Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Leonid Bershidsky — The Political Center Is Shifting to the Left

I usually don't agree with Bershidsky's analysis, but I think he has this right — I mean, left.
Unlike the populist right, whose appeal is limited by extreme positions such as xenophobia, the new left can offer a big tent. Its ideology is not universally identified with the failed Soviet experiment, which is seen, correctly, as more totalitarian than socialist. The younger generation sees the left as excitingly modern and intellectually advanced.
Socialism is undergoing a revolution. Although Labour in the U.K. appears doomed under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, it may emerge stronger from the turmoil. The same is true of the U.S. Democrats post-Sanders. These ideological shifts are probably not a deadly virus, as Trump's brand of nativism is to the Republicans: They may well be a much-needed inoculation.…
The ideological shift is following the demographic shift. This trend is only get stronger as the older generations — the silent generation and the boomers — die off. The Overton window appears to be moving left after having shifted far to the right since Reagan.

Bloomberg View
The Political Center Is Shifting to the Left
Leonid Bershidsky


Detroit Dan said...


If we are going to achieve anything, it is to get back to the notion that the job of government is to solve societal problems. Sounds terribly socialist! But it's really just common sense, and if we don't use common sense we will commit suicide as a species.

Sanders' "radical" proposals are the best hope for a return to common sense, and time is on our side.

Tom Hickey said...

If we are going to achieve anything, it is to get back to the notion that the job of government is to solve societal problems.

MMT calls it "public purpose." MMT did not invent this concept or coin this phrase. See John Kenneth Galbraith, Economics and the Public Purpose," for example, and indirectly, The Good Society: The Humane Agenda.

There are two views of political economy, "let it be" (economic liberalism, laissez-faire capitalism) and make it happen (managed economy, socialism). Economic liberalism is based on social Darwinism, while the latter is based on systems analysis and social organization.

Ignacio said...

I don't think is shifting.

Mass media moved to the right, not the public. Bought out politicians moved to the right, not the public.

People was disenfranchised by being ignored by politicians so they removed themselves from a political system that did nothing for them and was controlled by the enablers and the elites (so around 25% of the population). When they see a windows of opportunity for representation they become involved.

We will see how it plays out... An other crisis will be probably necessary before anything really happens.

Bob said...

And where has the power shifted?

Detroit Dan said...

I think public was coopted somewhat by the "ownership society". It was an appealing idea to give more people an ownership stake in society via 401K retirement plans. But as the attendant insecurity becomes clear, there is a reaction toward the left.

Again, the best thing for those of us who believe in democratic socialism is to bide our time a bit. It looks like Hillary will be the next president. I believe her wing of the Democratic Party will have to admit defeat as the economy goes nowhere and turn over power to the socialist wing. The are in trouble and I'm not sure what the way forward for them is, other than a strongman taking power and implementing undemocratic socialism.

Tom Hickey said...

The power has not yet begun to shift but the discourse has, pretty much after Occupy and then PIketty. Now the talk is all about addressing inequality whereas before it was all about austerity, deficit hysteria and debt fetishism. When the standard of living of the majority falls noticeably, then people start voting their wallets and wants government solutions. They've been waiting thirty years for trickle down to happen and are realizing that they are getting pissed on.

Bernie is moving the Democratic trend much further to the left and Trump the GOP to a somewhat more moderate position in backing SS and appealing to "the little people,"

Detroit Dan said...

Well said. The Clintons used to be on the left, now they're on the right. Interesting times!

Neil Wilson said...

"Now the talk is all about addressing inequality"

I suspect the fickle class will be bought off with a few soundbites and tax cuts and the status quo will be restored.

There isn't enough pain yet to cause a shift, and slacktivism is rife. Lots of moaning on social media, and very little action.

Detroit Dan said...

"There isn't enough pain yet to cause a shift" [Neil]

Ah, but we have another financial puzzle that will multiply the pain (to middle and upper class especially) when it pops.