Friday, June 24, 2016

Winterspeak on Brexit

Nice summary — which means it reflects my sentiments. I would add, however, that this is just the beginning and the end is still far off. 

And not only for the UK and the EZ. 

The whole world has some tough slogging to do on the way to creating a new world order suitable for meeting emergent challenges humanity faces in the 21st century. 

Too many are still living in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and trying to address 21st century challenges and opportunities in outdated terms. 

The future belongs to those with the courage and creativity to birth it.

On the other hand, it not just matter of voting. Collective mindsets need changing in these countries.

 Winterspeak notes, "As Zizek would say, austerity was the German superego run amok." 

To that I would add, that the neoliberalism and ordoliberalism that spawned and justified it is a facet of the collective id underlying the mindset of the West. It is based on centuries of struggle for power among the elites that has been inculcated culturally in the various areas to motivate populations to follow elites and their interests, against the interests of those populations. 

This is not changed easily or overnight.

This conflict of hyper-intellectual righteousness (superego) and animal passion (id) has resulted in a history of war and rapine in which lust for power and greed for territorial control has been justified on the most idealistic principles, from freedom to justice. 

Building a new UK, however it is configured, a new Europe, and a new world will have to overcome this path dependence that is deep-seated culturally. 

Institutional change alone is insufficient. That was the mistake of the EU and EZ in their construction.

The West especially not only can do better, it must do better in the face of existential threats of its own creation.

These threat arose as a consequence of the Great Divergence. The technological dominance of the West led to is political and economic dominance.

Technological dominance is one thing. The twisted thinking that used it for its own aggrandizement and justified it based on "exceptionalism" is another.

Mass psychotherapy needed. And the sickos must be turned out ASAP, instead of being routinely selected and promoted.



Ramanan said...


The UK was not in the Euro Area.

There is nothing called "EU Monetary Union". There's EU and there's the monetary union called the Euro Area (or Euro Zone).

The 3% deficit/60% debt didn't apply to the UK government before the referendum. Neither did it sign the fiscal compact.

Ramanan said...

Comment was meant for Winterspeak. Posted it here by mistake. But linked to it on his blog.

Ignacio said...

This vote wasn't a vote against austerity or economic policy. If you think that you have grossly misinterpreted the circumstances in the UK right now...

The vote was a combination of protest vote against immigration (blaming immigration for the current outcomes due to incompetent government policies, "the immigrants are taking it all") and blaming the EU for their own situation; and a democracy takeover by EU institutions out of control imposing measures.

The irony is that a lot of those who voted for leaving are for MORE neoliberalism and Thatcherism, not less. Expect more "beating until morale improves".

Schofield said...

The majority of rednecks voting for Brexit interpreted that the main part of the Neo-Liberal "shit sandwich" filling they were being forced to eat was down to unrestricted immigration whereas in reality it was was also the effects of long term out-sourcing of jobs from traditional industries plus home-grown Austerianism.

Tom Hickey said...

That's right. And The UK is not a European country, not being on the continent. This results in some complicated arrangements that many may not be familiar with but need to know in order to understand the politics and economics.

The UK aspired to join the EEC ("Common Market) but was blocked from doing so by DeGaulle, who considered the UK an American ally rather than a truly European country. After DeGaulle's departure the UK was admitted to the EEC in 1973.

The EEC was merged with European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community to from the EU in 1993

However, the UK had the good sense not to join the EZ, which includes only 19 of the 28 members of the EU. The countries that have not joined the EZ do not use the euro as their currency and don't fall under either the ECB or European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II). The only countries that joined the EU that have permanent opt outs of the EZ are UK and Denmark. So only the common market and not the currency union affect the UK directly. But the UK is affected indirectly through its EU agreements.

Don't know why Winterspeak seems to state otherwise. He certainly knows this. Someone pointed it out in his comments but he hasn't responded yet.


Tom Hickey said...


The reality is that through the EU, the UK is entangled in European affairs through various agreements, not only trade but also immigration (which is now a big point of contention). While nothing like the monetary including fiscal constraints of the EZ, EU membership still subjects members national sovereignty and democracy to those agreements, which are affected by the Eurocrats.

As a member of the EU the UK has also been deeply involved in the affairs of Europe, including the Greek debacle, through the EU, which is a member of the Troika, comprising the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The European Commission (EC) is the executive body of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.[2] Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate.[3]

The Commission operates as a cabinet government, with 28 members of the Commission (informally known as "commissioners").[4] There is one member per member state, but members are bound by their oath of office to represent the general interest of the EU as a whole rather than their home state.[3] One of the 28 is the Commission President (currently Jean-Claude Juncker) proposed by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament.[5] The Council then appoints the other 27 members of the Commission in agreement with the nominated President, and the 28 members as a single body are then subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament.[6] The current Commission is the Juncker Commission, which took office in late 2014.

The term Commission is used either in the narrow sense of the 28-member College of Commissioners (or College) or to also include the administrative body of about 23,000 European civil servants who are split into departments called directorates-general and services.[7][8] The procedural languages of the Commission are English, French and German.[9] The Members of the Commission and their "cabinets" (immediate teams) are based in the Berlaymont building in Brussels.

Thus the UK became embroiled in European affairs, including those resulting from the currency union, without being a member of EZ simply by being a member of the EU.

Another matter is liberalism. Classical liberalism is chiefly English. The American colonists were chiefly English and strove to imitate and innovate on English law and institutions. Entanglement with Europe has little historical precedent in Europe and for much of its history England as a great power was at odds with European great powers. Brexit can be viewed as at least in part an expression of British liberalism and its conscious disassociation from the continent.

Ignacio said...

Yes but UK also had strong socialist movements back in the day (and now may be slowly making a come back).

There is a struggle between continental driven "ordo-liberalism" and what here in the continent is called "anglo-saxon model", but both in the UK and Western Europe there were strong socialist movements that used to balance labour power agaisnt capital interests, and also in both places they have been eroded by decades of liberalism of the various flavours and 'globalism' (which populist right now kind of opposes as the left has been failing miserable to build up an alternative).

In this regard the UK is much more similar to Europe than the USA, UK used to have one of the strongest welfare states and social institutions and strong labour movements raised there during the last two centuries even more than in many continental Europe.

The UK shares the English language with the USA, but in other regards, culturally and socially it may be much closer to continental Europe than the USA (and you can tell this for certain regarding Scottish and Irish, which are much closer to Europe than the USA socially speaking).

Maybe the British have to taste a bit more Thatcheism before they grow up the labour movement again, but is not an impossibility (culturally speaking).

Andrew Anderson said...

before they grow up the labour movement again, Ignacio

Too late for that since labour has been or shall be largely replaced with automation.

Labour cartels were always a poor counter to government-privileged usury cartels - which we've had since no later than the abolition of the Tally Stick.

Ignacio said...

Labour includes everyone who is working or in the age of working over all industries. The reality is that this is the situation of most adults right now, like it or not.

If one of the topics is the redistribution of the production of 'robots' (overblown by massive kool-aid campaign by mass media to blame neoliberalism effects on "other things" and explain away their failures) it will get going only if there is a strong push by a strong labour movement (which is not exclusively "cartels" or whatever label you want to come with).

get over it, otherwise look at Honduras because that's the future that awaits us.

Tom Hickey said...

Historically, political liberalism is said to be begin in England in 1215, when the feudal lords forced King John to agree to the Magna Carta Libertatum, freeing them from certain royal obligations (control). This is viewed as the beginning of political liberalism in medieval Europe.

Just as Athens in claimed to be the birthplace of Western democracy (even though it was operated on the backs of a slave economy), so too England is supposed to the the site of the birth of liberalism (even though "freedom" was only gained by some feudal lords But the principle was established and with the Renaissance, the classical works were revived and with the Reformation the dogmatic character of Christendom declined. Liberal attitudes grew.

Some modicum of political liberalism is the necessary condition for social and economic liberalism, unless a monarch would voluntarily extend these freedoms. Unlikely without being forced to, or being overthrown.

With the decline of feudalism and the rise of capitalism, liberalism developed into the classical liberalism that manifested in England in the 18th century with Locke and Smith although there were French influences, too. This political liberalism manifested not only as the American and French Revolution of the late 18th century, but also the English Civil War and revolution that led to the death of Charles I and Parliamentarianism under the aegis Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century. But Cromwell was dubious as a liberal, and it was the American Revolution that resulted in the first authentically liberal constitution in the modern era.

Although laissez-faire was obviously a French idea, modern liberalism emerged in England as chiefly economic liberalism, or what Marxists would call bourgeois liberalism, since England was the focal point of technological development and expansion through trade, included colonialism (which is obviously illiberal). This resulted in "Dickensian times" in England, and there was as reaction in the form of social liberalism as reform.


Tom Hickey said...


America went its own way with liberalism and it is probably fair to say that American liberalism was not of great influence on the UK and Continental Europe until after WWII. It was really the ideas of Keynes that directed US economic policy during the Great depression although Marriner Eccles seems to have a arrived at similar or complementary views independently through experience. But Keynes provided the economic rationale for combining aspects of social and economic liberalism, Which FDR was able to implement almost by diktat owing to the power of his political party in the legislature.

The history of liberalism since is the attempt to reconcile the trifecta of social, political, and economic liberalism, and no country has managed this successfully at least for very long yet. But the New Deal was a harbinger and the Nordic model suggested that it can be accomplished at least in some areas.

Social liberalism was adopted in the UK on a grand scale post WWII but British socialism failed to deliver to enough voters and Margaret Thatcher voted in. The slogan ever since has been TINA — there is no alternative to neoliberalism as deregulation and privatization, which is the real meaning of "free markets, free trade, and free capital flows."

The principle political issue is that social liberalism bridles economic liberalism as bourgeois liberalism. In liberal countries, politics is generally controlled by owners of wealth, so social liberalism is at a disadvantage wrt economic liberalism, the argument being that social liberalism limits growth and makes everyone worse off even though economic liberalism benefits the wealthy more. So social liberalism is really the less competent and therefore less well of biting off their noses to spite their faces because envy.

Conversely, social liberals argue that this narrative is manufactured and based on fantasy assumptions: The reality is the that class envy is not the problem but rather it is the lust for power and greed of the ruling class when that class is comprised chiefly of acquisitive accumulators — the wealthy, and their cronies and minions that aspire to become wealthy by serving the interest of the wealthy.

Kristjan said...

UK has signed the Stability and Growth Pact:

"The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is an agreement, among the 28 Member states of the European Union, to facilitate and maintain the stability of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Based primarily on Articles 121 and 126[1] of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, it consists of fiscal monitoring of members by the European Commission and the Council of Ministers, and the issuing of a yearly recommendation for policy actions to ensure a full compliance with the SGP also in the medium-term. If a Member State breaches the SGP's outlined maximum limit for government deficit and debt, the surveillance and request for corrective action will intensify through the declaration of an Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP); and if these corrective actions continue to remain absent after multiple warnings, the Member State can ultimately be issued economic sanctions."
So after leaving the EU It can Ignore the deficit spending limit and be a sovereign state again.

Andrew Anderson said...

"Labour" has a bad connotation in the US; we remember disgruntled, highly paid autoworkers sabotaging cars, featherbedding railroad workers, etc. and crooked union leaders.

Populism is a better umbrella label for what should unite nearly everyone - economic justice.

Matt Franko said...

"the main part of the Neo-Liberal "shit sandwich" filling they were being forced to eat was down to unrestricted immigration whereas in reality it was was also the effects of long term out-sourcing of jobs from traditional industries plus home-grown Austerianism."

Scho you have to admit that if you do those two, the LAST thing you would want to do to pile on is bring in a bunch of turd worlders on top of that...

You have employment and the social net both under pressure not to mention austerity and then you bring in foreigners and it just makes a bad situation even worse...

I dont see how you lefties dont see this and instead start crying "xenophobia!" all the time... its modern day human trafficking and the left thinks this is just great.... i dont get you guys...

Andrew Anderson said...

.. its modern day human trafficking and the left thinks this is just great... Franko

If assets were roughly equally owned, as they were in ancient Israel, then foreign labor would be a blessing for all citizens, not just for a few.

So since the Old Testament has provisions for the equal distribution of assets and to keep them roughly equally distributed then the OT also commands that foreigners are to be well treated.

Ya see Franko, the OT has a complete, consistent and humane social justice system, unlike the one Calvin and his followers developed by ignoring it. But since it outlaws public sodomy, it must still be ignored? Poor exchange that, eh? Social justice for the "right" to commit sodomy in public?

Matt Franko said...

" then foreign labor would be a blessing for all citizens, "

Not for the foreign laborers c'mon.... I've never met one over here that is a new arrival that is not being basically abused imo...

Its not that the Protestants ignored it, they understood it correctly as a futile approach....

c'mon if it was all that easy why didnt Israel just simply comply?

You say "the OT has a complete, consistent and humane social justice system, "

Well yes it does.. IF you can comply with it... which we manifestly CANNOT... hence it is all as Paul described it G-A_R_B_A_G_E it has NO applicability to we of the nations.... none .... zero.... zip.... nada....

We're under grace today (unmerited favor...) we have authority to deliver whatever economic outcomes we are led to and nobody is "going to hell!" or wtf...

Andrew Anderson said...

we have authority to deliver whatever economic outcomes we are led to Franko

Not by stealing from and oppressing the poor!

Matt Franko said...

What you are saying doesnt even make sense how can you "steal from the poor"????

If they are poor, then they dont have anything to steal in the first place...

This is like the opposite of the out of paradigm left and their "money comes from rich people!" beliefs...

You are saying "money comes from poor people!".... it doesnt even make sense...

It comes out of our (mankind's) delegated earthly authority... "from above"... not "from below"...

authority works from the top down... not bottom up...

Andrew Anderson said...

You are saying "money comes from poor people!".... Franko

Where money comes from is irrelevant to whether it can be stolen.

And I've already made the case ad nauseam how the government-privileged usury cartel steals from everyone, but especially from the poor, the least so-called credit-worthy for the benefit of themselves and for the benefit of the rich, the most so-called credit-worthy.

What are you defending, Franko? Does progress require theft and oppression?