Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Britain's Winter of Discontent Was Not In Isolation

Earlier this week, I brought up the Winter of Discontent that shook England. It was not just England. It was not just their specific problems. US-NATO system that was cracking up. The problem of that winter started way back in the late '60s/early '70s as the Bretton Woods system broke down. The closing of the gold window was the detonation moment. Our elites really did worry that everything would unravel. What would unravel was the social calm that was created by the post-War welfare states. During the '70s, it took the petrodollar, bringing back usury, and Volcker taking a hammer to interest rates (after repeal of anti-usury laws) to kill off inflation worries to make it all work. America (and England) also had to switch from a productive economy to a FIRE economy.

1. The Brits had the post-war welfare state that worked for roughly thirty years.
2. The Swedes had a roughly 30 year period where they created their lavish welfare state known as the Record Years.
3. The French had the 30 glorious years after WW2 where they built up a rich welfare state.

These all changed in the tumultuous economic period of '68-'82. Wikipedia and other sources rarely delve into the problem being the shift of the swing oil producer going from Texas to Saudi Arabia, decolonization and nationalization of oil wells, the terrible Bretton Woods set up. The paranoia of everything falling apart with worthless money even made it to the silver screen with Rollover (one of Pakula's conspiracy thrillers). England had the wonderful title and crisis with the Winter of Discontent, but they were not alone. The FIRE economy, declining interest rates, asset bubbles and never-ending immigration to suppress wages and provide new consumers all are tied together and all keep the facade going.

I'm not going into detail because if I ever get my damn Rubin book done, I'll explain more there.

4 comments:

peterike said...

Indeed, the "swing" period, when power went from industrially-based WASP manufacturing and extraction wealth, to finance-based Jewish wealth. They already had news and entertainment pretty much wrapped up, they just needed the WASPs to self-destruct and for the real money to move into finance. Then it was shove the social engineering down America's throat for a few decades, always pushing the bar further, and then done! A nation that only wealthy rootless cosmopolitans can like, and a nation with wealth and attractive lifestyles ever more focused on a few key urban centers. The rest can burn. And it is.

Anonymous said...

Having lived through the Winter Of Discontent what was remarkable was not that things were unravelling, but who was doing the unravelling.

The Trade Unions in Britain had grown to such an extent that they could airily dismiss the whole principle of society, responsibility and reasonable governance. If you want more money, then don't bother burying the dead was their message.

It was also marked the death throes of old Labour, traditionally with its reliance on the working class for support and a reason to exist. Thatcher came in and changed lot, but when the Tories ran out of steam it was Tony Blair's turn, and he (despite his title as Labour PM) fought to keep the old disruptive Labour down.

To an extent he succeeded though he had to give way to a Scottish socialist whose grasp of economics was as shaky as that of the old order. As a consequence the old 'Smash It Up' ways of the Communist-inspired Trade Unions -- who incidentally were never a fan of Solidarity in Poland -- is now creeping back.

nikcrit said...

I hate the fact that I often feel like the proverbial 'kid at the grown-ups dinner table" when it comes to more nuanced economic-policy discussion. I really don't know what combination of private-and-public-influenced economic system is ideal; or if certain systems work best with certain populations, etc.
Basically, I did what a lot of kids who were humanities majors and good universities did: piggybacked advice and investment off our economics and MBA-student friends; my early professional income savings and investments, coinciding with the early-to-mid-'90s IT boom, is largely responsible for why I can indulge the mid-to-upper five-figure salary job I currently do, though its luster is surely diminishing these last couple of years, lolzz.

Anyhow, SOBL, et.al, I'm very welcoming to any recommendations on good yet pithy and layman's-accessible economic book or tracts that lays it down clearly and sweetly. I somewhat oddly find myself a pat buchannon-ite in terms of economic policy and beliefs: anti-GATT, NAFTA and revised WTO charter; pro-union; protectionist and anti-outsourcing.
I still say, odd as he was, the most prescient politician when it comes to economic forecasting, was Ross Perot, who back in '91-'92 was laughed at for predicting that 'giant sucking sound of jobs going overseas,' which now, of course, has just about sucked us dry.

Toddy Cat said...

The world actually collapsed sometime between 1968 and 1976, but, like the guy who has had his head cut off, but hasn't tried to turn his head, we haven't noticed it yet. We will...