Questions to which we might be able to essay an answer

And how is that there are no widely read democratic socialist publications whatsoever?

Because there aren\’t enough democratic socialists to make such a publication widely read?

The same problem that \”Wicca Today\”, \”First Great Western Trains Daily\” and \”Knobwarmer Knitter\’s Weekly\” face?

Their offering is to a minority interest market?

Perhaps more people ought to be interested in democratic socialsm but there\’s been all sorts of attempts to provide newspapers and magazines to those who are: New Society is the last subsumed title that I can think of that tried it. Tribune the last extant one.

It is one of the glories of this market based system. If no one gives a shit enough to purchase the output then probably better not to waste the inputs in the production, eh?

8 thoughts on “Questions to which we might be able to essay an answer”

  1. Nobody has fantasies about being tied up and whipped by someone dressed up as a social democrat.

    Dull, sanctimonious, out of touch with human instincts.

  2. Doesn’t The Guardian count? It claims to have a circulation of quarter-of-a-million copies (although a lot of those are state-subsidised like public libraries where it has replaced The Times or forced purchases by those looking for public sector jobs, there must still be quite a few people who actually buy it).

  3. “Because there aren’t enough democratic socialists?”

    That’s no explanation.

    I think the reason is that there is no law requiring readership of such publications – a gross failure of government that surely must and will be fixed by some clear-thinking bureaucrat any day now.

  4. My understanding of Dave O’s politics is that he’d class the Guardian and the New Statesman as social-democratic, not democratic-socialist (in that they both support capitalism + redistribution, rather than workers’ control of the means of production attained through democratic means rather than totalitarian revolution). It’s fair to say that Dave’s democratic-socialist ideology is quite niche.

    But Tim, in terms of incentives, don’t you think it’s *just about* possible that the media might have a natural tendency to lean in the direction of supporting the views of those who own the media? Which, in general, will be “the views of people who are very rich”. Surely it’d be weird if that *didn’t* happen?

    (the fact that the Graun, which is one of the most-visited news websites in the English-speaking world in addition to its print circulation, is owned by a trust dedicated to its own preservation rather than by a commercial proprietor, doesn’t exactly go against my point).

    Tim adds: The general finding from the academic literature on this (and yes, there is one on this point) is that newspapers chase the prejudices of their readership, not impose them.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    John77 – “Doesn’t The Guardian count?”

    Short answer: no.

    Longer answer: not as long as they employ Seamus Milne, Richard Gott, Bea Campbell, Azim Tamimi, ahh f&ck listing them all, no it doesn’t.

  6. Surely, the answer is that most people don’t buy a newspaper to read political polemic. If the democratic socialists want a national daily all they have to do is fill it with lots of stuff that people want to read; Kylie’s new boyfriend, who’s signed for Arsenal, Deathly Hallows Part 2…… Do that well enough & they’ll have 4 million readers, 5?, 6? But that’s something ‘democratic’ socialists don’t understand isn’t it? The trade-offs between what you want & what everybody else wants. The democracy bit.
    Guardian may have a well visited website (& how much of that is due to site’s like our host’s directing our attention to the car crash?) but the print version’s a disaster kept afloat by cross subsidy from a paper whose content is 100% what it’s customers want to read. Used car ads. Can you get capitalism more red* in tooth & claw than the used car trade?

    In passing, never really got the Murdoch as bogey man thing. NI’s output seems politically impartial. Just retails it’s customers’ preferences back at them. The left’s main beef is that it doesn’t unquestionably support them. Give them a free pass. Tough.

    *Why do progressives capture most of the colours. It’s like the devil having the best tunes isn’t it?

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