ResPublica’s Director, Philip Blond, has posted an interesting article entitled, ‘Our political bankruptcy demands a renewed political idealism’.
He argues that both the Left and the Right have failed and that, even though they are seemingly opposed, they have produced the same outcome of oligarchy. Both have, he claims presided over rapid and rising inequality and the seizure of wealth and opportunity by those at the very top of society. The figures presented in the article show that he has a point.
The right’s failure lies in its inability to create a mass stakeholder society, and instead monopoly and concentration of wealth are the norm. Free market rhetoric and competition law only hide the barriers to market participation, the reality being the dominance of big business and the crowding out of small businesses. By comparison, the left has permanently separated a group of people from production and ownership through welfare, which he argues creates a situation of permanent dependency that forces ‘supplicants’ (sic) to turn away from society and cuts people off from sociality and enhancing networks. In other words, it demotivates individuals from participating in the market, but the market prevents them from engaging anyway.
He calls for a ‘new political idealism’ that is anti-oligarchical. Here is what he calls for:
"It will craft a new political economy that multiplies ownership and maximises market entry. It will insist on life-long education and it will replace representative with participative democracy. Its means will be human association and its method will be relationship. Its foundation will be trust and its transmission will be fun. Its resources will be global but its response and concretion will be local. It will be the triumph of the micro and the defeat of the macro. It will be the horizontal over the vertical and the mainstreaming of the peer to peer. It will be periphery as the new centre. It will be consumer becoming producer and the client becoming the advocate. It will be ethical trade and moral market. It will be ends not means, and teleology not anarchy. It will be virtue not utility, and it will be hierarchy blended with democracy."
Is it just me, or does this ‘new political idealism’ have more than a smattering of liberalism about it?