Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is the left-right paradigm over?

The well-read blogger Barry Ritholtz seems to think so. His article entitled The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations doesn't, by his own omission, encapsulate a brilliant insight: the central point is kind of obvious, in a way. But he does make a point that's worth remembering, and he puts it well:

"Keynes vs Hayek? Friedman vs Krugman? Those are the wrong intellectual debates. Its you vs. Tony Hayward, BP CEO, You vs. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO. And you are losing . .

TJN has long seen itself as a creature neither of left nor right. Admittedly, our rejection of tax cuts as the solution to all economic ills would, in certain forums, place us to the left of the centre, but we we have supporters in both camps, and -- like the fight against corruption -- our agenda that stands against loopholes and our opposition to mechanisms of escape for one part of a society while leaving everyone else to shoulder the burden fits neither a left-wing nor a right-wing paradigm.

We don't, as it happens, consider ourselves to be against corporations either: we see corporations as having great potential for promoting the public good. What we are against, however, is when corporation (and especially banks) break from the social contract, reaping the benefits of civilised society while casting off (either through escape via secrecy jurisdictions, or via off-balance sheet operations, or otherwise) the costs of paying for the project.

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