Thursday, December 13, 2007

The end of the world came thirty years earlier in England

I'm being melodramatic, and there's always the risk of talking about things that you haven't had direct experience of, but I see a parallel between the period we seem to be in and the UK at the end of the '70s. My understanding of that time is that it was the start of the UK's industrial decline, with rising unemployment and a government dedicated to the dismantling of the positive aspects of the welfare state that had been created up to that point. Margaret Thatcher seems to have been perceived differently than Ronald Reagan, who always this myth of ushering in a new "Morning in America" after the bad bad social strife of the '60s and '70s. Idiots who still admire the alzheimer ridden puppet cite his idealism as a reason. Margaret Thatcher on the other hand established the acronym of "TINA", "There is no alternative", describing the neoliberal policies she imposed on the UK. There wasn't any alternative supposedly because the welfare state itself as well as nationalized industries like coal had lead to the decline in British industry. Reagan, on the other hand, blamed the Japanese and liberals, and tried to woo union members over to his side.

But there isn't any sort of idealism in the U.S. regarding what the Bush administration is doing. No one except blood thirsty conservatives really praises what's going on, most people who support Bush's policies seem to believe that the necessity of all of it has been imposed on us by dark, mysterious, forces. Who have brown skin. Really, the bullshit of the "gravitas" is astounding. No matter how gravely they approach it though, there isn't any sort of vision, and the sense of a beginning of the end hangs over everything.

That might actually be the case. The late seventies saw the final act in the reduction of Britain's status from world power to regional power, and the present years are seeing the beginning of the same process for the U.S.

Which means that there's not going to be much to look forward to in the next years. Unemployment and loss of jobs will be accelerated by the rising regional powers of currently developing nations, which will no doubt leave people wondering why in the world we let all those jobs go away via globalization before our economy was even challenged by serious competitors.

So maybe the "No future" crowd is right. Maybe the proponents of a picture of the world as a burned out industrial husk will prove to have been not that far off. In which case the thing to do is a lot of fucking, because there, well just because. Because I don't know how to end the article with a snappy and foreboding sentence.

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