Monday, March 31, 2014

Simon Wren-Lewis — The Left and Economic Policy

This gives us two problems that occur for the left and not the right. However the right has two problems of its own when it comes to getting good policy advice. The first comes from a key difference between the two: the right has an ideology (neoliberalism), the left no longer does. The second is that the resources for the right often come with strings that promote the self interest of a dominant elite. So although the right has more resources to get good economic advice, these strings and their dominant ideology too often gets in the way. But what this ideology and these resources are very good at is providing simple sound bites and a clear narrative.
Thatcherism has been successful in framing the debate in terms of TINA — there is no alternative (to neoliberalism), when there is actually, but the left is unable or unwilling to mount the argument. The result is that there is no left, and bad advice dominates the policy debate owing to ideological bias based on ruling class interest.

Mainly Macro
The Left and Economic PolicySimon Wren-Lewis | Professor of Economics, Oxford University

3 comments:

Dan Kervick said...

The left has to move beyond Keynes. There is an inchoate hunger in the world to transform the way we live in a dramatic way. Keynes doesn't offer that. All his system offers is a way of continuing along our basic trajectory while maintaining full employment in the face of capitalism's periodic financial bumps and demand shortfall.

People everywhere can feel that we are destroying our planet, destroying human dignity and destroying human relationships. It's a civilizational crisis.

Tom Hickey said...

Whatever. The political parties supposedly representing the left have no coherent vision and when they come to power it's neoliberalism lite instead of full-on. Feckless and impotent.

Neoliberalism has yet to run its course, and I expect it will take at least several more election cycles unless there is a surprise like another Great Depression, or the closing of the vice of climate change in something suddenly manifest like the reversal of the Gulf Stream, or some such shock that upsets the gradual unfolding of the course of events that sees the pendulum swinging from left to right and bank over the course of several generations.

At present the left has no vision, no policy, no strategy, no leadership, and no institutional depth. It's a clear field for the right to advance with the help of the left to the degree that the left accepts TINA, which so far the leadership of what passes for the left does.

Dan Kervick said...

Right, this isn't a question of crafting a policy platform for an establishment political party, but of building a social movement.