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Uncle Karl is back in fashion

Business, Economics, Europe, Japan, Singapore, US
By John Richardson on 22-Oct-2008

Yes, indeed, with all the talk of the collapse of capitalism and with liberal economists running for cover, dear old Karl might once again be the flavour of the month.

Oh how I remember those dewy-eyed days, standing on the picket lines in the pouring rain during the 1984-1985 Miner’s Strike in the UK, believing passionately in the noble cause of the downtrodden working man as he (and she, of course – sorry sisters for putting you second) fought against the evil forces of Thatcherism.

Oh how I remember on one such occasion, a miner asking me what I did, to which I replied “a student in English Literature”, to which he replied “what do you produce? Essays? You useless…………(followed by two unmentionably rude words).

And how I remember when the forces of Thatcherism won and the miners were forced to march back to work I waited for some noble and great workers’ song as they marched, some stirring ditty speaking of the struggle against the oppressor and the honour and dignity of honest toil as opposed to the grubby and slimy pursuit of evil money.

Instead all I heard coming out of the TV during the Look North programme was a rendition of that great brain-dead football chant, “here we go, here we go, here we go”.

How our illusions can be shattered and how the illusion that pure capitalism works is also now in ruins.

This is still not The End of History as history never ends.

So why not a sensible compromise between socialism and capitalism – a workable system of regulations versus freedom to innovate? How about the Japanese model, may be, or that which is pursued in Singapore?