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Millennial Socialism ?

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Interesting Leader from The Economist

Unsurprisingly, they don't think the kidz are all onboard with this one

The resurgent left Millennial socialism
A new kind of left-wing doctrine is emerging. It is not the answer to capitalism’s problems


Feb 14th 2019

[ Reproduced by kind permission Ms Rita Chevrolet pp Lord Gnome]


After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the 20th century’s ideological contest seemed over. Capitalism had won and socialism became a byword for economic failure and political oppression. It limped on in fringe meetings, failing states and the turgid liturgy of the Chinese Communist Party. Today, 30 years on, socialism is back in fashion. In America Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a newly elected congresswoman who calls herself a democratic socialist, has become a sensation even as the growing field of Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 veers left. In Britain Jeremy Corbyn, the hardline leader of the Labour Party, could yet win the keys to 10 Downing Street.

Socialism is storming back because it has formed an incisive critique of what has gone wrong in Western societies. Whereas politicians on the right have all too often given up the battle of ideas and retreated towards chauvinism and nostalgia, the left has focused on inequality, the environment, and how to vest power in citizens rather than elites (see article). Yet, although the reborn left gets some things right, its pessimism about the modern world goes too far. Its policies suffer from naivety about budgets, bureaucracies and businesses.


Socialism’s renewed vitality is remarkable. In the 1990s left-leaning parties shifted to the centre. As leaders of Britain and America, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton claimed to have found a “third way”, an accommodation between state and market. “This is my socialism,” Mr Blair declared in 1994 while abolishing Labour’s commitment to the state ownership of firms. Nobody was fooled, especially not socialists.
The left today sees the third way as a dead end. Many of the new socialists are millennials. Some 51% of Americans aged 18-29 have a positive view of socialism, says Gallup. In the primaries in 2016 more young folk voted for Bernie Sanders than for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined. Almost a third of French voters under 24 in the presidential election in 2017 voted for the hard-left candidate. But millennial socialists do not have to be young. Many of Mr Corbyn’s keenest fans are as old as he is.


Not all millennial socialist goals are especially radical. In America one policy is universal health care, which is normal elsewhere in the rich world, and desirable. Radicals on the left say they want to preserve the advantages of the market economy. And in both Europe and America the left is a broad, fluid coalition, as movements with a ferment of ideas usually are.

Nonetheless there are common themes. The millennial socialists think that inequality has spiralled out of control and that the economy is rigged in favour of vested interests. They believe that the public yearns for income and power to be redistributed by the state to balance the scales. They think that myopia and lobbying have led governments to ignore the increasing likelihood of climate catastrophe. And they believe that the hierarchies which govern society and the economy—regulators, bureaucracies and companies—no longer serve the interests of ordinary folk and must be “democratised”.

Some of this is beyond dispute, including the curse of lobbying and neglect of the environment. Inequality in the West has indeed soared over the past 40 years. In America the average income of the top 1% has risen by 242%, about six times the rise for middle-earners. But the new new left also gets important bits of its diagnosis wrong, and most of its prescriptions, too.
Start with the diagnosis. It is wrong to think that inequality must go on rising inexorably. American income inequality fell between 2005 and 2015, after adjusting for taxes and transfers. Median household income rose by 10% in real terms in the three years to 2017. A common refrain is that jobs are precarious. But in 2017 there were 97 traditional full-time employees for every 100 Americans aged 25-54, compared with only 89 in 2005. The biggest source of precariousness is not a lack of steady jobs but the economic risk of another downturn.


Millennial socialists also misdiagnose public opinion. They are right that people feel they have lost control over their lives and that opportunities have shrivelled. The public also resents inequality. Taxes on the rich are more popular than taxes on everybody. Nonetheless there is not a widespread desire for radical redistribution. Americans’ support for redistribution is no higher than it was in 1990, and the country recently elected a billionaire promising corporate-tax cuts. By some measures Britons are more relaxed about the rich than Americans are.

If the left’s diagnosis is too pessimistic, the real problem lies with its prescriptions, which are profligate and politically dangerous. Take fiscal policy. Some on the left peddle the myth that vast expansions of government services can be paid for primarily by higher taxes on the rich. In reality, as populations age it will be hard to maintain existing services without raising taxes on middle-earners. Ms Ocasio-Cortez has floated a tax rate of 70% on the highest incomes, but one plausible estimate puts the extra revenue at just $12bn, or 0.3% of the total tax take. Some radicals go further, supporting “modern monetary theory” which says that governments can borrow freely to fund new spending while keeping interest rates low. Even if governments have recently been able to borrow more than many policymakers expected, the notion that unlimited borrowing does not eventually catch up with an economy is a form of quackery.
A mistrust of markets leads millennial socialists to the wrong conclusions about the environment, too. They reject revenue-neutral carbon taxes as the single best way to stimulate private-sector innovation and combat climate change. They prefer central planning and massive public spending on green energy.
The millennial socialist vision of a “democratised” economy spreads regulatory power around rather than concentrating it. That holds some appeal to localists like this newspaper, but localism needs transparency and accountability, not the easily manipulated committees favoured by the British left. If England’s water utilities were renationalised as Mr Corbyn intends, they would be unlikely to be shining examples of local democracy. In America, too, local control often leads to capture. Witness the power of licensing boards to lock outsiders out of jobs or of Nimbys to stop housing developments. Bureaucracy at any level provides opportunities for special interests to capture influence. The purest delegation of power is to individuals in a free market.


The urge to democratise extends to business. The millennial left want more workers on boards and, in Labour’s case, to seize shares in companies and hand them to workers. Countries such as Germany have a tradition of employee participation. But the socialists’ urge for greater control of the firm is rooted in a suspicion of the remote forces unleashed by globalisation. Empowering workers to resist change would ossify the economy. Less dynamism is the opposite of what is needed for the revival of economic opportunity.

Rather than shield firms and jobs from change, the state should ensure markets are efficient and that workers, not jobs, are the focus of policy. Rather than obsess about redistribution, governments would do better to reduce rent-seeking, improve education and boost competition. Climate change can be fought with a mix of market instruments and public investment. Millennial socialism has a refreshing willingness to challenge the status quo. But like the socialism of old, it suffers from a faith in the incorruptibility of collective action and an unwarranted suspicion of individual vim. Liberals should oppose it.


By 'eck , I bet that Zanny is a livewire at parties....
 
Just another way for today’s youth to appear different and unusual in order to appear fashionable
 

Dark_Nit

LE
Book Reviewer
Some of the comments are undoubtedly correct and a degree of "socialism" is probably a good thing. Inequality is rampant, the rich can afford a gold plated Bentley whilst the poor have to use food banks.

The Blair / Clinton axis was, however, thinly disguised capitalism at its' worst. In evidence I give you Tone's current property empire. Lobbying by business interests is a vile and underhand means of bribery and corruption disguised as harmless talking.

However, the millenials have forgotten the lessons of the 1970s when the UK was brought it its' knees by a succession of "socialists" (Wilson government, Tony Benn, Arthur Scargill and various other union leaders).
 
I don't know who these millennials are and how you define them. According to certain studies I am one. I was born in 83. Yes, a lot of people of my generation care about the environment. They care about sexual harassment. They care about the crippling student loans. We did after all, go through one of the worst modern time recessions ever. Graduating in '06/'07/'08 was no fun at all. They are not really big into putting money into stocks. They were burned, badly, by the economy. And when you have politicians and baby boomers telling them lies and asking them to do whatever, of course they are going to rebel a bit. That's what happens. It's easy to preach when you're in a position of wealth and power.

A lot of corporate shit from nationalising companies didn't really work out neither back in the U.S. or here. So there are plenty of reasons why people are acting out. I consider myself a centrist, so I support policies from both the right and the left.
 
Inequality is natural, life is, to some extent, a contest. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's nice, but it is what it is.
That, it seems to me, is the fundamental dishonesty of the left - pretending that they can "solve" reality.
Even King Canute wasn't so deluded as to think he really could defy nature.
 
However, the millenials have forgotten the lessons of the 1970s
And therein lies the problem. They haven't forgotten them, they never learnt them, they weren't there (man).
Imagine if we turned off the electricity on them at 6pm every night!
No internet, mobile phones, social media and that's before we get to no heating!
For those of us who do remember meals by candlelight and ice on the inside of your bedroom window it must seem like some kind of fairy tale of just how bad things got when you tell them.

I'd also like to bet that none of them has had much life experience yet, especially when it comes to paying taxes, to have any kind of reasoned opinion of how bad socialism can be.
 
Inequality is natural, life is, to some extent, a contest. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's nice, but it is what it is.
That, it seems to me, is the fundamental dishonesty of the left - pretending that they can "solve" reality.
Even King Canute wasn't so deluded as to think he really could defy nature.

Some people win. Some people lose. That's how it is. I think the fundamental thing behind a lot of the protests is how the system is kind of rigged against people from deprived backgrounds. I was lucky enough to have a decent childhood and managed to get into decent schools etc., though I am a miserable git now because of my own failings.

But there are so many people out there of my age bracket who didn't/ couldn't afford the same sort of lifestyle, up bringing. I never really thought about them either, but over the last few years my own thinking changed. I don't know how it's in the UK, but in the U.S., you really need to have two things to really get on with in your early life: money or smarts (brainy or good at sports). There's almost no half way in between and that's why you have so many people slip through the cracks.

And as baby boomer generation slowly fades away and the "millennials" start taking over (will happen) they want to try and enact and shape policy which will slowly change this imbalance.

There will alway be people who will be destitute and those who will be zillionaires, I don't think that's the main reason behind it.
 
There has somehow been a failure of the education system, especially history I think.
Britain used to remember it's history, in order to learn from it, now all of a sudden we're neck deep in arrogant ignoramii.
 
"I think the fundamental thing behind a lot of the protests is how the system is kind of rigged against people from deprived backgrounds."
Trouble is I don't think a lot of people can distinguish between when a system is rigged, i.e. corrupt, and when some people do better through talent. The SJW types are contributing to the confusion by deliberately muddying the waters here, doing their level best to attribute any body they don't like's success to "privilege".
 
Failure of the education system?

You need an education system in place for it to fail.

All we have is a crappy system fhecked around by moronic political types and "teachers" with a very strong left wing pov.

Bring back the jesuits.
 
D

Deleted 24582

Guest
I don't know who these millennials are and how you define them. According to certain studies I am one. I was born in 83. Yes, a lot of people of my generation care about the environment. They care about sexual harassment. They care about the crippling student loans. We did after all, go through one of the worst modern time recessions ever. Graduating in '06/'07/'08 was no fun at all. They are not really big into putting money into stocks. They were burned, badly, by the economy. And when you have politicians and baby boomers telling them lies and asking them to do whatever, of course they are going to rebel a bit. That's what happens. It's easy to preach when you're in a position of wealth and power.

A lot of corporate shit from nationalising companies didn't really work out neither back in the U.S. or here. So there are plenty of reasons why people are acting out. I consider myself a centrist, so I support policies from both the right and the left.


We are Xennials.


Are you a xennial? Take the quiz

We had a bit of a different upbringing from the current crop of youf.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Speaking as a lifelong Conservative.

The current generation are told that the only way up is a good degree. That may or may not be right, I don't think it is, but they get charged through the nose for it anyway and the debt starts there. If I wanted to buy my house from scratch now, I couldn't afford it, despite being on over ten times the national average wage.

The message being sent from the Left is that something's gone wrong and, from the perspective of those on the receiving end (and not just their perspective), it has. As someone who once stood in a very modest show house with their partner, thinking "how will I ever afford it?", I understand exactly where the anger's coming from and why that message appeals.

If you want people to share your dream, you've got to let them be part of it.
 
Inequality in the West has indeed soared over the past 40 years.
This sort of journalism gives me the gyp. I saw some other enthusiast the other day declaring that while the rich have indeed become richer, the poorest have become very much less poor. Depending on the prejudices and statistics hoiked in from whichever statistician agrees with your thesis, you can write a 'groundbreaking' article supporting your claims. However, there's absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that any standard from fifty years ago is far higher now, except in the war zones and one-party states around the world. Certainly, I can claim to have lived in a house with no electricity, while my father served in the Colonial Service, but I'm up with LED now.

Edit: @Goatman didn't say that; his 'Economist' source did. And I've added a boldness to the 'service' bit, since 1950s values are under attack at the moment.
 
D

Deleted 24582

Guest
Speaking as a lifelong Conservative.

The current generation are told that the only way up is a good degree. That may or may not be right, I don't think it is, but they get charged through the nose for it anyway and the debt starts there. If I wanted to buy my house from scratch now, I couldn't afford it, despite being on over ten times the national average wage.

The message being sent is that something's gone wrong and, from their perspective (and not just their perspective), it has. As someone who once stood in a very modest show house with their partner, thinking "how will I ever afford it?", I understand exactly where the anger's coming from and why that message appeals.

If you want people to share your dream, you've got to let them be part of it.

The problem is that many of the degree programs offered at Uni are absolute ******* garbage. Some trades are going to make more money than others. Being a plumber/nurse/electrician is going to pay more than somebody with a women's study degree.

The other problem is that we are a society of instant gratification, everybody wants their cut now. Having to save and wait sucks.
 
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"I think the fundamental thing behind a lot of the protests is how the system is kind of rigged against people from deprived backgrounds."
Trouble is I don't think a lot of people can distinguish between when a system is rigged, i.e. corrupt, and when some people do better through talent. The SJW types are contributing to the confusion by deliberately muddying the waters here, doing their level best to attribute any body they don't like's success to "privilege".

And I completely agree. Unfortunately, a lot of the current failings stem back to the mid 'oughties when a lot of the current generation really started to come into reality, out of schools, colleges whatever and finding out "shit, there are no jobs!" and having to pay a shit ton of student loans. Quite a lot of the bitterness stems from that. And then having to take on crappy jobs. I lucked out when I graduated in '07/08 by the firm I was doing an internship offering me a full-time job. That literally was luck, nothing more. A lot of my compatriots weren't so lucky. I knew super intelligent people (way more than me) - from a top 10 school in the U.S like mine - who went to sell things like cell phones in shopping malls at a stand. They are doing better now but that embittered them quite a bit.

Their take on things was - why are we being screwed because of stupid mistakes done by our predecessors. Hard to take that feeling away. The recession of 2006 to 2009 changed an entire generation whether you like it or not. It also taught a lot more people about having a decent social net and not everyone can be fortunate all the time. And all the bloody corporate scandals afterwards didn't help either.

And people currently in power shouldn't be surprised.
 
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