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Posts Tagged ‘Contemporary Capitalism’

The Beginning of the End of ‘the Global Kingdom’

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, March 9th 2013

This week something momentous happened for the future of the Britain, its economy and politics, for Europe, and our relationship with the continent.

The European Union proposed and agreed a curb on bankers bonuses, over-riding the predictable opposition of the UK Government and George Osborne.

The EU proposals supported by the European Commission, European Central Bank, and 26 out of 27 EU members, will put a ceiling on banker bonuses of one year’s salary, or two years if approved by a large majority of shareholders.

There was the usual outcries from the British Bankers Association, CBI and others: people who go by the description, ‘the business community’, but are actually corporate lobbyists for the big firms, which is not the same thing, looking to maintain the same market dominance for their members. Read the rest of this entry »

What do we do with lives and dreams after shopping?

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, January 19th 2012

Another tottering titan fell this week with HMV going into administration. It is the latest in a long line of retail closures: Jessops, Blockbusters, Comet, JJB Sports.

This is part of a powerful challenge to the high street, to Britain’s sense of itself and its town centres, and in the case of HMV, the music industry, coming after the closure of Virgin, Zavvi and Tower Records.

These stories are usually imbued with a golden sense of nostalgia, people fondly remembering their youth and some key Woolworths purchase, and thinking the country is going to the dogs! Rarely are more complex feelings allowed to emerge, about what we do with town centres, the nature of retail, and the power of consumerism in our lifestyles and in how we make sense of our lives and pasts. Read the rest of this entry »

There is a long story to the crisis we are in

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, July 14th 2012

As the economic, social and political turmoil mounts across Britain, Europe and the West, some voices of certainty have arisen.

One of the most vocal strands of opinion concerns who to blame for the wreckage and debris we see before us, with some wanting to lay the responsibility solely on the shoulders of Thatcherism, ‘the Big Bang’ and 1980s.

It is very simple and easy to understand; the human need to rewrite history as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The 1980s as the epitome of everything that is wrong and has gone wrong is a powerful current in modern Britain.

This view stresses the politics of individualism of that decade, deregulation and privatisation. This, it is argued, created a climate which led to the present malaise: from Harry Enfield’s ‘Loadsamoney’ to today’s villains, Fred Goodwin and Bob Diamond. Read the rest of this entry »

The New Flat Earthers: Barbarism Begins at Home

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, May 26th 2012

Once upon a time the world was filled with earnest left-wing revolutionaries confident that they were the future.

They inhabited places like the Sorbonne, Berkeley and LSE campuses and thought they spoke for all humanity leading to a whole generation being caricatured as ‘Private Eye’ character ‘Dave Spart’, ‘television sit-com Citizen Smith’ and the propensity for endless ideological schisms seen in Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’.

All these stereotypes are now many decades old but they still carry some currency because they hit a truth; most left-wingers if they are honest will recognise their inner ‘Dave Spart’.

This is despite the fact that the left has been in retreat for the last 30 years, and that the equivalent Dave Sparts of today are the dogmatic, fanatical, humourless zealots of the free market. It is they who have tried to change human beings, behaviour and relationships to suit their simplistic theories. Read the rest of this entry »

Why a Left Revival Won’t Happen and What Do We Do About It?

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, August 20th 2011

The state of Scotland, the UK and the global economy rightly demands that we engage in radical, far-reaching thinking.

To some this is the ideal opportunity for a revival of the left and challenging the conventional group think of the last few decades.

Most of us recognise that Scotland and the wider world are not happy places. The scale of inequality, exclusion and relative poverty in our own homeland, let alone the globe should shock. The recent figures of the Scottish Household Survey (SHS) showing that 52% of Scots have a household income of under £20,000 are a reminder of the limited lives of many.

The old story of the remorseless march of progress and the belief that tomorrow would turn out not just more wealthy, but fairer, more enlightened and benign, has turned out a mirage. Economists and politicians still talk about economic growth as a panacea, but it is no longer related to most of the population; over the last 30 years in the UK and US the top 1% have taken a disproportionate share of growth, while the middle and poor have fallen behind. Read the rest of this entry »

The People’s Flag and the Union Jack: An Alternative History of Britain and the Labour Party
Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. more >
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