WHY would a British Tory government destroy capitalism? Why, indeed? After all, the party has always promoted free markets and private investment – not that long ago exhorting us all to take out Self-Invested Personal Pensions, thus exposing millions to the vagaries of capitalism.
One could even believe, now that stock markets have been slowly recovering since falling off a cliff in March 2020, that the economy will bounce back.
And yet, the strategy currently pursued by this government is akin to the enforced removal of the peasant kulaks in Soviet Russia in the 1930s – when many died of starvation – and may yet result in an outcome just as dire.
For a start, we delude ourselves if we place our faith in market indices as an indicator that all is well with capitalism. What we are witnessing is the increasing divide between, as the Americans say, ‘Wall Street and Main Street’.
The UK government has quite arbitrarily made little effort to protect non-essential and non-digital businesses from its Covid strategies. If you have a bricks and mortar business with no online presence, or are in hospitality or entertainment, forget it. The High Street continues to die, compounded by last-minute changes of strategy.
Anyone who knows anything about business knows that the most profitable time of year is the run-up to Christmas. Thus the cruel decision to deny the South East a more social Christmas at such short notice was a classic psychological torture tactic: Promising privileges which are then removed at the last minute without good reason. And for business, where is the compensation for all that unsold stock?
Of course, there is the now all too familiar pretext of fighting a virus and the ‘surprising’ discovery that it has mutated. On this basis, it would appear that a warp-speed experimental vaccine becomes a form of ‘paying the Danegeld’, because the virus never actually goes away.
There is no exit strategy – unless and until perhaps we morph into a Western version of China, complete with facial recognition and social credit scores? By which time the technology will be in place to monitor us all as individual biohazards and consumers of carbon.
Our loss of freedom will have sealed the fate of capitalism too. We can only wonder if the reason the Government has abandoned the High Street is because it has no place in the future that the Government has signed us up for as part of the World Economic Forum’s global ‘Great Reset’.
This form of globalism is about more than free trade. The term ‘technocracy’ is ultimately concerned with social engineering through the use of technology, an ambitious plan to change us all at a global scale.
While in some ways this future scenario could be described as ‘socialism’, it is more like fascism. The close relationship between mega-corporations and the state endures, reflected in private-public partnerships and stakeholder arrangements.
The ordinary individual counts for little. This is not a future in which small-scale businesses are encouraged to survive, as the flows of centripetal capital in the direction of the mega-corporations emphasise.
By October 2020, six million UK small businesses employing 16million had found themselves in a ‘precarious position’. As ‘Main Street’ diminishes, and the gap between rich and poor grows, the oligarchs continue to hoover up excess resources.
Back in the 1930s Russian kulaks, the peasant farmers who owned a few acres, were viewed in the same way as non-digital companies are today, as obstacles to modernisation.
The kulaks were in the way of the collectivisation of farms. But, because those who were left to run the collective farms didn’t actually know how to produce food, the killing and deportation of hundreds of thousands of peasant farmers had the effect of removing a layer of knowledge and entrepreneurialism that resulted in many dying of starvation.
While no one is suggesting that the death of the High Street will result in mass starvation in the UK, what skills and ideas will we lose as we migrate to life online? To what end will the misery and deprivation in the UK only grow, as more become useless eaters forced to live on Universal Basic Income?
Capitalism cannot thrive without the smaller business, the engine house of growth. Live interaction between people is also essential to the sparking of ideas that help companies flourish. Zoom sessions are not a substitute for chance encounters in physical space. Just as companies risk a loss of creativity, younger people also lose that first stepping stone access to the job market by working in bars and cafes.
People need people: They need the spontaneity that arises from being with each other. Otherwise everything is structured, formal, pre-arranged. Zero pleasure.
If the reason for shrinking the economy really were to save the NHS, then some have argued that keeping the economy going would have more than compensated for the extra costs of expanding the NHS to cope.
We could also have had an adult conversation about what kind of risks that either we or our elderly relatives were willing to take, instead of locking up people against their will. After all, what are these elderly hostages being kept safe for if they spend the rest of their days isolated from kith and kin? (Same mad logic as the police hurting people in order to stop them harming themselves by gathering to protest during a virus pandemic..?)
As it is, we now have empty and demolished Nightingale hospitals, a smaller economy and increased debt, as well as wounds that will take years to heal.
But if the motive for the scorched earth approach to destroying physical businesses were actually to pave the way for the technocratic New Age, then the Government should tell us. Not least because sacrificing us, the general population, in order to save the NHS is not the deal. We the people fund the NHS so that it will save us, not the other way around.
The NHS was set up in 1947 as a national health service, available to all. Even the push for telemedicine is bogus. No amount of high-speed internet gets the ambulance there any quicker and no time is saved if remote diagnostics still reveal the need for the ambulance anyway. Paramedics on the spot, in person, are critical to saving lives.
What this government has not understood is that technology is a parasite. Data is just another form of infrastructure, another means to an end. It still requires a host to feed off: ie, the underlying processes that occur in the real world.
At best, the relationship is symbiotic. We can all benefit from certain technological advances. At worst, if we the people have no control over how this parasite takes over our lives, then we become its victims, especially if it proves unreliable. For example, the SolarWinds hack. Even Google had an outage in December 2020, off-line for nearly an hour.
We are already vulnerable to commercial manipulation of our data – what Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff calls ‘surveillance capitalism’, which she regards as ‘an assault on our human autonomy’.
The Faustian pact with commercial companies is, however, only marginally more acceptable than having our data used and abused by government.
In theory, we still have access to the ‘unsubscribe’ button when buying something online. But we are not asked for our consent when Big Government arrogates to itself the right to invade our privacy; a right from which there would be no escape with digital currency as every pound spent is tracked.
Almost worse is the belief of unelected international institutions that they also have this same right. One of the more dystopian stories to emerge recently is the International Monetary Fund’s interest in using browsing history to determine an individual’s credit status.
What is particularly objectionable is that this shift to totalitarianism is being done in the name of ‘science’. It is now becoming increasingly clear is that there is ‘real world science’ and there is ‘government science’. In real world science, there is no consensus and, at some fundamental level, only probabilities.
But government demands ‘facts’ – to the extent that even dodgy models are presented as ‘fact’. Government ministers tell constituents that they will listen to ‘legitimate concerns’ and then defines what is ‘legitimate’.
Any rational discourse based on real world science is therefore no longer possible: We face a future of being ruled by technocratic tyrants whose main use of science is as a tool of propaganda.
This scientific hubris could easily be leading us in entirely the wrong direction. We are supposed to accept without question all official pronouncements on managing a virus, without discussion of alternative strategies or treatments.
The cure has thus been far worse than the disease, with confidence in ‘science’ as one casualty. Even the British Medical Journal has begun to complain about the politicisation of medicine.
And if the Government is not willing to engage in debate about how to deal with viruses, what else might it have got wrong? A lot depends on carbon being the culprit for the Green New Deal to work.
But what if carbon isn’t the driver of climate change? Some are saying that debate is being so heavily censored and restricted because those in power think that they own the future. We need to prove them wrong.
We need to restore freedom and democracy in order to get the economy back on its feet. Capitalism cannot be allowed to die, because it is only through free markets that human ingenuity is released and that we can genuinely build back our society.
But first, we need Conservatives to recognise the threat that technocracy poses to capitalism and to a free society, and insist on a change in direction before the damage gets any worse.
We must not make the mistake of the 1930s and ‘murder’ our own entrepreneurial kulaks. Only with freedom can we build back at all, never mind about ‘better’.