Posts Tagged ‘Will Hutton’
August 22nd, 2010 at 2:57 pm
Baby Boomerism, Reexamined

In a fascinating article published in today’s Guardian (UK), British newsman Will Hutton gives an eyewitness account of how the free love socialism of the 1960s ultimately led to the unfettering of the Western financial industry.  Faced with the decision of managing capitalism or destroying its constraints, Baby Boomers chose chaos over order.

It was an inevitable victory, but it meant that the movements of the 1960s no longer had a political champion for industrial and economic change from below. The liberalism of the great social movements would transmute into economic liberalism – and when Labour lost the 1992 general election the rout was complete. Capitalism had lost every check and balance. There was no Labour movement and no idea of socialism. There was no political party committed to reforming capitalism. There was not even the cultural acceptance of restraint, the need for rules and proportion. (Emphasis mine)

The result has not been pretty.  Short-sighted policies in the housing and derivatives markets fueled the excessive tendencies of an entire generation.  The spike in paper wealth ushered in the kind of largesse only a self-defining rich nation thinks it can afford: lavish public pensions; diversity czars; a McMansion for every college graduate.

Though he ends his article with the wistful hope of a purer form of new socialism, Hutton strikes upon the deeper current driving the waves of voter discontent in the Western world.  The collapse of the economic order was the tipping point that made people aware of how much the rise in wealth over the last twenty years papered over the decline of Western culture.  No nation is immune.  After two decades of enjoying money for nothing, citizens of the West are finding that what they really have is nothing to show for all their money.