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 Post subject: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:13 am 
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So, the Irish President Michael D. Higgins is under a lot of pressure to retract his statement that Fidel Castro was "a giant among global leaders whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet”, while tempering those remarks with "The economic and social reforms introduced were at the price of a restriction of civil society, which brought its critics.”

Now, Michael D is very left wing and some would say practically Socialist, but I've always considered him to be very informed and measured. So, a bit like the Palestinian situation, I wonder how much of our narrative is shaped by the US media. This BBC interview was very interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:18 am 
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Here's an article from a left-wing British paper: Forget Fidel Castro’s policies. What matters is that he was a dictator

It's a view that I agree with. Whatever Castro achieved (and I won't deny that his regime had its achievements) others were able to do the same without forced labour camps, executions of dissidents and proscribing democracy and elections for five decades.


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:35 pm 
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Túrin Turambar wrote:
Here's an article from a left-wing British paper: Forget Fidel Castro’s policies. What matters is that he was a dictator

It's a view that I agree with. Whatever Castro achieved (and I won't deny that his regime had its achievements) others were able to do the same without forced labour camps, executions of dissidents and proscribing democracy and elections for five decades.


The Guardian is not a left wing paper, historically it claimed to be a liberal and even a progressive paper. It is less right wing than most of the rest of the British press, but most of that lot are so rabid that Goebbels would have been ashamed to set the editorial policy .

The Guardian is firmly in the Blair/Islington/Coalition Government camp. I think if you had chance to read the commentary on the article you would see that the views expressed were not endorsed by the readership.

The Guardian is about as left wing as Tony Blair is a socialist pacifist,

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:47 pm 
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What's the difference between left-wing & liberal/progressive?

In the US the "left" is considered liberal/progressive as opposed to right being conservative.

Does it mean something else across the pond?

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:28 pm 
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I will let eborr defend his own position, but he seems to be suggesting that only socialism is really left-wing.

Obviously there's no objective measure of the ideological position of a paper, but I doubt that you will find many people on the right or in the centre of British politics who would deny that the Guardian takes a left-wing editorial line. If it isn't left-wing, I can't think of a mainstream British paper that is.


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:17 am 
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"Liberal" in the traditional sense of the word is rather to be considered as a conservative, so if you want "right-wing" ideology. As far as I know it is only used in the English speaking context - and more specific American context - as a synonym or almost for left-wing.

Switzerland is certainly a liberal country in the European understanding of the word: little to no ideology in the realization of state power, free market, practical solutions rather than ideas put in practice, individualism...

To be really left-wing, you need a lot more, not only in my (and in eborr's opinion if I understand him right), but also i f you take in account how ideologies were created and how the names of left and right wing became a system of classification.

Left-wing ideology is one where the individual would not be the main criteria for action, but society (hence the name: socialist) and where politics must aim for the profit and protection of the poorest. It is also in its heart anti-nationalist, because the interest of the many and mainly of the poor are not best defended by one state or one nation but by a system which would englobe everybody. Most of the early socialist were pacifists. But left-wing ideology usually also means to aim for a re-organisation of society in its whole, a call against private property, especially if something which is needed by all is owned by few. A state would hold responsibility for its citizens. There is a difference between socialists who, in theory, support a revolution, communists, who not only support but wanted to provoque a revolution and social-democrates who want to change the system from within.

Liberalism put the individual in the centre and declares him the base of society, rather than communities or put in the extreme, families. (Margaret Thatcher once said that society does not exist...) It means historically speaking not to put up too many rules to let the individual initiative prevail. Classic liberalism is in many ways mainly an economic rather than a political ideology. The organisation of a state should not handicap the economy and enable people to help themselves. But the state does not hold direct responsibility for its citizens.

Conservatism changes a lot with the time in which you use the word. At the birth of political ideologies (the French Revolution), conservatives were royalists. Like the name suggest, it means to conserve what you have and to avoid change. Nowadays, it means to stand firmly behind the idea of a nation state as basis for political decisions and to support the idea of traditional elite, role models and social organisation. Traditional conservatives can actually want a strong state, interfering a lot into the lives of people.

Liberalism and conservatism do not question private property.

Now, in daily use, in America "liberal" is used for as left as is possible in the US, from what I understand. In fact, most of the "liberals" in the US are exactly that and are far less left than even parties considered as right winged in parts of Europe. They are not leftist.

Personally, I would hardly consider any party in Europe today as truly left-winged nowadays. Germany's left party has always been social-democrate, but Labour in the origin was real socialist party - from what I have learned about it. Both have moved to the right in the 90ies under politicians like Blair and Schröder. The same has happened in France under Lionel Jospin who failed in the 2002 election. They have taken in liberal elements, mainly with the justification that policy benefitting the individual will also benefit society in its whole and that the state does not have to care of tis citizens beyond a certain level. In the same time, mainly on society issues, many conservatives have become more "left": more liberties for different life choices and minorities and less traditional role models, especially for women.

It is absolutely beyond doubt that liberalism is historically speaking not left wing.

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:39 am 
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Nin. You constantly amaze me. English is my first language and I couldn't have explained that so succinctly.

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:50 pm 
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Wow. I will need to read that a few time to absorb it.

10 years ago, I had no knowledge/understanding of these terms, and now...

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:12 am 
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Thanks Nin, I agree with what you are saying.

My position on this is simple, The Guardian is left wing only to the extent that most of the rest of the British media would be Gengis Khan apologists.if he were around(except that he is a foreigner of course).

That is not to say the Liberal party has not done good things in the past, - but that was when they had the vote of the working people as in the 1906 and the subsequent Governments which saw the introduction of elements of the welfare state. In fact the relationship between the Liberal party and the fledgling Labour party, which actually was made up of socialists was very close in those days. WW1 messed up that arrangement, when the Liberals got into bed with the Tories, and of course created about as many disasters as the coalition Cameron/Government did.

I suppose my concern is that people who are not close to British politics take the views expressed in the Guardian and because if it's history and reputation make the assumption that it reflects progressive opinion today. Sadly this is not the case. They represent another section of the establishment, personified by Blair and his cronies. In fact they are just as keen to stifle real debate as the right wing press. For a period in the 1990's my brother in law who is a very talented artist drew cartoons for them, his contract was cancelled because his illustrations had apparently upset some of the then Tory Govt.

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:30 am 
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A similar argument to could be applied to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the possible exception of Justice Ginsberg, the so-called "liberal wing" of the court are only liberal in comparison to the extreme conservativism of most of the "conservative wing". This of course was even more true when Justice Scalia was still alive, but is likely to be so again once President-elect Trump appoints his replacement and he is confirmed by the Senate.

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:23 pm 
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I would suggest my own views to be centre of the left, rather than left of centre, in that I believe in a mixed economy, local representation, state ownership of strategic resources, a free national health service and progressive taxation, I believe strongly in inclusion, and free speech. Most of all I believe in an equitable society and am happy to listen to any practical proposals that will achieve that. Those views I would say would have found a consensus in the Labour party of the 1970's.

And forgetting all the other stuff for a minute lets go back to the notion of an equitable society. The reality is as follows. During the period 1945 to 1979, the gap between the rich and the poor in the developed world narrowed, since 1979, no matter what complexion of governments have been in power the gap has increased, to the benefit of the few and the distress of the many, On that basis alone common decency should reject the politics of the right. It works for the rich and greedy and for no-one else.

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Gwyn A. Williams,


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:36 am 
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eborr wrote:
And forgetting all the other stuff for a minute lets go back to the notion of an equitable society. The reality is as follows. During the period 1945 to 1979, the gap between the rich and the poor in the developed world narrowed, since 1979, no matter what complexion of governments have been in power the gap has increased, to the benefit of the few and the distress of the many, On that basis alone common decency should reject the politics of the right. It works for the rich and greedy and for no-one else.


Growing income inequality is a real problem, but the other reality is that by 1979 the heavily-protected economies of much of the western world were in crisis, unable to compete with newly-industrialising Asia and suffering in some cases from simultaneous rising inflation and rising unemployment. The nationalised British coal industry had failed well before it was privatised.

Similarly, the countries which saw the best improvement in GDP and average and overall incomes were usually those which opted for free trade and liberal economics. That was behind the West German economic miracle and the vast improvements in living standards in the Asian Tiger Economies like Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

As for Castro, I can only say what I said previously. Regardless of his policies, I find it hard to respect a political leader who held power for decades without ever holding an election and taking the risk of losing power at the will of the people.


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:48 pm 
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Túrin Turambar wrote:
eborr wrote:
And forgetting all the other stuff for a minute lets go back to the notion of an equitable society. The reality is as follows. During the period 1945 to 1979, the gap between the rich and the poor in the developed world narrowed, since 1979, no matter what complexion of governments have been in power the gap has increased, to the benefit of the few and the distress of the many, On that basis alone common decency should reject the politics of the right. It works for the rich and greedy and for no-one else.


Growing income inequality is a real problem, but the other reality is that by 1979 the heavily-protected economies of much of the western world were in crisis, unable to compete with newly-industrialising Asia and suffering in some cases from simultaneous rising inflation and rising unemployment. The nationalised British coal industry had failed well before it was privatised.

Similarly, the countries which saw the best improvement in GDP and average and overall incomes were usually those which opted for free trade and liberal economics. That was behind the West German economic miracle and the vast improvements in living standards in the Asian Tiger Economies like Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

As for Castro, I can only say what I said previously. Regardless of his policies, I find it hard to respect a political leader who held power for decades without ever holding an election and taking the risk of losing power at the will of the people.

Sorry but I find that analysis superficial, and strait out of the neo lib apologists handbook. The notion that the British coal industry was failing is based entirely on what you consider failure to be. If you look at an industry with all the wisdom of a corner shop keeper you might we
L come to that conclusion. If on the other hand you believe running a national economy has other considerations that dhould be accounted for, then you would make a different conclusion. The facts are thst the British coal fields at the time of closure were producing some of cheapest deep mined coal in the world in the late 1970, and early 80. There was sufficient coal in Britain to provide fuel to the power stations, for 400 years. The recently produced cabinet papers have provided evidence that the closure of the coal industry was a political and not an economic decision.

Lets look at Germany now. The German economic miracle was founded on the Marshall Plan, and German industry is one of the most regulated in the EU, sadly that example falls flat. Lets now move on to the Tiger economies, yes they may have had outstanding growth, but at 20% growth when you start from very little still amounts to bugger alll. And again in my experience of working in both Singapore and Malaysia, the level of state intervention in business and the economy is significant. I don't wish to sound harsh because I enjoy and respect much that you write, but on this topic I find the agruments you are presenting are in support of an economic agenda which is becoming increasingly discredited.

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Gwyn A. Williams,


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:36 pm 
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Germany is not a liberal economy, not even in comparison to Switzerland. Germany's greatest pride after the war is not only the economic miracle, but the invention of the "Social market economy" (Soziale Marktwirtschaft), a concept made popular by (conservative!) economy minister Ludwig Erhard in the 50ies. It is defined as a third way between liberal and socialist economy, a regulated market.

I see in comparison now that I'm living in in Switzerland that it has a far more liberal economy than Germany and the effects can be felt in many ways - less maternal leave, less holidays, less social security - but also less unemployment, for instance. Both have their negative sides. Switzerland works very well so far, because the country is prosperous. But it's hard to say weather the economic system works because the country is prosperous of if the country is prosperous because the economic system works.

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:10 pm 
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eborr wrote:
Sorry but I find that analysis superficial, and strait out of the neo lib apologists handbook. The notion that the British coal industry was failing is based entirely on what you consider failure to be. If you look at an industry with all the wisdom of a corner shop keeper you might we
L come to that conclusion. If on the other hand you believe running a national economy has other considerations that dhould be accounted for, then you would make a different conclusion. The facts are thst the British coal fields at the time of closure were producing some of cheapest deep mined coal in the world in the late 1970, and early 80. There was sufficient coal in Britain to provide fuel to the power stations, for 400 years. The recently produced cabinet papers have provided evidence that the closure of the coal industry was a political and not an economic decision.


A political decision in so far as it was politically-prudent to stop propping up a profoundly inefficient industry to keep men working in the coal pits. I actually researched the privatisation of the British coal industry for an essay once, and this is what I found -

By 1984, it was costing £44 to mine a metric ton of British coal. By contrast, coal mined privately in North America, South Africa and Australia was being sold at £32 per metric ton. The British government was then subsidising the industry with £1.3 billion each year, in order to prevent the closure of unprofitable pits and keep men at work. And by the reckoning of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, three pits in four were losing money. In 1983, the year before the miners’ strike, slightly under 200,000 men were producing 100,000 tons of coal. By 1988, the same production was being achieved with half the number of workers. It is unsurprising that the National Coal Board, established in 1947, was in debt after 1950 and never recovered.

eborr wrote:
Lets look at Germany now. The German economic miracle was founded on the Marshall Plan, and German industry is one of the most regulated in the EU, sadly that example falls flat.


No, it was not founded on the Marshall Plan. Otherwise Britain and France, which received far more assistance, would have done much better (see this article on the Marshall Plan in Germany). Germany received relatively little Marshall aid for the size of its population. The overwhelming consensus among economists is that the Miracle came from the removal of price controls and the cutting of taxes. The social market economy was a liberal economy where the gains were used to fund the welfare state, but it could not have existed had the economy not experienced steady growth.

eborr wrote:
Lets now move on to the Tiger economies, yes they may have had outstanding growth, but at 20% growth when you start from very little still amounts to bugger alll.


It's hardly bugger all when you consider just how high the living standards in these countries have become. In 1945 Malaya had a similar GDP per capita to Zaire. The fact is that all the third world countries which have made the transition to being first world countries did so through liberal economics. This comparison becomes exceptionally striking when you compare neighbouring countries which were in a similar position at the end of the Second World War – liberal Malaysia and Singapore against socialist Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; Taiwan and Hong Kong against China (before it adopted capitalism); Botswana against Zimbabwe; and the extreme example, South Korea against North Korea.

eborr wrote:
And again in my experience of working in both Singapore and Malaysia, the level of state intervention in business and the economy is significant.


‘Significant’ is a relative term. Both countries have lower government spending, lower taxes, and fewer controls on their economies than is the norm in Western Europe or North America. Both Singapore and Hong Kong came out at the top of the Heritage Foundation’s index of economic freedom in 2016. Malaysia is ranked lower due to its corruption and the weakness of its judiciary, not because of government intervention in the economy (it still has a business freedom ranking of 91.4).

I am quoting from the neo-liberal playbook, but as it is a playbook that has been winning games for two centuries, I don’t see the problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:26 pm 
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I am not going to argue through every detail because we will never see eye to eye on this, but lets just take a look at a couple of points.

Quote:
I am quoting from the neo-liberal playbook, but as it is a playbook that has been winning games for two centuries, I don’t see the problem.


That depends entirely what your victory conditions are doesn't it. If you consider victory to be the exploitation of the many by the few then clearly it is effective. If on the other hand your judgement is that you want to create a society which is fair, sustainable and promotes the common weal then it fails miserably.

Quote:
By 1984, it was costing £44 to mine a metric ton of British coal. By contrast, coal mined privately in North America, South Africa and Australia was being sold at £32 per metric ton.


Presumably you mean factory gate prices ? What was the cost of coal at the Port Talbot steel works - having travelled a distance of less than thirty miles by train, or at Ferrybridge Powerstation -on the doorstep of the Yorkshire coal field ?

Furthermore what about the quality of the coal are we talking anthracite or stuff that's full of impurities. Like so many of your persuasion, you back your arguments with numbers trying to give the impression of authority and competence, but when those numbers are subjected to rigour they frequently fail.

And of course you fail to take account of the disparity of the safety records and the employment conditions of the miners - Surely you wouldn't seek to justify the conditions under which the black miners were suffering in the coal mines around Derby in the 1980's.

Did you get a good mark for the essay ?

Again the way you frame you argument demonstrates why the neo-lib view of the world is flawed. You take a single measure without taking into account any of the consequences - for example what was the cost of the destruction of the coal industry in terms of increase in benefit payments and loss of tax revenue. - What was the cost to the other local business who supplied the coal industry, or the communities that were built up to provide the labour force. What about the strategic implications of loosing control of your energy supply ? We are now in hock to the Russians for gas and shortly to the Chinese for Nuclear Energy

If you do the math, you will find out very quickly that a simplistic cost figure is actually a very poor yardstick on which to base a judgement.

And finally to use Botswana and Zimbabwe as a contrast of neo-Lib economics over a mixed economy is laughable.

The reason that Botswana is wealthy has f-all to do with an economic system, it's about diamonds. The diamonds are controlled by Debswana which is over 50% Government owned. Other industrial growth is funded by diamond revenue. Now I am not going to criticise the role of the Botswana Govt, they have played the hand they were given very well, and are making investments in infrastructure, energy production and other mineral extraction on the back of the revenue they receive through Debswana. My good friend Kitso could tell you more about this.

http://www.european-times.com/sector/go ... o-mokaila/

Looks to me like a very high degree of state intervention to me. Kitso was one of my direct reports during 1996-1998, a smart guy, and a patriot.

The reasons why Botswana succeeded where Zimbabwe, is not about an economic systems. There are to my mind two factors which differentiate Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Firstly we have the path to independence. Botswana achieved independence in 1966 from Britain is process that was peaceful and bloodless.

Botswana was at independence a very poor nation, and as a consequence received a good deal of help from UK, the US and many other countries including France and Sweden. As a consequence of this transition many of the institutions that were set up in the country followed European models, a judiciary that is independent of Government, a non politicised civil service - I could on. Zimbabwe on the other hand resisted majority rule with tacit support from some Western countries and explicit support from South Africa, so when majority rule was achieved it was in an atmosphere of resentment.

The second main difference is tribalism - Botswana is largely a single tribal culture, a nation of Tswana speakers, the Ba-Tswana. There are some other groups, the Ba,Kalanga in the north and the San in the Kgalakgadi. Zimbabwe on the other hand has two tribal groups who have historically been in conflict. The Shona are the largest group but the Ndebele are a substantial but declining minority. The simple truth is there is a history of animosity between the groups going back a couple of hundred years.

In short you have tried to cast Botswana's success down to it being a Neo-Lib economy = untrue. and Zim's failure to be success down to the pursuit of socialist mixed economy, also untrue.

Maybe the rest of the arguments you present have more credibility -

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Since 1410 most Welsh people most of the time have abandoned any idea of independence as unthinkable. But since 1410 most Welsh people, at some time or another, if only in some secret corner of the mind, have been "out with Owain and his barefoot scrubs." For the Welsh mind is still haunted by it's lightning-flash vision of a people that was free.

Gwyn A. Williams,


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:40 pm 
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eborr wrote:
I am not going to argue through every detail because we will never see eye to eye on this, but lets just take a look at a couple of points.

Quote:
I am quoting from the neo-liberal playbook, but as it is a playbook that has been winning games for two centuries, I don’t see the problem.


That depends entirely what your victory conditions are doesn't it. If you consider victory to be the exploitation of the many by the few then clearly it is effective. If on the other hand your judgement is that you want to create a society which is fair, sustainable and promotes the common weal then it fails miserably.

Quote:
By 1984, it was costing £44 to mine a metric ton of British coal. By contrast, coal mined privately in North America, South Africa and Australia was being sold at £32 per metric ton.


Presumably you mean factory gate prices ? What was the cost of coal at the Port Talbot steel works - having travelled a distance of less than thirty miles by train, or at Ferrybridge Powerstation -on the doorstep of the Yorkshire coal field ?

Furthermore what about the quality of the coal are we talking anthracite or stuff that's full of impurities. Like so many of your persuasion, you back your arguments with numbers trying to give the impression of authority and competence, but when those numbers are subjected to rigour they frequently fail.

And of course you fail to take account of the disparity of the safety records and the employment conditions of the miners - Surely you wouldn't seek to justify the conditions under which the black miners were suffering in the coal mines around Derby in the 1980's.

Did you get a good mark for the essay ?

Again the way you frame you argument demonstrates why the neo-lib view of the world is flawed. You take a single measure without taking into account any of the consequences - for example what was the cost of the destruction of the coal industry in terms of increase in benefit payments and loss of tax revenue. - What was the cost to the other local business who supplied the coal industry, or the communities that were built up to provide the labour force. What about the strategic implications of loosing control of your energy supply ? We are now in hock to the Russians for gas and shortly to the Chinese for Nuclear Energy

If you do the math, you will find out very quickly that a simplistic cost figure is actually a very poor yardstick on which to base a judgement.


There are many ways to measure the productivity and efficiency of the British coal industry under nationalisation. None of them show it particularly favourably. The simple fact that Britain could produce the same coal with a much smaller workforce demonstrates the problems the industry faced. This is why, as you yourself pointed out, the idea that the coal industry should be nationalised has gone from major Labour Party policy in the 1980s to a fringe position now.

And yes, nationalisation did keep a lot of men at work. But if you take the position that propping up an industry for the sake of keeping people employed is good policy, then you may as well argue the government should employ people to dig holes and fill them in again. Subsidising the industry was done with tax revenue, which could have been directed to other purposes.

This is the ultimate failure of public ownership and allowing political considerations to trump economic ones. Industries grow and shrink as technology changes and our society changes with it. The Industrial Revolution destroyed the cottage textile industry but made textiles affordable for ordinary people. In the early 20th century, coal was the major source of energy for the western world. It is a much smaller one now, and given the push towards renewable energy sources, it will eventually be phased out completely. That means, as a matter of necessity, people employed in coal-related industries will need to change jobs. This has always happened, since the eighteenth century. If the government owns the industry and justifies subsidising it on the basis of preserving jobs, then that change is hindered.

One of my favourite anecdotes about the coal industry came during a protest surrounding the closure of a coal pit. A Yorkshire miner said something like “My granddaddy walked a hundred miles to work here, and I’m not leaving!”. Of course, his granddaddy had made the decision to walk a hundred miles away from an area where his prospects were presumably poorer in order to get a job in the new and growing coal industry. That his grandson should have the same attitude never seemed to occur to that miner.

eborr wrote:
And finally to use Botswana and Zimbabwe as a contrast of neo-Lib economics over a mixed economy is laughable.

The reason that Botswana is wealthy has f-all to do with an economic system, it's about diamonds. The diamonds are controlled by Debswana which is over 50% Government owned. Other industrial growth is funded by diamond revenue. Now I am not going to criticise the role of the Botswana Govt, they have played the hand they were given very well, and are making investments in infrastructure, energy production and other mineral extraction on the back of the revenue they receive through Debswana. My good friend Kitso could tell you more about this.

http://www.european-times.com/sector/go ... o-mokaila/

Looks to me like a very high degree of state intervention to me. Kitso was one of my direct reports during 1996-1998, a smart guy, and a patriot.

The reasons why Botswana succeeded where Zimbabwe, is not about an economic systems. There are to my mind two factors which differentiate Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Firstly we have the path to independence. Botswana achieved independence in 1966 from Britain is process that was peaceful and bloodless.

Botswana was at independence a very poor nation, and as a consequence received a good deal of help from UK, the US and many other countries including France and Sweden. As a consequence of this transition many of the institutions that were set up in the country followed European models, a judiciary that is independent of Government, a non politicised civil service - I could on. Zimbabwe on the other hand resisted majority rule with tacit support from some Western countries and explicit support from South Africa, so when majority rule was achieved it was in an atmosphere of resentment.

The second main difference is tribalism - Botswana is largely a single tribal culture, a nation of Tswana speakers, the Ba-Tswana. There are some other groups, the Ba,Kalanga in the north and the San in the Kgalakgadi. Zimbabwe on the other hand has two tribal groups who have historically been in conflict. The Shona are the largest group but the Ndebele are a substantial but declining minority. The simple truth is there is a history of animosity between the groups going back a couple of hundred years.

In short you have tried to cast Botswana's success down to it being a Neo-Lib economy = untrue. and Zim's failure to be success down to the pursuit of socialist mixed economy, also untrue.

Maybe the rest of the arguments you present have more credibility -


Yes, Botswana had advantages over Zimbabwe. Aside from the ones you mentioned, it also had far better political leadership which maintained the rule of law. Malaysia had advantages over Vietnam. You can list a hundred such factors for every comparison of two countries. At the end of the day, though, you will need to find ways of explaining away every such comparison because the counter-example – the poor country which made itself rich through protectionism and nationalisation while its neighbour which started in the same position was left impoverished by liberal economics and free trade – does not exist.

The only one I’ll comment on specifically is natural resources. Botswana is wealthy in diamonds. This means little on its own. There are countries with abundant natural resources and dirt-poor citizens (like Nigeria). There are countries with few natural resources and rich citizens (like Iceland). Indonesia has more resources than Malaysia, but its citizens are poorer. Singapore and Hong Kong made the transition to wealth with very little primary industry. Natural resources are only of value if you have the political and economic systems to transform them into economic growth.


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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:25 pm 
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Quote:
At the end of the day, though, you will need to find ways of explaining away every such comparison because the counter-example – the poor country which made itself rich through protectionism and nationalisation while its neighbour which started in the same position was left impoverished by liberal economics and free trade – does not exist.


What do you make of Argentina? Or Greece?

About Argentina and the price of neo-liberalism:
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script= ... 7000100001

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 Post subject: Re: Fidel Castro
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:15 am 
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Nin wrote:
Quote:
At the end of the day, though, you will need to find ways of explaining away every such comparison because the counter-example – the poor country which made itself rich through protectionism and nationalisation while its neighbour which started in the same position was left impoverished by liberal economics and free trade – does not exist.


What do you make of Argentina? Or Greece?

About Argentina and the price of neo-liberalism:
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script= ... 7000100001


What about them? Both countries were impoverished by excessive government deficit spending combined with an inability of their currencies to devalue. Those things will lead to bankruptcy regardless of the economic model a country pursues. The article actually states:

Quote:
The one aspect of the Plan Cavallo which was not based on neoliberal ideology was the pegging of the peso to the dollar at a rate of one-to-one, commonly referred to as convertibilidad or convertibility.


Which was one of the major causes of Argentina's problems.


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