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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Chris Tame on Thatcherism

In one of his last emails to the Libertarian Alliance Forum yahoogroup, Chris Tame ridiculed what he called the Dilbert-style "managerialist" culture of the typical large corporation: a product, he said, of limited liability and the divorce of ownership from control--not of the free market.

In his obituary for The Independent, Sean Gabb describes the jaundiced eye Chris took toward the Thatcher revolution:

He settled in London at a time of great and continuing political excitement. High inflation, rising unemployment, unsustainable levels of taxation and state control, had raised doubts over the legitimacy of the mixed-economy/ welfare-state settlement of the 1940s and of the political and social order that presided over it. Allied with trade-union bosses, a generation of radicalised students was plotting to replace the old order with some socialist utopia. They were resisted by various conservative and free market policy institutes, all more or less funded by big business....

Chris Tame saw through the optimism of the late 1970s and early Thatcher years. Where others saw a rolling back of the state, he saw in privatisation only a more rational - and thus a more efficient - type of statist control. "These new markets are never free," he once said, "and they are always dominated by the ruling class." He believed that the second half of the 20th century had seen a collapse of the moral and social and intellectual foundations of English liberty, and that there was no short-term strategy for its restoration. British libertarianism was not in the same position as socialism in 1945. It was in the same position as socialism in 1845.

Therefore, it was necessary to work a step at a time towards some future intellectual hegemony.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Privatisation" is a slippery word. Chris is of course no longer here to ask, but my guess is that he was not referring to the complete withdrawal of the State from certain sectors of the economy - such as the sale of State-owned industries, but rather to the contracting-out of State activities - such as State funding of private hospital treatment, or education vouchers. The former, which shrinks the State, is to be commended; the latter, which supposedly makes the State more "efficient", merely sucks the private sector into the State sector and is to be opposed as (at best) a distraction.

March 31, 2006 2:50 PM  

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