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Social democracy and late capitalist societies… April 17, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting Prospect podcast recently on ‘The End for Labour?’. In it one contributor made the following point in answer to a question as to whether Pilketty’s book had had an influence in providing a possible solution for social democrat parties away from what seems like inexorable decline. The answer was that no it hadn’t, at least not beyond a limited circle of readers.

I think the wider electorate still has a strong sense of fairness and fair dealing and what they’re due but I don’t think it’s made people turn in the direction of social democrat parties. Which I find very puzzling because like you I find social democracy to be still quite as relevant for late capitalist societies as it has always been.

And in relation to Corbyn the contributor still found this puzzling suggesting that his views (Corbyn’s) in relation to the EU, foreign affairs, etc, were probably somewhat closer to ‘the people who have left the LP’ over those issues than any leader before him and yet he’s still not regarded with any respect. Of course one could introduce a massive caveat here which is that the UKIP level of support while not derisory is still pretty minor. And then the panel had to note the impact of the loss of Scotland. I cannot stop thinking that the loss of LP support in Scotland has been utterly under and unconsidered by those on the left. I suspect it may be the key factor in regard to a large range of areas in the future in terms of the development of the UK and so on.



1. CL - April 17, 2017

“Late” capitalism has been around for quite awhile

‘The term “late capitalism” was first used by Werner Sombart in his 1902 magnum opus Der Moderne Kapitalismus; Sombart distinguished between early capitalism, the heyday of capitalism and late capitalism. The term began to be used by socialists in Europe towards the end of the 1930s and in the 1940s, when many economists believed capitalism was doomed.’

Maybe we should use the term ‘capitalism’?

“French economist and best-selling author Thomas Piketty is to join the team of left-wing candidate Benoit Hamon in the run-up to France’s presidential election.”

“French economist Thomas Piketty has said he would back leftist presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon if his chosen candidate does not make the second round of the country’s elections, which begin on April 23.
Piketty supports the more mainstream left-winger Benoît Hamon, candidate for the Socialist Party. But with Hamon trailing in the polls, Piketty said he would prefer to vote for the radical independent Mélenchon rather than the centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the election’s second round, Le Monde reported.”


WorldbyStorm - April 17, 2017

Capitalism yes. But I do think that there are phases to capitalism, that it’s quite mutable in some respects and that probably needs parsing out descriptively – though I do take your point and I’d think ‘late’ could be superseded by a different term.


6to5against - April 17, 2017

Perhaps ‘reborn’ would be better than ‘late’?

I’m just finishing Piketty’s book, and it seems to me that capitalism is in fine fettle. The return on capital is as good as its ever been,and for the first time in generations is far more lucrative than wage growth. I think the figures are in the ball park of 4-5%, as opposed to 1%.

And if I’ve understood him right, it is now again close to impossible for most of us working for a living to gain anything like the wealth in our lifetimes that a small number will inherit. This wasn’t true for the last 80 years. The only loss that the truly wealthy must suffer as opposed to their equivalents over a century ago is that now many have to wait into their 50s to inherit their full wealth. Because their parents aren’t only super-wealthy, but also super-healthy.

I thought in 2008 that surely we would now turn away from neo-liberalism and back towards something approaching egalitarianism. But that hasn’t happened, and following Trump and Brexit, why should we believe it will?


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