Category Archives: capitalism

Neo-liberalism, bête noire of French intellectuals

Dalrymple writes that there are no doubt many things to be said against the economic policies that have been followed (with variations) by all Western countries in the last few decades, for example,

their propensity to produce bubbles with seemingly accelerating frequency — the result of the desire to reconcile spending more than we earn with keeping visible inflation down.

It requires

the issuing of money and debt on the one hand and the outsourcing of production on the other, ordinary goods remaining cheap while asset values increase out of all proportion to their returns.

Dalrymple points out that

one of the greatest spenders of more than it earns is the State for — among other things — the maintenance of the Welfare State.

There is a liberal aspect of this policy, it is true, namely the free movement of capital, but

in its aspect of the public provision of services such as healthcare, pensions, education, etc., it would be as accurate to call it neo-socialist as to call it neo-liberal.

Perhaps the best term, he says, is

neo-corporatist, in so far as it is large corporations and government bureaucracies that most benefit from the policy, a tendency that the shutdown of small businesses during the epidemic can only reinforce.

 

Speaking power to truth

Political correctness is not a neurodegenerative disease, the doctor explains,

but it might as well be, so devastating is its effect on intellection. It appears to be infective, spreading from brain to brain. It is more like a form of chronic mass hysteria.

A little like our economic system, it must be forever expanding to survive.

The capitalist system, Dalrymple reminds us, must

stimulate new desires in consumers and make those desires as quickly as possible seem like needs, without the satisfaction of which life is rendered impossible.

Similarly, political correctness,

to extend its soft-totalitarian hold over the population, must discover new injustices to set right — by a mixture of censorship, language reform, and legal privileges for minorities. The meaning of life for the politically correct is political agitation.

Dalrymple points out that the greater the violation of common sense, the better.

It is like communist propaganda of old: the greater the disparity between the claims of that propaganda and the everyday experience of those at whom it is directed, the greater the humiliation suffered by the latter — especially when they were obliged to repeat it, thus destroying their ability to resist, even in the secret corners of their heart.

That is why the politically correct

insist that everyone use their language: unlike what the Press is supposed to do, the politically correct speak power to truth.

All that is necessary for humbug to triumph is for honest men to say nothing

The politically correct, Dalrymple notes,

never seem to become bored with their thoughts. This leads to a dilemma for those who oppose political correctness, for to be constantly arguing against bores is to become a bore oneself. On the other hand, not to argue against them is to let them win by default. To argue against rubbish is to immerse oneself in rubbish; not to argue against rubbish is to allow it to triumph.

How to run a business

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 19.26.09Dalrymple recalls this scene, of some time past, at his local fishmonger’s:

An old lady, a pensioner, wanted a piece of fish for her dinner. He wrapped it, gave it her, and told her the price. She handed over her purse to him and he, seeing that she had little money, deliberately took far less than the price he had named. “Thank you, madam,” he said on handing back the purse, exactly as if she had been his most valued customer. It was all done with the greatest delicacy, and obviously with a generous heart. His business was a successful one, and its success was a precondition of his being able to act on his generous impulse.