy lower mobile phone roaming charges, lower credit card fees, cheaper flights and proper compensation when flights are delayed or cancelled. These sorts of benefits could not be achieved by Britain alone.

  1. Clean environment

Through commonly agreed EU standards, national Governments have achieved improvements to the quality of air, rivers and beaches. Good for Britain and good for Britons holidaying or living abroad!

  1. Power to curb the multinationals

The EU has taken on multinational giants like Microsoft, Samsung and Toshiba for unfair competition. The UK would not be able to do this alone.

  1. Freedom to work and study abroad – and easy travel

1.4 million British people live abroad in the EU. More than 14,500 UK students took part in the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange scheme in 2012-13. Driving licences issued in the UK are valid throughout the EU.

  1. Peace and democracy

The EU has helped secure peace among previously warring western European nations. It helped to consolidate democracy in Spain, Portugal, Greece and former Soviet bloc countries and helped preserve peace in the Balkans since the end of the Balkans War. With the UN it now plays a leading role in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and democracy building.

  1. Equal pay and non-discrimination

Equal pay for men and women is enshrined in EU law, as are bans on discrimination by age, race or sexual orientation. This benefits Britain and British people who live in other EU countries.

  1. Influence in the world

As 28 democracies, and as the world’s biggest market, we are strong when we work together. Britain is represented in many international organisations in joint EU delegations – giving Britain more influence than it would have alone. The EU has played a major role in climate, world trade and development.

  1. Cutting red tape

Common rules for the common market make it unnecessary to have 28 sets of national regulations.

  1. Fighting crime

The European Arrest Warrant replaced long extradition procedures and enables the UK to extradite criminals wanted in other EU countries, and bring to justice criminals wanted in the UK who are hiding in other EU countries. It helps UK authorities work with other EU countries’ to tackle international organised crime such as drug smuggling, people trafficking and money laundering.

  1. Research funding

The UK is the second largest beneficiary of EU research funds, and the British Government expects future EU research funding to constitute a vital source of income for our world-leading universities and companies. [2]

  1. Economical preservation

An “amicable divorce” is a pipe dream, pro-EU campaigners argue. France, Germany and other leading EU nations would never allow Britain a “pick and mix” approach to the bloc’s rules. Norway and Switzerland have to abide by many EU rules without any influence over how they are formed and have to pay to access the single market. Negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement could take years and have an uncertain outcome. And if Britain went for a completely clean break with the EU its exports would be subject to tariffs and would still have to meet EU production standards, harming the competitiveness of British business. The end result could be a trade war between Britain and the EU, some have warned, which could cripple Britain’s export industries. [3]

The Centre for Economic Performance, at the London School of Economics, says the worst-case scenario is a 6.3% to 9.5% reduction in GDP, “a loss of a similar size to that resulting from the global financial crisis of 2008/09”. The best case, according to their analysis, is a loss of 2.2% of GDP, although it does not take into account as wide a range of factors as the Open Europe study. [4]

  1. Immigration

Britain might have to agree to allow free movement of EU migrants as the price of being allowed access to the free market. In any case, pro-EU campaigners argue, immigration from the rest of the EU has been good for Britain’s economy. The UK’s growth forecasts are based, in part, on continued high levels of net migration. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility says the economy relies on migrant labour and taxes paid by immigrants to keep funding public services.

A lot would depend on what kind of deal was reached with the other EU nations. Britons may have to apply for visas to enter EU countries and those already living there may face integration rules, such as proving they can speak the language before gaining long-term residency rights. There would also be uncertainty for many EU workers now paying taxes in the UK – what benefits, if any, would they be entitled to?

The Argument for Leaving the EU:

  1. Democracy

The EU undermines British democracy – Because the European Parliament makes laws on an EU-wide basis, we are in the bizarre situation of non-British representatives making laws which affect the UK and likewise British representatives are helping to make laws affecting other member states. For many people opposed to Britain’s EU membership, this is a matter of principle – the UK should be governed by British representatives only and the only way to achieve this is by leaving the EU.

  1. Trade

Leaving the EU will not stop Britain from trading with Europe – A common argument against leaving the EU is that it will shut us off from the European market but this claim is not borne out by the facts. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland for example are not members of the EU but have access to the single market through the European Free Trade Association. Furthermore, the UK is a huge market for many EU member states so it would make little sense for European exporters to cut off such a large market.

The EU is not as important to British trade as it used to be, and continuing turmoil in the Eurozone will make it even less so. Even if Britain did not manage to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU it would not be as disastrous as EU-enthusiasts claim, argues economist Roger Bootle in his book The Trouble with Europe: “It would place the UK in the same position as the US is currently in, along with India, China and Japan, all of which manage to export to the EU relatively easily.” The UK would be free to establish bilateral trade agreements with fast-growing export markets such as China, Singapore, Brazil, Russia and India through the World Trade Organisation.

  1. Greater trade freedoms

Leaving the EU will allow the UK greater trading freedom – If the UK were to leave the EU, we’d be allowed to pursue our own wide-ranging bilateral trade agreements with other economic powerhouses such as the US, China, India, Brazil and Japan far more easily.

  1. Wasteful spending

The EU is wasteful – Vast sums of money have been spent on unnecessary and inappropriate projects such as £760,000 for a “gender equal” cultural centre which was never built, over £350,000 for a project to get European children to draw each other and £155,000 for a Portuguese golf resort. Of course, the UK government too wastes money but why subject ourselves to more waste than we have to, particularly in the age of austerity?

  1. No transparency

The EU is not transparent – Many EU laws are discussed and drafted in informal meetings held between the “trilogue” – representatives of the European parliament, European Commission and EU Council. No public records are published on the content of these meetings.

  1. Irrelevant

The UK does not need the EU to be relevant on the world stage – Supporters of the EU often argue that we must remain in it to stay relevant but much of our clout does not come from our membership of the EU. We are one of only 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, we are members of the world’s most powerful military alliance in NATO and we are key players in the IMF and the World Bank. On the other hand, the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy is toothless and requires unanimity before new policy stances can be adopted. The EU is credible because states like the UK and Germany are members, not the other way around.

  1. Immigration

There can be no fair, controlled immigration policy while the UK is a member of the EU – Because of the EU’s free movement of people policy, member states are unable to place any meaningful controls on EU migrants, meaning that member states may only set a limit on the number of non-EU migrants that are able to enter the country. As a result, the UK has had to turn away skilled immigrants to the UK this year at the same time as being powerless to turn away non-skilled EU migrants. If you believe in controlled immigration, it can only be fair with Britain outside the EU.

Britain would regain full control of its borders, say anti-EU campaigners. UKIP wants to see a work permit system introduced, so that EU nationals would face the same visa restrictions as those from outside the EU, which it says would reduce population growth from current levels of 298,000 a year to about 50,000. This would create job opportunities for British workers and boost wages, as well as easing pressure on schools, hospitals and other public services.

  1. Defence

The EU has done little to ensure peace in Europe – It is often argued that the only reason why Europe has largely been at peace since World War II is because of the EU, but this ignores the fact that it was NATO and the American nuclear umbrella, not the EEC (as it was then known) which was responsible for stopping an East-West conflict during the Cold War, for example. Furthermore, the EU did little to stop the conflicts on its doorstep in the Balkans during the 90s. Even if the EU were to disintegrate, war between European states would be no less irrational and unlikely than it is now.

  1. Subsidies

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – This policy is essentially a gigantic EU subsidy for the agriculture industry and takes up around 40% of the entire EU budget. Because the UK has a relatively small agriculture sector (approximately 0.6% of the economy compared to 3.6% in France for example) this means that CAP costs the UK rather than benefits it.

  1. More integration

For the EU to properly work, even more integration is required – The crisis in Greece demonstrates that for the EU project to really work, there needs to be complete political and economic integration. Only through passing even more powers to the EU Commission, can the union overcome many of its efficiency problems. However, further integration is not something many people in the UK are comfortable with, including this author. Free trade and the common market are good things but we must not let our country be absorbed into a “United States of Europe” where the European interest trumps the British interest. [5]

  1. Models of adoption
  • The Norwegian model: Britain leaves the EU and joins the European Economic Area, giving it access to the single market, with the exception of some financial services, but freeing it from EU rules on agriculture, fisheries, justice and home affairs
  • The Swiss model: Britain emulates Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU but negotiates trade treaties on a sector-by-sector basis
  • The Turkish model: The UK could enter into a customs union with the EU, allowing access to the free market in manufactured goods but not financial services
  • The UK could seek to negotiate a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU, similar to the Swiss model but with better access for financial services and more say over how rules and standards are implemented
  • The UK could make a clean break with the EU, relying on its membership of the World Trade Organisation as a basis for trade
  1. Jobs

There would be a jobs boom as firms are freed from EU regulations and red tape, say those arguing for an exit, with small-and medium-sized companies who don’t trade with the EU benefiting the most. In its recent paper, the EU Jobs Myth, the free market Institute for Economic Affairs seeks to debunk the claim that 3-4 million jobs would be lost if Britain left. “Jobs are associated with trade, not membership of a political union, and there is little evidence to suggest that trade would substantially fall between British businesses and European consumers in the event the UK was outside the EU,” it argues. “The UK labour market is incredibly dynamic, and would adapt quickly to changed relationships with the EU.”

  1. Economy

The best-case scenario, according to think tank Open Europe, is that the UK would be better off by 1.6% of GDP a year by 2030. That is assuming the UK carried out widespread deregulation after its exit and managed to strike favourable trade deals. The think tank adds: “A far more realistic range is between a 0.8% permanent loss to GDP in 2030 and a 0.6% permanent gain in GDP in 2030, in scenarios where Britain mixes policy approaches”.

The EU has limited power over tax, which is largely a matter for national governments. The exception is VAT, which has bands agreed at the EU level. Outside the EU, the UK would potentially have more flexibility. [6]

My opinion

There is good and bad arguments on both sides but for now at least I am for staying in the European Union although this might change nearer the voting day through more conversations and discussions.

References

[1] http://europa.eu/about-eu/basic-information/about/index_en.htm

[2] http://www.proeuropa.org.uk/twelevereasons

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32793642

[4] Ibid

[5] http://www.nakedpolitics.co.uk/home/10-reasons-why-the-uk-should-leave-the-eu

[6] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32793642

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Economics : Entry 7 : A Critique Of The Free Market

I will be writing a critique on the free market. I hope the start of your 2016 was good. I will be going onto Philosophy and Postmodernism next.

Introduction

Neoliberalism is a theory of political economic practices that propose, that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills, within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices. The state has to guarantee, for example the quality and integrity of money. It must also set up military, defence, police and legal structures along with functions required to secure private property rights and to guarantee, by force if necessary the proper functioning of the markets. Furthermore, if markets do not exist then they must be created. (Water, education and social security) by state if necessary. But beyond these tasks the state should not venture. State intervention in markets (once created) must be kept to a bare minimum because according to theory, the state cannot possibly possess enough information to second guess market signals (prices) and because powerful interest groups will inevitably distort and bias state intervention (especially in democracies) for their own benefit [1]

Then you have Anarcho-Capitalism, which is a political philosophy which advocates the elimination of the state, in favour of individual sovereignty, private property and open markets. Anarcho-Capitalists believe that in the absence of the statute (law by decree or legislation) society would improve itself through the discipline of the free market. [2] In an Anarcho-Capitalist society law enforcements, courts and all other security services would be operated by privately funded competitors rather than centrally through compulsory taxation. Money along with other goods and services, would be privately and competitively provided in an open market. Therefore personal and economic activities under Anarcho-Capitalism would be regulated by victim based dispute resolution organisation (this is a private firm that enforce contracts and resolve disputes on behalf of their clients) under contract law, rather than statute through centrally determined punishment under a political monopoly. [3]

Then you have Minarchism, which is a political philosophy which advocates a form of government where the state’s only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from assault, theft, breach of contract and fraud. The only legitimate governmental institutes are the military, police and courts. In the broadest sense, it also includes various civil service and emergency rescue departments, prisons, the executive, the judiciary and the legislators as legitimate government functions. [4]

Criticisms

The founding figures of neoliberal thought took political ideals of human dignity and individual freedom as fundamental as the central values of civilisation. In doing so they chose wisely, for these are indeed compelling and seductive ideals. These values, they held were threatened not only by fascism, dictatorships, and communism, but in all forms of state intervention that substituted collective judgements for those of individuals free to choose. [5]

The assumption that individual freedoms are guaranteed by freedom of the market and of trade is a cardinal feature of neoliberal thinking.

“The inadequacies of individualism as a theory of freedom has plainly written in the conditions we see spreading in the western world today: on the one hand, enlarging masses of socially “free” insecure individuals and on the other, the constant increase in the custodial powers of a state that looms ever larger as the only significant refuge for individuals who insist upon escaping from the moral consequences of individualism” (Robert Nisbet, The quest for community, 1953)

If there is no such thing as society but only individuals, then the chaos of individual interests can easily end up prevailing over order. The anarchist function which this is meant to arise spontaneously leads to a breakdown of all bands of society and the conditions leading to nihilistic anarchy. Reality does not follow the precept of the economic textbook.

Advocates of the neoliberal way now occupies positions of considerable influence in education, (universities and think tanks) corporate boardrooms, financial institutions, in key state institutions (treasury department and central bank) also in international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) The World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. (WTO) That regulates global finance and trade. It has become hegemonic in discourse.

Free market economists such as those from the Chicago school of thought advocate negotiating and taking out new loans at the start, privatise public assets, open up natural resources to private and unregulated exploitations, privatise social security and facilitate foreign direct investment and freer trade. Also export led growth was favoured over import substitutions. The state tends to keep a key resource for its own revenues.

Freeing up the financial markets make it more volatile in its changes, because of this there tends to be a greater propensity of market crashes and recessions under this system. The free market answer to this is for the markets to fail causing high unemployment and would depend on small businesses to suddenly grow exponentially to fill the gap. It seems free markets is effective in the short run but is unsustainable since markets are volatile and you cannot get unlimited gradual growth. Redistributive effects and increasing social inequality are key features in this system.

Deregulation of the financial system will allow it to become one of the main centres of redistributive activities through speculation, predation, fraud and thievery, stock promotions, Ponzi schemes, structural asset destruction through inflation, asset stripping through mergers and acquisitions, the promotion of levels of debt, incumbency, accounting fraud, debt peonage, corporate fraud, dispossession of assets by credit and stock manipulation. An example of some of this applicable in the real world even through its regulated state is Enron. Also a lot of market signals in the financial system is speculated and sometimes manipulated, how exactly are consumers meant to react and “boycott” bad business practices? Especially since a lot of financial information no-one outside the financial sector even reads.

If the state focused on full employment, economic growth and the welfare of its citizens and that state power was deployed to intervene to set these goals then a compromise has to be set between capital and labour for peace and tranquillity. This would inevitably enforce quantity control and makes sure businesses don’t automate their businesses to keep up with rising demands at optimal cost. The primary obligation of the state and its civil society was to use its powers and allocate its resources to eradicate poverty and hunger and to assure security of livelihood, security against the major hazards and vicissitudes (a change of circumstances or fortune) of life and security of decent homes.

It is structurally based on the restoration and preservation of class power. Business will do anything to gain a monopoly even without the state. Such actions could be mergers and acquisitions to increase market share. When estate tax and taxation on income and capital diminishes while the taxation on wages and salaries remain the same, this increase the concentration of wealth to the rich.

The scientific rigour of its neoclassical economics does not sit easily with its political commitment to ideals of individual freedoms, nor does its supposed distrust of all state power fit with the need for a strong and if necessary coercive state that will defend the rights of private property, individual liberties and entrepreneurial freedoms. People will rebel under this system to change to policies towards the Keynesian theory to guide them to keep business cycles and recession under control.

When removing all structural socialist-collectivist group and being dogmatic to place emphasis on the individual, how is this not a statist action? An individual can be defeated, discredited or ignored in parliamentary settings, especially those in the lowest confines of social society. The socialist groups to show solidarity to each other ach as a vehicle to lobby the government for change. Especially in a free market society, which the rights of the top of the class structure has more influence than the individual at the bottom of the class structure. This is not even an issue to the neoliberal but to a libertarian anarcho capitalist and minarchist, this cannot be reconciled.

To expand on this, when you have a free choice political process, under the libertarian model, individuals are not meant to choose strong collective institutions such as trade unions as opposed to weak voluntary organisations such as charities. They certainly should not choose to associate to create political parties with the aim of forcing the state to intervene. To guard against the greatest fears-fascism. Socialism, communism and authoritarianism, they would have to put strong limits on democratic governance, relying instead upon undemocratic and unaccountable institutions such as the Federal Reserve or the IMF to make key decisions. This creates the paradox of intense state interventions and government by elites and “experts” in a world where the state is not meant to be interventionist.

Faced with social movements that seek collective intervention, the state itself is forced to intervene. Sometimes repressively, denying the very freedoms it is meant to uphold. This utopian project could ultimately be sustained by resorting to authoritarianism. The freedom of the masses would be restricted in favour of the freedoms of the few. In the event of conflict, this state typically favour the integrity of the financial system and the solvency of financial institutions over the well beings of the population or environmental quality.

Another problem is the power the head of the Federal Reserve has since Paul Volcker deliberately caused a recession to kick-start a stagnant economy in the 1980s. It is scary to think someone in an institutional level has that level of power. Also the IMF and The World Bank became centres of propagation and enforcement of free market fundamentalism and neoliberal orthodoxy from 1982. He was endorsed by Ronald Reagan and put the interest levels to its highest ever position, Margaret thatcher done the same thing in Britain. The common link between Thatcher and Volcker was they were both advocates of tough monetary policies.

I will now go on to what Karl Polanyi has written. In a complex society the meaning of freedom becomes as contradictory and as fraught as its incitement to action are compelling. Under a free system, there would be the freedom to exploit one another and to make inordinate (disproportionately large) gains without commensurable service to the community, the freedom to keep technological inventions from being used for public benefit or the freedom to profit from secret calamities secretly engineered for public advantage. However the free market economy also produces positive freedoms such as freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of associations and freedom to choose. So this system produces both good and negative effects. [6]

The idea of freedom thus degenerates into a mere advocacy of free enterprise, which means the fullness of freedom for those whose income, leisure and security needs no enhancing and minimum of liberties for the people who in vain attempt to make use of their democratic right to gain shelters from the powers of the owners of property. But if as always the case, no society is possible in which power and compulsion is absent, nor a world where force has no function then the only way this utopian vision could be sustained is by force, violence and authoritarianism. The free market enterprise is then doomed to have the bad freedoms take over. [7]

Investment bankers consider any government intervention to be communism since any diminishing living standards for them, for the greater living standards for the poor heavily implies of more people being similar to each other meaning hierarchal structures are greyed out which is not good for them. Which makes sense since they tend to have more resources and by more people having more resources it means less resources for them.

There is also the problem of how to interpret monopoly power. Competition often results in a monopoly or an oligopoly, as stronger firms drive out weaker firms. The argument against this is there is no substantial barrier for entry of competitors.

It makes no sense to have multiple competing electrical power grids, gas pipelines, and water sewage system or railway links. State regulation of provision, access and pricing seems unavoidable in such domains. This is directed towards the anarcho capitalist, they might say that co-operation between firms will settle any disputes but you inevitably need a central planner in this regards for maximum efficiency. If you are an anarcho-capitalist and you agree with me on this, then this would then make you a minarchist.

Market failure, this arises when individuals and firm avoid paying the full costs attributable to them by shedding their liabilities outside the market, such cases are pollution. The free market economy has a dismal record when it comes down to the exploitation of natural resources. The preference for short term contractual relations puts pressure on all producers to extract everything they can while the contract last. Which means the natural reproduction rate capacity cannot function which will cause a lot more shortages.

All agents acting in the market are generally presumed to have access to the same information. There are presumed to be no asymmetries of power or of information that interfere with the capacity of individuals to make rational economic decisions in their own interests. This is very rarely seen in reality. Better informed and more powerful players have an advantage that can all too easily be parlayed into procuring even better information and greater relative power.

There seems to be a big emphasis on foreign investment in the free market theory. On a global scale this can only be short lived and other countries who adopt this same theory with lower natural costs will be preferred over one who has high natural costs. The free market economy will not work for every country but they have no option but to adopt it to some degree in order to take out a loan to fund an infrastructural project from the World Bank or the IMF, who seeks neoliberal policy changes in that country in order to be eligible to take out the loan in the first place. This will cause third world countries to have a greater degree of recession and causing long stagnation within the economy.

Economic globalisation has entered a new phase. A mounting backlash against its effects, especially in the industrial democracies. This is threatening a disruptive impact on economic activity and social stability in many countries. The mood in these democracies is one of helplessness and anxiety, which helps explain the rise of a brand of populist politicians. This can easily turn into revolt. [8]

In order for the free market economy to be accessible to the working class, there would have to be easily accessible loans at low interest rates. But the majority of businesses fail within 3 years of opening. Which means a debt which the person cannot pay, and then has bad credit so they cannot get new loans to create a new business. Some might not even be able to get enough good credit to get a loan at the beginning of this system.

Karl Polanyi gives us this stark warning: To allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment, indeed, even of the amount and use of purchasing power, would result in the demolition of society. For the alleged commodity of labour power cannot be shoved about, used indiscriminately or even left unused, without affecting the human individual who happens to be the bearer of this peculiar commodity. In disposing of man’s labour power, the system would incidentally dispose of the physical, psychological and moral entity of man attached to that bag. Robbed of the protective coverings of cultural institutions, human beings would perish from the effects of social exposure, they would die as victims of acute social dislocation through vice, perversion, crime and starvation. Nature would be reduced to its elements, neighbourhoods and landscapes defiled, rivers polluted, military safety jeopardised, the power to produce foods and raw materials destroyed. Finally, the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove disastrous to business just as floods and droughts were in primitive societies [9]

The mere fact that the USA and China are deficit financing to the hilt is a compelling sign that neoliberalism is dead as a viable theoretical guide to ensuring the future of capital accumulation. So much so that the neoconservatives seems to be waiting in the wing to take over from neoliberalism.

The financial crisis indicator are uncontrollable internal budgetary deficits, a balance of payment crises, rapid currency depreciation, unstable valuations of fixed assets and financial markets, rising inflation, rising unemployment with falling wages and capital flight [10]

Conclusion

The idea that the market is about competition and fairness is increasingly negated by the fact of the extraordinary monopolisation, centralisation and internationalisation of corporate and financial power. The startling increase in class and regional inequalities, both within the states such as India, Russia and South Africa and between states, poses a serious political problem that can no longer be swept under the rug as something transitional on the way to the perfect free market world. The more the free market economy hypothesis is recognised as a failed utopian rhetoric masking a successful project for the restoration of power, the more the basis is laid out for a resurgence of mass movements voicing egalitarian political demands and seeking economic justice, fair trader and greater economic security for everyone.

It is naïve to think that established monopolies won’t keep their monopolies and constantly take over smaller businesses and that a foreign multinational company won’t come in and try and buy up a whole market unless you somehow advocate force to stop doing so, which goes against the supposed theory.

References

[1] David Harvey, A brief history of neoliberalism, page 2, 2005

[2] Ronald Hamory, The encyclopaedia of libertarianism, page 13-14

[3] Review of Kosante’s Instead of Politics by Don Stacy, 2011

[4] Gregory Anthony, the minarchist dilemma, 2004 (www.strike-the-root.com/4/gregory/gregory6.html)

[5] David Harvey, A brief history of neoliberalism, page 5

[6] Karl Polanyi, The great Transformation, 1954, Page 256

[7] IBID, Page 258

[8] David Harvey, Spaces of hope, Page 70

[9] Karl Polanyi, The great transformation, Page 73

[10] Jeffrey A. Frankel and George Saravelos, Are leading indicators of financial crises useful for assessing country vulnerability? Bureau of Economic Research (http://www.nber.org/papers/w16047.pdf)

 

Politics : Entry 5 : My Opinion : Nationalism

I will now write on my opinion on nationalism.

Nationalism

Summery

I will summarise on what I have written on the Left Wing approach on this subject. During the French Revolution, nationalism was a policy of the Republican Left. They specifically endorsed civic nationalism which is a kind of nationalism identified by political philosophers, who believe in a non-xenophobic form of nationalism compatible with values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.

One alternative to this is the Marxist theory of proletarian internationalism which is a socialist form of internationalism, based on the view that capitalism is a global system, and therefore the working class must act as a global class if it is to defeat it in class conflict. Workers thus should struggle in solidarity with their fellow workers in other countries on the basis of a common class interest, to avoid continued subjugation via divide and rule

Another perspective is the European social-democrats who strongly support Europeanism (which is a term that encapsulates the norms and values that Europeans have in common, and which transcend national or state identity. In addition to helping promote the integration of the European Union, this doctrine also provides the basis for analyses that characterise European politics, economics, and society as reflecting a shared identity.)

There is also the Modern day left nationalism which is described as form of nationalism based upon social equality, popular sovereignty (the principle that the authority of a state and its government is created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives, rule by the People, who are the source of all political power.), and national self-determination. It has its origins in the Jacobinism of the French Revolution. Left-wing nationalism typically espouses anti-imperialism. It stands in contrast to right-wing nationalism, and often rejects racist nationalism and fascism, although some forms of left-wing nationalism have included intolerance and racial prejudice

Then you have a small but rising group called Third Worldism which has a tendency to regard the division between First World developed countries and Third World developing countries as being of primary political importance. Third-Worldism supports Third World nations and national liberation movements against Western nations and their proxies. (1)

I will now summarise on what I have written on the Right Wing approach on this subject. In France, nationalism was originally a left-wing and Republican ideology. After the period of rise of revanchism (which is a term used since the 1870s to describe a political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement.) during the French third republic (context being the Franco-Prussian war in 1870-1871) and the Dreyfus Affair (It was a political scandal that from its beginning in 1894, which divided France until it was finally resolved in 1906. The affair is often seen as a modern and universal symbol of injustice, and remains one of the most striking examples of a complex miscarriage of justice, where a major role was played by the press and public opinion.) Nationalism became a trait of the right-wing after this event.

Right-wing nationalists sought to define and defend a “true” national identity from elements deemed to be corrupting that identity. Some were supremacists who, in accordance with Social Darwinism, applied the concept of “survival of the fittest” to nations and races. Right-wing nationalism was influenced by romantic nationalism, in which the state derives its political legitimacy from the organic unity of those it governs. This generally includes, the language, race, culture, religion and customs of the “nation”, all of which were “born” within its culture. Linked with right-wing nationalism is cultural conservatism, which supports the preservation of the heritage of a nation or culture, and often sees deviations from cultural norms as an existential threat. (2)

Introduction

So to continue I will be talking about nationalism and how it is perceived in various fields then give my opinion at the end.

Nationalism is defined as an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass all other individual or group interests.

I would talk about the history of nationalism but that would be too big and would warrant its own entry just by itself.

Nationalism in Social Psychology

Nationalism becomes a social-psychological phenomenon to the extent that individuals develop attitudes about their own and other nations. Such attitudes reflect the feelings that the person has toward their country and their sense of loyalty to them. These feelings of attachment are at the heart of nationalism. Groups in general are organized to meet human needs, their structures and processes are in part moulded by these needs. The nation achieves personal relevance for individuals when they become sentimentally attached to the homeland, motivated to help their country, and gain a sense of identity and self-esteem through their national identification. The groups function this way because they are attractive to members, accomplish things and solve problems, and provide status for members. People see the nation as providing them and their progeny (descendants) with security and safety as well as status and prestige in return for their loyalty and commitment.

Theories of cognitive development such as that of Piaget (1965) suggest that children typically move from a focus on themselves to identifying with those who are important to them in their surroundings. Thus, building attachments to groups is part of the normal socialization process as individuals move toward adulthood. It is the way we learn to understand and function in the world around us. As a result, as children grow older, they become less focused on themselves and more focused on themselves as part of a larger social setting. These theories highlight the importance of self-definition and emotional identification with objects in early learning. Gradually, individuals develop a sensitivity to the needs and interests of others.

It has been argued from the perspective of evolutionary psychology that co-operative behaviour promotes individual survival and that groups composed of members who are co-operative are more effective than those with members who are less co-operative. Such behaviour also contributes to a person’s sense of identity by distinguishing them from those who are like them and those who are not, between friends and foes. The co-operative behaviour displayed between members of one’s own group, strengthened by pressures of conformity to group norms, is rarely seen in relations between members of different groups. As individuals move from themselves to others, they also begin to distinguish among the others, becoming more attached and sympathetic to some and more critical and detached from others. The groups they belong to through birth or through early experience have an impact on which groups they deem to be relatable to them.

When people are told that they are representatives of a group and are perceived to stand for a group, research suggests their loyalty constrains behaviour. In effect, individuals designated as representatives of groups reached fewer agreements and were more competitive than individuals acting on their own behalf. The studies compared individuals negotiating on behalf of a group with those negotiating on behalf of themselves. As the individual’s accountability to the group increased, as the outcome became more important to the group, and as the chances that the group would know what happened increased, the representative felt more and more tied to the goals, norms, and values of the group. In a sense, these individuals perceived themselves more as agents of the group than representatives, with little room to manoeuvre. Their loyalty was always in question and they could do hardly anything without undergoing scrutiny.

In the world of international relations these variables can be manipulated by groups or their leaders to produce the “desired” degree of loyalty. They can also be manipulated by third parties who are asked to mediate conflicts between groups or nations. Note that to prove their allegiance members of terrorist groups are often required to kill, kidnap, or rob one of the enemy. In effect, these findings draw attention to ways of increasing or decreasing actions taken by individuals on behalf of a group. As the demands for loyalty and commitment increase, the tendency is to defend the group’s position and to gain something for the group in any negotiation. These effects are not only found in the representatives’ behaviour but in their perceptions of what is happening. They report stronger loyalty and commitment as the pressures on them mount. Their perceptions and feelings mediate between the demands of the group and their behaviour. The perceptions and feelings help to “justify” the behaviour. (3)

Nationalism and Economics

Economic Nationalism is the position that a nation’s economy should be run for the benefit of its own citizens. Economic Nationalism is also used to describe policies which are guided by the idea of protecting domestic consumption, labour and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labour, goods and capital. This broadly includes such policies as Protectionism, Import Substitution, Mercantilism, and Planned Economies. Although there are many broad forms, policies, and applications, it does not necessarily mean all or any of them at once. Applying a policy in its purest sense would actually never work in real life. Economic Nationalism calls for a Mixed Economy that has parts of many economic policies combined together.

An example of Economic Nationalism such as “restrictions on the movement of labour” from the above paragraph would be such as enforcing the law against businesses hiring illegal immigrants. Another part of Economic Nationalism is often called economic patriotism which is the co-ordinated and promoted behaviour of consumers or companies (both private and public) to actively favour purchasing the goods or services produced in their country.

Therefore, this will result in an economic system under a tariff protected economy (protectionism) that is guided by national interest. This includes re-industrialization, protecting national jobs from outsourcing, offshoring, and cheap labour imported, and also promoting domestic based manufacturing, creating domestic jobs, and strengthening the national economy. Nearly all great economic powers in modern times rose due to practicing Economic Nationalism such as the United States, Germany, South Korea, Japan, and China. (4)

My Opinion

For me to answer if I have a nationalist position, I would have to look at the different forms of nationalism. I do not agree with Civic Nationalism (state) because the wisdom I have is, how can I be totally for the country I am staying in and have the disposition to be xenophobic to people I have never met? When I was a teenager I did exactly that and the hatred I had for 2 countries in particular made no sense. The civic nationalism is only of value when you are being attacked and are on the defensive. But saying that, it should not be the basis to build policies on, except when it deals with the matter of independence. Am I against the notion of civic nationalism? In some cases it does make sense but because it tends to be interlinked with ethnic nationalism, which is what I will next go into, I cannot back it.

But how would I respond to the question of what about those states where historical injustices have occurred? This is an interesting question and it depends on the circumstances of the injustices and the interaction they have now with the country that carried out the injustices. The following question would occur, should countries in the past that carried out injustices pay reparations? I would argue no, since how far back would you go? If you were to take it on aggregate then every country would be paying reparations to another country. Why you ask? It is because injustices have been carried out all over the world by different factions. I am of the opinion that people like to be the victims but very rarely take responsibility of being the oppressor at one stage of history. Although saying that there is some cases where I would agree for the reparations.

I do not agree with ethnic nationalism either, but I would understand why someone would want to be an ethnic nationalist. If people are not happy in their designated state and there is enough people to run the area they are in as a country then I would not begrudge them of aspiring to reach objectives for the goodness of their ethnicity. An example would be the Kurds.

But my perception is ethnic nationalism is racialized and causes harmful divisions and treating anyone not in that race as second class citizens. Which is why I would promote multiculturalism, but I also understand that although this has promoted tolerance and equality of different races, this has caused disillusionment and self-segregation which brings tension between the communities. Although people interchange civic and ethnic nationalism in cases such as Basque nationalists.

Then there is the case of cultural nationalism which, is probably the fairest of all nationalistic positions, since this unifies races and transcend hatred for other countries, my problem with this is the perception of the self-culture being the best culture making other cultures inferior and/or barbaric. When in reality the other culture is simply another method of living. It does not make the other culture wrong or backwards.

Although I understand economic nationalism, I cannot reconcile the fact that it is too similar with fascist economics. A fascist economy is an economy where the government exerts strong directive influence over investment, as opposed to having a merely regulatory role. In general, apart from the nationalizations of some industries, fascist economies were based on private individuals being allowed property and private initiative, but these were contingent upon service to the state. (5)

But looking at this with a critical mind, I would have to ask, apart from the visceral reaction that you will get from the term fascist economics, is it actually bad? The economics works out if it turned for example germany from a third world country in the 1920 to 1933 to a superpower. Although I would not have even thought of that to be the case if western countries were not doing it in practise to some degree without attributing the name to it. It seems we are more fascist economically than we like to admit due to having a mixed economy which is what they advocated.

Gladly we have not gone all the way and still holds counter positions against it, So we cannot call it fascist if there are some positions that goes against the fascist economic model. But I am fundementally against big governments controlling and regulating every aspects of our life so I cannot back fascist economics, neither can I be for economic nationalism.

There are other strands of nationalism but I will just conclude here. My position is the internationalist position. Internationalism is a political principle which advocates a greater political or economic cooperation among nations and peoples. (6) Internationalists generally believe that the people of the world should unite across national, political, cultural, racial, or class boundaries to advance their common interests, or that the governments of the world should cooperate because their mutual long-term interests are of greater importance than their short-term disputes. Although I don’t put the Marxist spin on it so it can only just benefit the working class. It is to benefit all its citizens.

References

  1. Retrieved from https://salsahavok.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/politics-entry-1-the-left/
  2. Retrieved from https://salsahavok.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/politics-entry-2-the-right/
  3. Druckman, D. (1994). Nationalism, Patriotism, and Group Loyalty: A Social Psychological Perspective. Mershon International Studies Review, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 43-68.
  4. Retrieved from http://www.nationalistpartyamerica.com/economic_nationalism
  5. Gregor, J. (2006). The Search for Neofascism Cambridge University Press. The Use and Abuse of Social Science, p.7.
  6. Arora, N. D. (n.d.). Political Science, McGraw-Hill Education. p.2.

 

Politics : Entry 3 : My Opinion : Economics

I will now write about my opinion on the policies selected and it will be set out as, a summary of the policy in question, then the advantages and disadvantages, doing that for the main arguments and then at the end my opinion. Since this was a lot bigger than I expected I have broken my opinion down to each policy. In this entry it is economics.

My opinion on the policies are as follows

Economics

The policies on the Left are based on a mixed economy, which is the private ownership of the means of production, the dominance of markets for economic coordination, with profit-seeking enterprise and the accumulation of capital remaining the fundamental driving force behind economic activity. But unlike a free-market economy, the government would wield indirect influence over the economy through fiscal and monetary policies designed to counteract economic downturns and capitalism’s tendency toward financial crises and unemployment, along with playing a role in interventions that promote social welfare.

Now this is the norm for most national economies with various degrees of state intervention.

The advantages of a mixed economy are most businesses and industries can be left to private firms. Private firms tend to be more efficient than government controlled firms because they have a profit incentive to cut costs and be innovative. Mixed economies can enable some government regulation in areas where there is market failure. This can include regulation on the abuse of monopoly power, e.g. prevent mergers, and prevent excessively high prices, taxation and regulation of goods with negative externalities, e.g. pollution, also there is subsidy or state support for goods and services which tend to be under consumed in a free market. This can include public goods, like police and national defence, and merit goods like education and health care. A mixed economy can create greater equality and provide a ‘safety net’ to prevent people living in absolute poverty. At the same time, a mixed economy can enable people to enjoy the financial rewards of hard work and entrepreneurship, and government can pursue policies to provide macro-economic stability, e.g. expansionary fiscal policy in times of a recession.

The disadvantages of this are, it can be difficult to know how much governments should intervene, e.g. discretionary fiscal policy may create alternative problems such as government borrowing. Also mixed economies are criticised by Socialists for allowing too much market forces, leading to inequality and an inefficient allocation of resources. Mixed economies are also criticised by free market economists for allowing too much government intervention. Libertarians argue that governments make very poor managers of the economy, invariably being influenced by political and short-term factors. Another disadvantage that business and state interest align and influences each other giving companies a monopoly in their fields.

Another economic policy on the Left is based on communal ownership and the main objective is not to turn a profit, but to provide every citizen of the nation with the same access to education and health care. This is otherwise known as communism. The focus of communism differs greatly from other economic models.

The advantage of communism is communist economies allow of their citizens to receive the medical attention that they need, typically free of cost. When ordinary citizens are able to get the health care that they need, this is a huge boon to the development of a nation. Another advantage is every member of society is able to work and contribute, you will then see a great dip in the overall unemployment rate of a nation. This leads to a decrease in crime, as no one is forced to commit any sort of illegal offense in order to ensure that their family is fed and their bills are paid. Another advantage would be free education for anyone who wants one, breaking down the class system, which will keep children in education for longer, which would mean a more skilled workforce.

The disadvantage of communism is the state enforces a cap on how much a business can make which restricts the business ability to grow. This is basically authoritarian state intervention at all levels. Making it have a monopoly throughout the country through many sectors of the economy. Not only that, but poverty is rampant, even though the concept of the same wage as everyone else should be a proletariat paradise, elected officials then become greedy and becomes part of the ruling class, this is problematic for a plethora of reasons but the main one is, the ruling class cannot then be questioned by the proletariat and will do anything to stay in power. Another disadvantage would be there is not much personal freedom, Not only is freedom of speech completely taken away, but those who openly criticize the workings of the government are often subject to severe and overly harsh punishments. If the family has any savings they are not allowed to provide any sort of inheritance for their kids. Since the state owns everything. An externality would be a decrease of creative freedom focusing solely on production and agriculture for the long-term growth of the state.

Now we go on the Right and the policies for the right is based on a free market economy. A free market economy is a market economy system in which the prices for goods and services are set freely by consent between vendors and consumers, in which the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority.

The advantages of a free market economy are Efficiency, which is allocative and productive efficiency which will occur in productive industries, Choice. Firms will produce whatever consumers are prepared to buy. And thus because there is no restrictions due to the free enterprise factor on what to buy there will be more quantities made than in a command economy such as communism for example. Innovation, firms will always be looking to produce something new to get ahead of their competitors, even though the government’s role is limited, one of its jobs is to protect property rights. This will include intellectual property rights through patents. Hence, there are incentives in the free market system for firms to be innovative and produce better quality products. Higher economic growth rates, one does not have to be an expert economic historian to see that countries whose economic system has been nearer to the free market model have grown much faster than those with a command economy since the Second World War.

The disadvantages of a free market economy is unequal distribution of income, In a free market with very limited government, there is no welfare state, no free healthcare or free education but the free market economy does have the concept of voluntarism which mean the use of, or reliance on voluntary action to maintain an institution, carry out a policy, or achieve an end. This is used to eradicate tax which free market advocate says is forced upon them. If you start life with very little, and do not even get a good education, then there will be very little protection from destitution. Another disadvantage is Free market economies are likely to produce more pollution, which is bad for the environment

There are other forms of economic models such as the anarchic model of mutual agreements with no hierarchy but this is irrelevant since there is no country that has such a model. And others will not be mentioned since then this entry will be too big to read. But if you think there is a better economic model than the 3 prescribed then let me know and I will do a side by side analysis on what I choose and the model you have recommended.

My opinion on this is this, since I am training to be an accountant, this helps me with the mindset of wanting the national economy to be in profit or at least break even. But I also know for the government to run, it needs cash flow. Economics is a very complex field and is simply not a reflection of which economic model does better since it is contingent on a wide array of factors, I can easily put up a few polls saying which country is doing very well and say that is the economic model we should follow but economics is never rigid but always fluid, not to mention I would be committing a bandwagon fallacy by doing this. So one country doing extremely well with a surplus this year might do extremely badly the next year. An example would be Libya who were doing very well economically until they had a civil war, and Macau (China) whose surplus rate was exponential in its increase but ever since the mainland china government cracked down on corruption the rate it has fallen dramatically.[1]

So eventually I will have to look at the positions and policies and come to a conclusion.

So starting with the mixed economy, since I am living in one, I have to say personally it’s not been bad. I have used the welfare state and the free education and free healthcare. With the fact I am working class my perspective will favour this economic model along with the freedom having some sort of free market would bring, I can see myself in this system for a long time and even being an advocate for this system. However, I like to pride myself on being objective and looking at the facts and changing my conclusions on the evidence. And the evidence is this

Free healthcare and free education paid by the state for its citizens is actually not free. It is an expenditure on the state and because of the unavoidable bureaucratic nature of the state, this drives up cost and in a country trying to make austerity, educational placement will be cut down and the educational places will have to merge to break even or to make a small profit. Not to mention the cost of funding this could have been spent on other things to make the state profitable. Free education up to university level would mean more skills workers in the country and if there is a financial boom in the country it is fantastic, but most of the time economies are not in a financial boom and thus this surplus of excess skilled workers would mean employers can offer lower wages to them because they know they can get another worker fairly easily if you refuse. Communism would make this free regardless under nationalised schools and hospitals and the free market economy would privatise schools and hospitals incurring a cost for those who want to use the service. But this does not mean that in a free market economy poor people will not be able to study or to have healthcare. Since that will be a market in itself and businesses will want to cater to that.

So what do I think? The economy should not incur a deficit and should have a surplus, this manages the debt levels, because debt itself is not a bad thing, this would discount the communist model since if the state is paying for everything including housing I struggle to see how they would manage to get in enough income. So it comes down to free market economy vs a mixed economy and that is actually a hard decision.

Do humans have a fundamental right to have free healthcare and free education? I would argue no, although I am against charging for those who are in an accident and are in risk of dying and also charging for pregnancies, since in my opinion why should you be in financial ruin over an accident or when trying to have a child? I cannot see the advantage of making cosmetic changes free and that should be chargeable. Pills and medication can go under a free market economy as long as the state does not decide who to give the contract to and the consumer decides what and where they want to buy making the business having to cater to the individual. Which would make the pharmaceutical businesses having to compete with each other and lower the prices to meet the consumer valuation.

The other big cost to the state is the welfare state and that is difficult to answer but I will attempt it. Should the state pay you for having kids? No, a child should be the responsibility of the parent and not the state. Should the state pay for you being disabled? No but acts of charity under free market voluntarism will be there to assist those who have problems. Should people who have no job be paid to look to work? Well it comes down to tax.

Taxes are generally regressive and does not help poor people who are working. In my opinion you have a degree of responsibility if you are making a lot of money to help your community. Although what that would look like is not for me to say since I am not a politician. So should people who have no job be given money? It depends on where the money is coming from looking at it from an economic standpoint. Although I do understand the argument of giving as many people money to fund a consumer based economy it should not be at the expense of the state.

So economically at least judging by what I have written, I would be pro free market economy with some concessions.

[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-31/macau-gdp-falls-to-2011-levels-as-casino-slump-threatens-surplus

Politics : Entry 2 ; The Right

So this is my second entry and it is on the right. My next entry will be my personal opinion and where I stand on the policies selected.

Right wing

The right-wing started off as a classification during the French revolution. Which came into being thanks to the Estates General. This was a legislative and consultative assembly of the different classes of French subjects (citizens). This was not an independent body but rather an advisory board for the king. From 1789, it was generally separated between the nobility class which were to the right side of the room and the deputies of the citizens to the left side of the room. There is also a third side which consisted of the catholic clergy but that is not relevant to this classification.

They wanted to preserve the institution of the old regime which was called the Ancien Regime which was based on administrative centralisation of powers which can be wielded by the king of France, which is basically an absolute monarchy. The original right supported hierarchy, tradition and clericalism (clericalism is the application of the formal leadership of the ordained clergy of issues outside the religious institutions that they represent.) They became prominent in France after the restoration of the French monarchy in 1815 and were often called the ultra-loyalists. These classifications did not become of use in the English-speaking world for their own policies until the early 20th century.

From the 1830s to 1880s, there was a shift in the western world of the social class structure and the economy, moving away from nobility and aristocracy and towards capitalism.

In the United States “right-wing” has quite a different history and meaning. For the most part the American right-wing is an integral part of the conservative movement in the U.S. The right has been a major factor and often dominant in American politics since 1980.

The Right has gone through five distinct historical stages: firstly, the reactionary right, which sought a return to aristocracy and established religion; secondly, the moderate right, who sought limited government and distrusted intellectuals; thirdly, the radical right, who favoured a romantic and aggressive nationalism; fourthly, the extreme right, who proposed anti-immigration policies and implicit racism; and lastly, the neo-liberal right, who sought to combine a belief in a market economy and economic deregulation with the traditional Right-wing beliefs in patriotism, elitism, and law and order.

Policies

Economics

In France, after the French Revolution, the Right fought against the rising power of those who had grown rich through commerce, and sought to preserve the rights of the hereditary nobility. They were uncomfortable with capitalism, with the Enlightenment, with individualism, and with industrialism and fought to retain traditional social hierarchies and institutions. In Europe’s history, there have been strong collectivist right-wing movements, such as in the social Catholic Right that has exhibited hostility to all forms of liberalism, including economic liberalism, and has historically advocated for class harmony involving a hierarchical society where workers are protected while hierarchy of classes remained.

In the 19th century, the Right had shifted to support the newly rich in some European countries, and instead of favouring the nobility over industrialists, favoured capitalists over the working class. Other right-wing entities on the Continent, such as Carlism (which is a traditionalist and legitimist political movement in Spain seeking the establishment of a separate line of the Bourbon dynasty (no, not the biscuit) on the Spanish throne.) in Spain and nationalist movements in France, Germany, and Russia, remained hostile to capitalism and industrialism. There are, however, still a few right-wing movements today, notably the French Nouvelle Droite (New Right), the Italian CasaPound (named after an American poet), and American paleoconservatives, that are often in opposition to capitalist ethics and the effects they have on society as a whole, which they see as infringing upon or causing the decay of social traditions or hierarchies that they see as essential for social order.

In modern times, “right-wing” is sometimes used to describe laissez-faire capitalism. In Europe, capitalists formed alliances with the Right during their conflicts with workers after 1848. In France, the Right’s support of capitalism can be traced to the late 19th century. The so-called neoliberal Right, popularized by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, combines support for free markets, privatisation, and deregulation with traditional right-wing support for social conformity. Right-wing libertarianism supports a decentralized economy based on economic freedom, and holds property rights, free markets and free trade to be the most important kinds of freedom.

Conservative authoritarians and those on the far right have supported fascism (who advocates a self-sufficient mixed economy (autarky) based on protectionist and interventionist economic policies) and corporatism (economic tripartism involving negotiations between business, labour, and state interest groups to establish economic policy. This is sometimes also referred to as neo-corporatism and is associated with social democracy)

Environment

There is a prevalent group in the right-wing regarding the environment, especially in the US and this is called Anti-environmentalism. Present day anti-environmentalists view environmentalism as “an attack on middle-class capitalism”

Larry Bell, an anti-environmental speaker claimed that the point of environmentalism is to destroy capitalism. By 2011, less than half of the American population believed that the burning of fossil fuels would affect the environment. In 2011, 80% of American Republicans did not agree with the science explaining the current “environmental crisis”.

The policies seem to be the eradication of environmental regulation, the traditional denial of global warming and keeping things as they are.

There is not really much to say about the right-wing outside the US though. Except for the promotion of the usage of fracking and the usage of natural resources.

Some on the right-wing do however accept global warming.

Nationalism

In France, nationalism was originally a left-wing and Republican ideology. After the period of rise of revanchism (which is a term used since the 1870s to describe a political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement.) during the French third republic (context being the Franco-Prussian war in 1870-1871) and the Dreyfus Affair (It was a political scandal that from its beginning in 1894, which divided France until it was finally resolved in 1906. The affair is often seen as a modern and universal symbol of injustice, and remains one of the most striking examples of a complex miscarriage of justice, where a major role was played by the press and public opinion.) Nationalism became a trait of the right-wing.

Right-wing nationalists sought to define and defend a “true” national identity from elements deemed to be corrupting that identity. Some were supremacists who, in accordance with Social Darwinism, applied the concept of “survival of the fittest” to nations and races. Right-wing nationalism was influenced by romantic nationalism, in which the state derives its political legitimacy from the organic unity of those it governs. This generally includes, the language, race, culture, religion and customs of the “nation”, all of which were “born” within its culture. Linked with right-wing nationalism is cultural conservatism, which supports the preservation of the heritage of a nation or culture, and often sees deviations from cultural norms as an existential threat.

Religion

Government support for an established religion was associated with the original French right-wing. Religious fundamentalists frequently feel that governments should enact laws supporting their religious tenets. The Christian right is a major force in North America. They generally support laws upholding what they consider religious values, such as opposition to abortion, contraception, sex outside marriage, and to same-sex marriage, and reject scientific positions on evolution and other matters where science disagrees with the Bible. Outside the West, other religious and ethnic groups are considered right-wing.

In India, Hindu nationalism is sometimes considered a part of the Right. The Hindu nationalist movement has attracted privileged groups fearing encroachment on their dominant positions, and impoverished groups seeking recognition around a rhetoric of cultural pride, order, and national strength. Many Islamist groups have been called “right-wing” including the Great Union Party in Turkey, and the Combatant Clergy Association in Iran and the Islamic Society of Engineers of Iran giving just a few examples.

The term “family values” has been used as a buzzword by right-wing parties such as the Republican Party in the United States, the Family First Party in Australia, the Conservative party in the United Kingdom and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India to describe support for traditional families, and opposition to the changes the modern world has made in how families live. Right-wing supporters of “family values” may oppose abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, divorce, teenage pregnancy and adultery.

Social stratification

Right-wing politics involves in varying degrees the rejection of some egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming either that economic inequality is natural and inevitable or that it is beneficial to society. Right-wing ideologies and movements support social order. The original French right-wing was called “the party of order” and held that France needed a strong political leader to keep order. Right libertarians reject collective or state-imposed equality as undermining reward for personal merit, initiative, and enterprise. In their view, it is unjust, limits personal freedom, and leads to social uniformity and mediocrity.

Variety

The meaning of right-wing varies across societies, political systems and ideologies. According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics, in liberal democracies, the political Right opposes socialism and social democracy.

Although the right-wing originated with traditional conservatives, monarchists and reactionaries, it has evolved to include neo-conservatives, authoritarians, nationalists, fascists, racial supremacists, Christian democrats, religious fundamentalists, and classical liberals.

Parties of the centre-right generally support liberal democracy, capitalism, the market economy (though they may accept government regulation to control monopolies), private property rights, and a limited welfare state (for example government provision of education and medical care). They support conservatism and economic liberalism, and oppose socialism and communism. The phrase far right, by contrast, is used to describe those who favour an absolutist government, which uses the power of the state to support the dominant ethnic group or religion and often to criminalize other ethnic groups or religions.

The right-wing generally find Postmodernism to be a variation of Relativism and hence immoral and something to fight.

Politics : Entry 1 : The Left

So I am going to publish a series of entries on what the policies of the political factions are and the different worldviews within the political factions. I was going to combine both left and right in one entry but then I realised it would be too big to read. So what I will do is to cut it into 2 entries and then make a third entry on my views and my analysis on each perspective.

Left wing

The left wing started out as a classification during the French revolution which happened around about 1789. It was divided between the French monarchy and the French republicans.

In the 19th century nationalism, socialism, democracy and anti-clericalism were adopted as leftist positions.

Marxism then came into existence during this period and rivalled republicanism and utopian socialism which asserted that all human history is the history of class struggle. They predicted that a proletarian (labour workers that does not own the means of production) revolution would eventually overthrow bourgeois (the class that owns the means of production) capitalism and create a classless, stateless society.

The American left adopted the Thomas Paine’s idea of asset based egalitarianism which is the political hypothesis of that, equality is possible by a redistribution of resources, usually in the form of a capital grant provided when reaching adulthood legally.

Afterwards in America, The Left adopted policies which were pro trade unions, for the African American civil right movement and for the anti-war movement.

Due to general confusion between classifications thanks to the Americans, the left has been synonymous for liberalism and the right for conservativism which I consider to be incorrectly used.

Policies

Economics

There is a big scope on Economics on the left and I will point out what they are.

One part of it is the economical approach based on John Maynard Keynes which is in the short run, especially during the recession, economic output which is defined as the quantity of goods or services produced in a given time period, by a firm, industry, or country, is strongly influenced by aggregate demand, which is the total demand for final goods and services in an economy at a given time. So the argument is that the loss of output by the private sector as a result of a systemic shock (for example the market crash) ought to be filled by government spending. Because of this, the Keynesian economists advocate a mixed economy, which is the private ownership of the means of production, the dominance of markets for economic coordination, with profit-seeking enterprise and the accumulation of capital remaining the fundamental driving force behind economic activity. But unlike a free-market economy, the government would wield indirect influence over the economy through fiscal and monetary policies designed to counteract economic downturns and capitalism’s tendency toward financial crises and unemployment, along with playing a role in interventions that promote social welfare. Some people on the Right also advocate this policy.

Another part of the left economic approach is the welfare state which is a concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. This is a component of the mixed economy.

Another would be Industrial democracy, which is an arrangement which involves workers making decisions, sharing responsibility and authority in the workplace. While in participative management organizational designs workers are listened to and take part in the decision-making process, in organizations employing industrial democracy they also have the final decisive power (they decide about organizational design and hierarchy as well).

Then you have social market economies which is a social and economic system combining free market capitalism which supports private enterprise, alongside social policies which establish both fair competition within the market and a welfare state

And Nationalisation which is the process of taking a private industry or private assets into public ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being transferred to be the state.

You also have planned economy, which is the economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a public body such as a government agency.

You also have Marxian economics which are based on the economic theories of Karl Marx. Since it is a political approach rather than an actual policy guideline, it would take too long to explain this worldview and will perhaps be done in a separate entry.

Then you have the libertarian socialism and anarchism economic policy which is a decentralized economy run by trade unions; workers’ councils; cooperatives; municipalities; and communes, and oppose both government and private control of the economy, preferring local control, in which a nation of decentralized regions are united in a confederation.

Environment

The environment issues only really became relevant to the Left after the 1970s.

Before the 1970s you had Karl Marx and William Morris who had concerns about the environment. Karl Marx apparently said

“Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together … are not owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations.”[[“Marx and ecology|”. Socialist Worker. 8 December 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2010.]

Whereas Mao Zedong rejected environmentalist issues since he believed that, based on the laws of historical materialism, all of nature must be put into the service of revolution.

After 1970s, however social movements and some unions campaigned over environmental issues. For example, the left-wing Builders Labourers Federation in Australia, led by the communist Jack Mundy, united with environmentalists to place Green Bans (which is a form of strike action, usually taken by a trade union or other organised labour group, which is conducted for environmentalist purposes) on environmentally destructive development projects. Some segments of the socialist and Marxist left consciously merged environmentalism and anti-capitalism into an eco-socialist ideology

In the 21st Century, questions about the environment have become increasingly politicized, with the Left generally accepting the findings of environmental scientists about global warming, and many on the Right disputing or rejecting those findings. The left is however divided over how to effectively and equitably reduce carbon emissions; the centre-left often advocates a reliance on market measures such as emissions trading or a carbon tax, while those further to the left tend to support direct government regulation and intervention either alongside or instead of market mechanisms

Nationalism

The question of nationality and nationalism has been a central feature of political debates on the Left. During the French Revolution, nationalism was a policy of the Republican Left. They specifically endorsed civic nationalism which is a kind of nationalism identified by political philosophers, who believe in a non-xenophobic form of nationalism compatible with values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights.

One alternative to this is the Marxist theory of proletarian internationalism which is a socialist form of internationalism, based on the view that capitalism is a global system, and therefore the working class must act as a global class if it is to defeat it in class conflict. Workers thus should struggle in solidarity with their fellow workers in other countries on the basis of a common class interest, to avoid continued subjugation via divide and rule

Another alternative is Anarchism which has developed a critique of nationalism that focuses on nationalism’s role in justifying and consolidating state power and domination. Their argument is through its unifying goal, nationalism strives for centralization, both in specific territories and in a ruling elite of individuals, while it prepares a population for capitalist exploitation.

Another perspective is the European social-democrats who strongly support Europeanism (which is a term that encapsulates the norms and values that Europeans have in common, and which transcend national or state identity. In addition to helping promote the integration of the European Union, this doctrine also provides the basis for analyses that characterise European politics, economics, and society as reflecting a shared identity.) And supranational integration (which is an advocate of the European Union itself), although there is a minority of nationalists and euro sceptics also in the left.

There is also the Modern day left nationalism which is described as form of nationalism based upon social equality, popular sovereignty (the principle that the authority of a state and its government is created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives, rule by the People, who are the source of all political power.), and national self-determination. It has its origins in the Jacobinism of the French Revolution. Left-wing nationalism typically espouses anti-imperialism. It stands in contrast to right-wing nationalism, and often rejects racist nationalism and fascism, although some forms of left-wing nationalism have included intolerance and racial prejudice

Then you have a small but rising group called Third Worldism which has a tendency to regard the division between First World developed countries and Third World developing countries as being of primary political importance. Third-Worldism supports Third World nations and national liberation movements against Western nations and their proxies.

Religion

The original French left-wing was anti-clerical, opposing the influence of the Roman Catholic Church and supporting the separation of church and state. Today in the Western world, those on the Left usually support secularization and the separation of church and state. Religious beliefs, however, have also been associated with some left-wing movements, such as the African American civil rights movement and the anti-capital punishment movement. Other common leftist concerns such as pacifism, social justice, racial equality, human rights, and the rejection of excessive wealth can be found in the Bible. In the late 19th century, the Social Gospel movement arose (particularly among some Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists in North America and Britain) which attempted to integrate progressive and socialist thought with Christianity in faith-based social activism, promoted by movements such as Christian Socialism. In the 20th century, the theology of liberation and Creation Spirituality was championed by such writers as Gustavo Gutierrez and Matthew Fox.

Other left-wing religious movements include Islamic socialism and Buddhist socialism. There have been alliances between the Left and anti-war Muslims, such as the Respect Party and the Stop the War Coalition in Britain. In France, the Left has been divided over moves to ban the hijab from schools, with some supporting a ban based on separation of church and state, and others opposing the ban based on personal freedom

Social Progressivism

Progressivism is a broad philosophy, which asserts that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition. Progressivism became highly significant during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, out of the belief that Europe was demonstrating that societies could progress in civility from barbaric conditions to civilization through strengthening the basis of empirical knowledge as the foundation of society

Social progressivism is another common feature of the modern Left, particularly in the United States, where social progressives played an important role in the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, and multiculturalism. Progressives have both advocated prohibition legislation and worked towards its repeal. Current positions associated with social progressivism in the West include opposition to the death penalty and the War on Drugs, and support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage, cognitive liberty, distribution of contraceptives, public funding of embryonic stem-cell research, and the right of women to choose abortion. Public education was a subject of great interest to ground-breaking social progressives such as Lester Frank Ward and John Dewey who believed that a democratic system of government was impossible without a universal and comprehensive system of education.

Many early feminists and advocates of women’s rights were considered left-wing by their contemporaries. Feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft was influenced by the radical thinker Thomas Paine. Many notable leftists have been strong supporters of gender equality, such as: the Marxists Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai, anarchists such as Virginia Bolten, Emma Goldman and Lucía Sánchez Saornil, and the socialists Helen Keller and Annie Besant. Marxists such as Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai however, though supporters of radical social equality for women, opposed feminism on the grounds that it was a bourgeois ideology. Marxists such as Clara Zetkin were responsible for organizing the first International Women’s Day events.

The connection between left-leaning ideologies and LGBT rights struggles has also an important history. Prominent socialists who were involved in early struggles for LGBT rights include Edward Carpenter, Oscar Wilde, Harry Hay, Bayard Rustin and Daniel Guérin among others.

Variety

The spectrum of left-wing politics ranges from centre-left to far left (or ultra-left). The term centre left describes a position within the political mainstream. The terms far left and ultra-left refer to positions that are more radical. The centre-left includes social democrats, social liberals, progressives and also some democratic socialists and greens (in particular the eco-socialists). Centre-left supporters accept market allocation of resources in a mixed economy with a significant public sector and a thriving private sector. Centre-left policies tend to favour limited state intervention in matters pertaining to the public interest.

In several countries, the terms far left and radical left have been associated with varieties of communism, autonomism and anarchism. They have been used to describe groups that advocate anti-capitalist, identity politics or eco-terrorism. In France, a distinction is made between the left (Socialist Party and Communist Party) and the far left (Trotskyists, Maoists and Anarchists). The US Department of Homeland Security defines left-wing extremism as groups who want “to bring about change through violent revolution rather than through established political processes.”

In China, the term Chinese New Left denotes those who oppose the current economic reforms and favour the restoration of more socialist policies. In the Western world, the term New Left refers to cultural politics. In the United Kingdom in the 1980s, the term hard left was applied to supporters of Tony Benn, such as the Campaign Group and those involved in the London Labour Briefing newspaper, as well as Trotskyist groups such as Militant and Socialist Organiser. In the same period, the term soft left was applied to supporters of the British Labour Party who were perceived to be more moderate. Under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the British Labour Party re-branded itself as New Labour in order to promote the notion that it was less left-wing than it had been in the past. One of the first actions of the Labour Party leader who succeeded them, Ed Miliband, was the rejection of the “New Labour” label. However, Labour’s voting record in parliament would indicate that, under Miliband, maintain the same distance from the left as did Blair.

Left-wing post-modernism opposes attempts to supply universal explanatory theories, including Marxism, deriding them as grand narratives. It views culture as a contested space, and via deconstruction seeks to undermine all pretensions to absolute truth. Left-wing critics of post-modernism assert that cultural studies inflates the importance of culture by denying the existence of an independent reality