Well done Mr. Chakrabortty, well done here

Outside was panic. Barely a couple of hours after Donald Trump had been declared the next president of the United States and even the political columnists, those sleek interlocutors of power, were in shock. At the National Gallery in London, however, one of the few thinkers to have anticipated Trump’s rise was ready to see some paintings. Over from Germany for a few days of lectures, Wolfgang Streeck had an afternoon spare – and we both wanted to see the Beyond Caravaggio exhibition.

Nothing in his work prepares you for meeting Streeck (pronounced Stray-k). Professionally, he is the political economist barking last orders for our way of life, and warning of the “dark ages” ahead.

Streek is a sociologist, not an economist.

Sheesh.

13 comments on “Well done Mr. Chakrabortty, well done here

  1. “political columnists, those sleek interlocutors of power,…”

    I’m sure they would like to think of themselves that way, yes.

  2. You have no faith Tim, for in these enlightened socialist days, cannot a person be whatever he, she or trans desires?

    A sociologist can become an economist; a politician a sociologist; a physicist a taxidermist and a fat turd can become an expert in tax, economics, constitutional law, sociology and ‘everything’.

    You requiring someone to have knowledge of a subject before being considered an expert in it is just neoliberal sophistry.

  3. Dunno why Germany produces so many intense, weird little men. First the teenage kicks of Nietzsche, whose philosophy boiled down to “FUCK YOU, DAD!”, and now this guy:

    Even his admirers talk of his “despair”, by which they mean sentences such as this: “Before capitalism will go to hell, it will for the foreseeable future hang in limbo, dead or about to die from an overdose of itself but still very much around, as nobody will have the power to move its decaying body out of the way.”

    Eh… OK?

    At a scene of cardsharps he exclaims, “Feel the decadence! The threat of violence!”

    He had a wide-on at this point, didn’t he?

    This summer, Britons mutinied against their government, their experts and the EU – and consigned themselves to a poorer, angrier future.

    Only distant, unaccountable transnational bureaucracies led by German socislists and Belgian child-snatchers can make us rich and happy.

    In its deepest crises, he says, modern capitalism has relied on its enemies to wade in with the lifebelt of reform. During the Great Depression of the 30s, it was FDR’s Democrats who rolled out the New Deal, while Britain’s trade unionists allied with Keynes.

    The Yanks went Keynsian, we went “austerity”. As a result, Britain soon returned to growth while the US didn’t recover from the Depression till WW2. Some “lifeboat”.

    And now we return to our regularly scheduled programme, Blame Maggie!:

    The prime minister who declared “There is no alternative”, then did her damnedest to extirpate any such alternative. The result? The unions are withered, the independent tenants’ associations have disappeared along with the stock of council housing, the BBC is forever on the back foot, and local, regional and national newspapers are now the regular subjects of obituaries. A similar story can be told across the rich world.

    Yes, Maggie (PBUH) is reponsible for everything from trade unions beclowning themselves into utter irrelevance to people getting their news from the internet.

    On this trip he went to a conference on Brexit. “I was shocked by the unanimous sense of guilt.” One former British ambassador “began by saying we have to apologise to our foreign friends for the vote to leave Europe.

    Mr Ecks was right about everything.

    He sees the support for Brexit and Trump as stemming from the same source. “You have a growing group of all people, who, under the impact of neoliberal internationalisation, have become increasingly excluded from the mainstream of their society.

    Exactly, hilariously, perfectly wrong.

    “This dog doesn’t know what he’s doing!”, conclude fleas.

    Allow me to put forward a theory: academic spongers, Guardianista nu-males, metropolitan ponces and blue-haired Tumblr feminists with safety pins are not the mainstream.

    The mainstream are the folks who voted for Brexit and Trump. The normal people. The working people. People who don’t yearn for multiculturalism and who’ve never unironically used the term “cisgender” in their lives.

    It is you, dear progressives, who are the oddball fringe. The lotus eaters and tax guzzlers. A weird and wacky coalition of microdemographics who largely hate each other and who wouldn’t even exist in our society if not for the excess wealth and surfeit of tolerance generated by late-stage capitalism.

    You fleas. We dog. Now stop being a nuisance or dog shake you off.

  4. The Inimitable Steve said: “The mainstream are the folks who voted for Brexit and Trump. The normal people. The working people. People who don’t yearn for multiculturalism and who’ve never unironically used the term “cisgender” in their lives.

    It is you, dear progressives, who are the oddball fringe. ”

    They’ve had a good run for a couple of decades but now it is coming to an end. We could well be getting back to leaders in Western nations who aren’t telling us every day how they feel about things and who can tell, and take, a joke.

  5. “Allow me to put forward a theory: academic spongers, Guardianista nu-males, metropolitan ponces and blue-haired Tumblr feminists with safety pins are not the mainstream.

    The mainstream are the folks who voted for Brexit and Trump. The normal people. The working people. People who don’t yearn for multiculturalism and who’ve never unironically used the term “cisgender” in their lives.

    It is you, dear progressives, who are the oddball fringe. The lotus eaters and tax guzzlers. A weird and wacky coalition of microdemographics who largely hate each other and who wouldn’t even exist in our society if not for the excess wealth and surfeit of tolerance generated by late-stage capitalism.”

    The problem with the likes of the Guardian is that they live in a bubble of media, professions and government. And while the professions are nominally private, they rely on protection by the state from outsiders, so are, to a certain extent, clients of the state.

    It’s why the old media are going into shock right now. The new media isn’t in that bubble. They aren’t getting invited to press dinners with the big O or getting paid to do documentaries on the BBC. They’re writing things from kitchen tables in the unhip parts of the UK, the sort of places that BBC comedians like to laugh about. And they’re far more in touch with the population.

  6. The Beyond Caravaggio exhibition is a bit weak, too. Only about four daubs by the Master, flying under the flag of conveience of his name plastered all over Trafalgar Square. Nothing in the pre-ticket-buying publicity to really make this clear, either.

  7. “The Beyond Caravaggio exhibition is a bit weak, too. Only about four daubs by the Master, flying under the flag of conveience of his name plastered all over Trafalgar Square. Nothing in the pre-ticket-buying publicity to really make this clear, either.”

    Thanks for the warning. We’re in London Monday and Tuesday and swmbo normally does a tour of exhibitions while we’re there.

  8. “The problem with the likes of the Guardian is that they live in a bubble of media, professions and government”

    Yes. Unfortunately that also means they are in charge, and aren’t showing any signs of reforming themselves.

  9. Are they, though? In charge? Nominally, I suppose, but they haven’t been having a terribly good run lately.

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