Moon of Alabama – April 4, 2020
On the same day the British Labour party announced the election of a center-rightt new party leader to replace the much denigrated socialist Jeremy Corbyn, the Financial Times(!) calls for the socialist policies Corbyn had planned to implement.
From today’s FT editorial headlined:
If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that it has injected a sense of togetherness into polarised societies. But the virus, and the economic lockdowns needed to combat it, also shine a glaring light on existing inequalities — and even create new ones. Beyond defeating the disease, the great test all countries will soon face is whether current feelings of common purpose will shape society after the crisis. As western leaders learnt in the Great Depression, and after the second world war, to demand collective sacrifice you must offer a social contract that benefits everyone.
Radical reforms – reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades – will need to put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.
Amen to that.
There was a time when I regularly bought the FT weekend edition to read the economic discussions in it. The weekend edition also has a section that is titled “How to spend it”. The newest luxury cars are tested and the greatest estates are discussed in it. I never had a craving to buy any of the things that section promoted. I thought that the snobbish section title was probably meant to be ironic.
Now the FT has finally found the right content for that section.
This editorial is a sea change. We will quite soon experience more of it.