Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Class war in the Enriched World: alive and well in 2013

Yesterday when visiting my half-sister, I watched on a brief spurt of ABC news (after the first half of the 1996 Semi-Final between Brisbane and Carlton) a number of contrasting reactions to the death of Margaret Thatcher, from entirely typical praises from politicians to unions who had suffered at her hands condemning everything she stood for. Some of these unions partied, to the point of handing out “death cake” and calling Thatcher a “bitch” or “witch”.

Popular opinion seems to hold that the days of class war in the Enriched World are largely over – and conservative opinion from people like the Mises Institute tend to think that the working masses were never the people who drove the growth of what they call “socialism” or “big government”. Instead, the radical Austrians believe that big government and the large deficits that in the Enriched World are an inherent cost thereof were produced entirely by academic communities.

The occurrence of these parties at Thatcher’s death suggests that in fact class war was prominent and remains alive in the Enriched World. The only difference seems to be that the ruling classes are less ecstatic about the conservatives they support. The fact that Thatcher’s supporters can proclaim in a sentimental manner how:
“Parties rejoicing at the death of Margaret Thatcher are a tribute to her, a close friend said – because it shows she won.”
is proof how the ruling classes of Britain really do not know how to counter the problems of government debt and economic decline. They cannot do anything to lower relative prices – the sole route to long-term competitiveness in lands where orogeny and glaciation have wiped out key industrial resources like bauxite, manganese and iron ore – but their knowledge of how finances work means they cannot simply impose the income caps and nationalisation that Enriched World masses still demonstrably want. The Australian here possesses somewhat similar flaws, not recognising that letting the people make decisions meant they would choose to try to take from whom they saw as rich.

In fact, there is no way Thatcher’s plans of limited government have had any influence on the larger culture of the Enriched World. The militantly atheistic nihilism of AC/DC and the Sex Pistols must rank as far more influential among those who grew up in Thatcherite Britain than the ideals of a ruling class in some ways clinging to past glories. So does the radical egalitarianism of libertine academics who established their positions during Thatcher’s reign.

What we need to recognise is that in the Enriched World, class war became a natural consequence of the “industrial reversal” which turned the pre-industrial societies “haves” into the ultimate “have-nots” devoid of substantial mineral resources and no longer having the unique advantage of its young and fertile soils. Pre-industrial Europe, Asia and the Americas may have had very strong class divisions, but their effects were nothing like what they are when a doubly-deprived working class evolves.

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