No Jackie, not quite

We are seeing a real confrontation between two kinds of power. One is elected parliamentary power, represented by the Treasury team and No 10. The other is the power of finance capital. London is a citadel for both kinds of power, British-state and global-economic. So it\’s not surprising that the confrontation is happening here.

The trigger for the fight is the gross bonus culture. The bankers are trying to hold Darling to ransom. If he doesn\’t allow them barrowloads of cash, they\’ll bugger off. And the ones from the Royal Bank of Scotland will go to rival banks, leaving the taxpayers\’ assets to melt away. Darling says he won\’t be held to ransom and the Treasury is privately talking up taxes to punish greedy bankers. But, as he acknowledged, it\’s a fine decision, because he cannot afford RBS\’s investment banking division to collapse. He needs to sell the bank. It says it needs to be fattened up for sale. It isn\’t as easy as public anger demands it should be.

It\’s not a battle between parliamentary power and that of finance capital.

It\’s a battle between what politicians would like to do with the powers of the State and reality.

Reality is that what politicans do, the plans they make whatever their desires or motives, has side effects. Effects which can make what politicians do entirely counter productive.

It\’s not a battle between two competing power bases: it\’s a battle between the universe as it is and fantasy.

And then this:

it talks of the need for a new engineering and design age, based on green technologies. It\’s about big regional projects for wave turbines, new power stations, electric cars and railways. It\’s about investment, therefore, including in education.

Well, you may say, that\’s a bit rich after all those years of Labour living so easily in the City\’s shadow. But big events like the banking crash are meant to produce new thinking, even a change of heart. When ministers look at economies like the French, which has kept its hi-tech engineering base, there\’s a new sensation – jealousy.

Erm, have you actually gone and looked at the UK economy? We have a huge high-tech engineering base. We don\’t make that many big trains, this is true: but we do make one third of the world\’s large jet engines.

And the memory of the Thatcher and Major de-industrialisation remains strong.

Err, absent the effects of the last couple of years (recessions do have the effect of reducing output you know) manufacturing output is higher than the Major years and most certainly higher than the Thatcher. What de-industrialisation?

4 comments on “No Jackie, not quite

  1. worth noting the FT article the other day too that pointed out that under Thatcher manufacturing fell from roughly 25% to 22% of GDP; under Labour it’s fallen roughly from 20% to 12%, to be replaced by finance and property.

  2. manufacturing output is higher than the Major years and most certainly higher than the Thatcher.

    I know this to be true. I can’t find it in the figures when I look, but then, that sort of stat is way outside my field. Don’t suppose you can give us an authoritative link so I can prove it to doubters?

    Tim adds: Not entirely and absolutely accurate but the Index of Production.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/tsdataset.asp?vlnk=708&More=N&All=Y

    Actually, if anyone’s any good at Excell n’stuff. I’d very much like five different graphs of those annual figures. Each of the series independently and then one with all four on (in different colours maybe). As a .jpg or summat. And yes, I am so pathetically hopeless at computers that I cannot do it myself.

  3. The power of finance capital is dependent on the market- that is the decisions which each and everyone make day by day. The market can be fooled for a time- but can also come to it’s senses at any time. It represents the will of the people at the time.
    The treasury team, and number 10 represent the self interest of a small group of people who need to please No. 10, and an individual who at best persuaded the majority to vote for him on one particular day some years ago- based on what he promised to do- or as at present someone who managed to displace such a person.
    As a believer in the wisdom of crowds as the best means of generating wealth and power ( though sadly not the best means of applying same) I’d go with the market any day.
    BTW if growth in the manufacturing sector is desirable (I think it is regardless of whether it has shrunk, grown, or whatever in the past) the has anyone thought of asking small/medium size companies what government could do to help- who knows, maybe they’d ask the government to get out of the way? (I assume that large companies are more interested in securing their position, as against growing compared to small/medium size companies)

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