Capitalism’s real enemies

7134884983_5301865c77_zMuch of the political commentariat is currently obsessed with the soap opera of the Labour leadership election. The peculiar dynamics of the contest itself are fascinating. It is easy to forget how quickly we’ve moved from the prospect of a continuity Blairite Labour party to a party reshaped in the image of the Corbynistas. The prominence of the language of purge and putsch is remarkable. Commentators seek to frame proceedings in a particularly unfavourable light by seeing unflattering historical resonance with the grisly history of socialism. Beyond the unfolding drama of the process everyone is seeking to grapple with the implications of a Corbyn victory, if such a thing were to occur. Does this signal the rise of unelectable hard-left anticapitalism, as many of the right proclaim – and fervently hope? Or is it a reawakening of a genuinely rejuvenating socialism, as supporters claim?

In this context, Tim Montgomerie’s recent post at the Spectator is intriguing. Montgomerie dismisses much of what is happening as so much sound and fury, signifying nothing. It poses no real threat to the existing social order. The anticapitalist sentiment that has emerged in the wake of the rise of JC emanates from the paper tigers of the hard left.

Montgomerie looks elsewhere for what he sees as the real threat to capitalism. [Read more…]

Co-opting co-operatives to the capitalist cause

Last Thursday David Cameron made his much-discussed speech on ‘moral’ capitalism. Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg also made speeches last week that visited similar territory.

Cameron’s speech was rather short on what he meant by ‘moral’. Or, to put it another way, for him moral capitalism was primarily about ensuring more competition and broader asset ownership than is the case in ‘immoral’ capitalism. It appeared, in fact, rather similar to the capitalism we already have, but tweaked around the edges. The spirit that animates the system does not need to change. There is no need for ethical renewal.

Towards the end of the speech there is a passage which justifies further scrutiny. [Read more…]