Monday, 31 October 2011

Beckhamology AND Beckhamonomy

(extract from p177 of The Received Wisdom Book of Modern British History, HarperCollins, 2010.)

Monday, 3 October 2011

tighten your belt and consume

Please tell me more about this opportunity!

Oh thank goodness. There is an alternative after all. The alternative to hunkered-down, ostensibly contrite, faux-prudent survival capitalism is... a return to unfettered speculative consumer capitalism. The alternative to moralising neo-Victorian priggishness is... complete embrace of anything you want, right now, because you're worth it. No need to feel guilty!

Remarkably strident in the circumstances - practically cheering individuals and businesses into taking unsustainable risks that will likely lead to nothing but personal debt and bankruptcies. Because, let's not kid ourselves, even when the money starts moving again, it isn't going to trickle down. When you've jettisoned politics - given up on the possibility of any kind of structural change - this is what you're reduced to. The way to be a hero and save our economy is to BUY STUFF.

It's a neat illustration of the awkwardness of the current neoliberal position. The crash of 2008 required a public display of financial discipline and condemnation of irresponsible consumer borrowing - but the problem with the nostalgic Make Do and Keep Calm for Victory rhetoric is that (real) thrift and prudence are inimical to the interests of capitalism. The Tories in particular were always more comfortable as the party of boom and bust - maybe, based on this, we'll see a movement within the party to return to those good old days?