Obituary: the Anglo-Saxon Model
The Economist has pronounced the death of the Anglo-Saxons (May 9-15). Against its own warped judgement in favor of said Anglo-Saxons and their economic models, the editors of this respected magazine gauge the death somewhere around April's G-20 Summit, when Nicolas Sarkozy in poor taste gloated about the successes of the French economic system he had earlier sworn to toss for something like London's.
But London, the titular head of the Anglo-Saxons, and Gordon Brown, whose continued existence in high office proves there is no social democracy of any kind in the UK, is in poor shape. The US, London's Poodle Master and, alternately, its student - for, we must respect our former Masters, the British Crown - is in equally bad shape. Alarming shape. Our shape reminds me of Mann's Death in Venice, where the plague rages and the rulers say the frequent interventions are just precautions: keep the faith, keep spending, and ignore the corpses. Or, to employ a better historical metaphor, the Anglo-Saxons have revived the Enclosure Acts and thrown the poor off the land and into the streets to fend for themselves.
And we are not fending too well.
But this being The Economist, it readily admits to still favoring the Anglo-Saxon, neo-liberal model over the French social system, so it won't bury this corpse. It euphemistically says the Anglo-Saxons leave more power in the hands of individuals rather than the state: translated, this means it allows me to screw you over and the government impotent to restrain me, or to help you and your shelter, job, or access to health care.
The headline of the cover article says it all: "A new pecking order: There has been a change in Europe's balance of economic power; but don't expect that to last for long". [italics mine]
The article reads "Thirty years after Thatcherism began to work its cruel magic in Britain, continental Europe still tends to favor a larger state, higher taxes, heavier regulation of product and labor markets, and a more generous social safety-net than freer-market sorts like the Iron Lady would tolerate."
Missing the obvious, the passage ends with "So what is the evidence for the continental model being better?" This sort of question is like asking Los Angelinos to live vicariously through the rich of the Westside and ignore the perils of their own plight. We are asked to willfully dismiss our own experience, which makes this cover story all the more remarkable. Not even The Economist can ignore the damage being done to working people.
The US is in more turbulent times than our venerable corporate papers or our corporate-funded one-ideology, two-winged party system will let on. This crisis began in the late 90's and hit the working class first, but since this class has not been empowered by the Anglo-Saxons, has no newspapers of record, and has no political representation but continue to believe in the Trinity, Crusades, and the Democrats, no one took any notice to the rise in evictions. Not until the earth trembled under white-collar heels did the Chicken Little see the sky darken at the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Like Simon Bolivar in Latin America's war of independence from Spain, these times demand we seize the initiative. I heard an anecdote, perhaps apocryphal, that in those colonial times, a Spanish prelate exhorted the peasants to follow the king and natural order of things, until Bolivar literally clubbed the little man from his pulpit and thereby broke the spell the Mother Church and Natural Order had over the masses. President Barack Obama has shown, at minimum, to be a pragmatist: this means he will not rock the Establishment too hard. Note how he continues to exclude single-payer health care a seat at his round table. He may be sane enough and continental enough to see the value in a French-style health system: he will not spend his political capital to be put through the sausage-maker that mangled Hillary Clinton. We need to break the spell on him today.
Stubbornly, The Economist, essentially a mercantile publication, may not have stood for a colonial king, has nonetheless highlighted the royal crimes. At this point, there is no glossing over a dead body to make it look vital, but this does not deter the editors from clinging to laissez-faire economics. We must seize the initiative and break the spell which keeps so many of us in slumber and from taking control over our political system to serve humanity.
Lowell B. Denny, III
Long Beach, CA USA