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March 28, 2010

The revolution of lowering expectations

Charles Moore argues after half a century of rising expectations, the revolution of lowering expectations is only just beginning.

This is about more than mortgages and interest rates, it is political.

At the height of our boom, it became fashionable to disdain economic growth. People forgot that the history of the world is one in which most human beings have had a very hard time. A social order which produces steadily, genuinely growing prosperity for most citizens is therefore a great and rare achievement. It was the failure of socialism to ensure such prosperity which lost it the Cold War. But if I were a Communist now, I would be rubbing my hands. The promise of liberal capitalism is that people are free to share in and accumulate the rewards of their labours, and that this, in turn, will help those rewards increase. For millions of people, this is now not happening. Every expectation of intergenerational security on which bourgeois life thrives is blocked. With the public purse as empty as the voters' pockets, no political party can see the way through this. Ministers, bankers, Parliament have all failed, while looking after themselves comfortably in the process. So the conditions are ripe for a new politics of grievance and anger. Which is where revolutions begin.

Which is fine, so long as the revolution is preceded by a word like Reagan or Thatcher. Most revolutions aren't.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at March 28, 2010 06:27 AM