Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Southern (Dis)Comfort

Clameur de Haro? found it highly amusing to see in today’s Jersey Evening [sic] Post an entire vineyard’s worth of sour grapes on public display from a Geoffrey Southern evidently piqued that a majority of States’ Members failed on no fewer that three occasions over the past few days to recognise his indisputable entitlement and suitability (well, in his eyes, anyway) for either a ministerial post or panel chairmanship.
His dreary allegations of “shameless politicking by ministers”, and his hyperbole about “complete and utter disrepute”, apart from their utter predictability, are risible. Mr Southern should, as our transatlantic allies say, just do the math.
CdeH? notes that, on each poll, the votes cast against him added up to 2 or 3 times the number of ministers which had actually been appointed at that stage: so clearly others, apart from ministers or ministerial hopefuls, shared on each occasion the latters’ (presumed) distaste at the prospect of a Southern ascendancy.
Ignoring the twisted logic which claims that fewer votes somehow equates to an opinion that he would do a better job, Mr Southern’s suggestion that the appointed chairmen of the Economic Affairs and Corporate Services Scrutiny Panels would provide less robust questioning than he would is patently absurd.
Mere tendency towards left-wing, so-called “progressive” politics does not automatically confer the required degree of knowledge and incisiveness, Mr Southern: Clameur de Haro? has far more confidence in the likelihood of Higgins and Ferguson holding Terry the Taxer and the very doubtful Ozo the Bozo properly to account.
And his forecast of the impending advent of party politics as a result of his thrice being rejected is nothing short of hilarious. What precisely are those three letters upon which Mr Southern hangs his electoral hat?
Back to The Guardian and Mad Polly Toynbee for inspiration, Geoff…………..
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Rob Kent said...

Dear CdeH? (or should that be Clameur de Haro?? - could it just be 'Clam?' for short?), since the free market and unbridled capitalism has proven itself to be so spectacularly successful when entrusted with the banking system, I can't wait to see the results when generally applied in Jersey.

Actually, we've already seen the results, in the former Soviet Union. Maggie Thatcher privatised eight percent of the UK economy over twelve years, with varying degrees of success. The IMF and Western governments forced Russia to privatise 90 percent of its economy in two years with disastrous results.

The IMF and World Bank foisted the same pattern of forced privatisation and deregulation on numerous countries around the world, with equally disastrous consequences for countries as diverse as Argentina and Thailand.

Almost all of these countries have now rejected deregulation, general privatisation, and unbridled capitalism. Funnily enough, in recent months, so have the USA, Britain, and most of Europe.

So it seems you might be in a lonely place, for a while at least.

If there really is such a thing as the 'Stuart Svvret Tendency' and the 'Kinnard-Syvret axis', maybe you should join in with them instead of ploughing the lonely 'Clameur de Haro Furrow'.

Clameur de Haro? said...

The financial crisis has principally been caused by a failure of government macro-economic policy (pumping artificially cheap credit into over-indebted consumerist economies for narrow political advantage), and a failure of supervisory regulation, not by a failure of capitalism, which is alive and well, albeit in temporary difficulty.

The disastrous developments in Russia were and are not due to any inherent defects of capitalism per se, but to the complete lack of the conditions for human freedom which all economic systems short of authoritarian communism require, namely proper, pluralist, politics, the enforceability of contracts freely entered into, the inviolability of private property, and above all, the rule of law administered by a judiciary independent of both the legislature and the executive.

Suggested read: "The New Cold War" by Edward Lucas.

Rob Kent said...

Yes, it's interesting how so many commentators are now absolutely sure about the reasons for the current crisis whereas none of them were even predicting it as recently as six months ago.

Personally, I haven't heard a convincing explanation. They all seem to talk about the proximate and not the ultimate causes.

In the same way that 'Thatcherism' and 'Reaganomics' were merely expressions of a global development, I suspect that this 'credit crunch' is a symptom of something much larger and historical. I don't believe it's caused by deregulation, human greed, or opportunistic politicians, although they all undoubtedly played their part.

Because every economy since time began is a subset of its environment (all its inputs come from the environment; all its wastes go back to the environment), I suspect that what we are seeing now is actually the death pangs of the appetitive, permanent growth economy that industrialized societies have had for the last two-hundred or more years.

The global economy is just a subset of the global environment, which can no longer sustain that kind of economy. Human societies around the world are going to be forced, by necessity, to adopt another model or die. That is what we're seeing.

There will still be free commerce and economic growth but it will have to justify itself and be sustainable. I'm not convinced by explanations that say that capitalism is actually okay so long as it is not over- or under-regulated (pick your favourite bete noire). Capitalism is not actually the issue - it's the way our economies are malfunctioning which is the problem.

If people are consuming more than the earth can provide - hoovering up non-renewable resources like termites - it doesn't matter a jot what the economic theorists say about banking regulation.

Let's imagine that the person who cut down the last tree on Easter Island (meaning they could no longer build fishing boats or wooden houses), had a loan to buy the axe. The interest rate he paid on that loan is irrelevant - his society was screwed anyway.

Of course, if his society could have taken a more global and enlightened view of their environment (which many societies around the world have actually done, thus sustaining themselves for thousands of years with essentially the same way of life), they wouldn't have got to the 'last tree decision' to begin with.

I think the global economy is not yet at the 'last tree decision' but it might be at the 'last forest' one.

I notice from some of your previous exchanges with other correspondents that you don't have much truck for environmental explanations so maybe you won't agree with me.

But that's okay: like most people who pontificate on the Internet, I have no specialist knowledge of the subject and don't really know what I'm talking about.

Interestingly, the main reason that the Easter Islanders weren't able to respond to their particular environmental crunch is that the island was divided into 'about a dozen' parishes that competed for resources and tried to out-aggrandize each other with their displays of wealth (statues).

The inability of the competing clans to cooperate and realise their common need led them to selfishly exploit their environment until their society collapsed in warfare, starvation and cannibalism.

Hopefully, our global society can avoid that fate, with or without credit from the banks.

See "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive", Jared Diamond, 2005.

mike said...

you really are a classic -ever thought of becoming a one man museum of exploded/mad ideas

Captain Fantastic said...

How are the JDA democratic?
When did Deputy Southern get elected to lead the JDA? Who sets their agenda and policies?
Talking of those not getting onto ministries anyone notice how Deputy Hill will be sitting in the chamber again and not taking part in any ministry or scrutiny, why are we paying people like this?