Thinking way back to 2016, on the eve of the fateful EU referendum, I remember talking to a friend about how they were going to vote. He was (and still is) of a different political persuasion than I am and so I wasn’t too surprised that he intended to vote for, what turned out to be, the winning option. I asked him why and he explained that he felt that this country was languishing economically and needed a jolt to wake itself up. Coming out of the EU, to him, would be just the kick up the backside we need, opening new opportunities and freeing us from some of the shackles that have becalmed us as a nation.
Well, it’s certainly been a jolt but as far as I can see has had no benefit to the country so far. If anything the country as a whole is more entrenched than six years ago.
I didn’t realise at the time however, that this was my first taste of so-called disaster capitalism. Whether he meant it to be that way is open to interpretation. Of course the concept is something that has been around for some time. Neoliberalism came alive during the Thatcher/Reagan years when shocks to nation state economies were used to shake them from their economic doldrums. On the face of such changes many countries became converts to the capitalist religion, with many people becoming extremely rich yet this was always at the cost of misery for many more people. Think Chile, Iraq or the Soviet Union.
‘Isms’ kill many people and capitalism is no exception.
As if one shock wasn’t enough to the UK, here we are again with last week’s mini budget calamity. Kwarteng claims that it is all part of the plan yet his decisions are causing worry to millions of people. Mortgage rates are likely to soar, the drop in the pound will lead to higher inflation, energy bills are cripplingly high and the Bank of England has had to step in to ensure pension pots don’t go bust.
Disaster capitalism only works for the few and causes misery and uncertainty for the majority. The Brexit shock hasn’t worked and neither will this latest attempt.
Disaster capitalism is a disaster. Period!