I had not thought about some of the forces at play with Brexit. It just seemed a stupid thing for the UK to be doing from my computer screen.
The article below raised some things which I had not considered. I think too often we focus on all capitalism being the same, but it’s not.
I really like, and feel part of, being supportive of “housetrained capitalism”. However, many of those who are leading the internet revolution are warlords, devoid of most endearing attributes. It sticks in my craw when I think Peter Thiel is a New Zealand citizen. How did that happen…..
So, it is worth repeating the big question: why are we doing this to ourselves? I believe the answer is that Brexit is the outcome of a civil war within capitalism.
Broadly speaking, there are two dominant forms of capitalist enterprise. The first could be described as housetrained capitalism. It seeks an accommodation with the administrative state, and benefits from stability, predictability and the regulations that exclude dirtier and rougher competitors. It can coexist with a tame and feeble form of democracy.
The second could be described as warlord capitalism. This sees all restraints on accumulation – including taxes, regulations and the public ownership of essential services – as illegitimate. Nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of profit-making. Its justifying ideology was formulated by Friedrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty and by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged. These books sweep away social complexity and other people’s interests. They fetishise something they call “liberty”, which turns out to mean total freedom for plutocrats, at society’s expense.
In unguarded moments, the warlords and their supporters go all the way. Hayek, for example, on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile, said he preferred a “liberal dictatorship” to “a democratic government devoid of liberalism”. Peter Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal and Palantir, confessed: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” Last month, Mike Lee, senior Republican senator for Utah, claimed that “democracy isn’t the objective” of the US political system, “liberty, peace, and prosperity are”.