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September 17, 2015


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Benjamin F

To be fair it doesn't take much to drive Simon Heffer to apoplexy. But there is a delicious irony in a writer for 'The Telegraph' complaining that the economically powerful make rules and use their influence to further their self-interest at the expense of the already disadvantaged and benign social practices. On this occasion I agree with him, but this is not standard line for 'The Telegraph'. I wonder if Heffer will apply this analysis to the Barclay brothers. Maybe then, Heffer will follow Peter Oborne out the door.

Dr Paul Stott

Ben - I think I am now going to see the Death of a A Gentleman next week, so may still get to have my say.

Simon Heffer's article shows one of the classic paradoxes for conservatives - that the dynamism of the market ends up undermining or destroying established practices, and the values those practices sustain. In this case, test cricket. How often have we seen this played out in football in recent decades?

There is also a particular background within world cricket which has allowed Australia/England/India to act in this way - the fading of the game in the West Indies, and the inability of Pakistan to host many matches due to its problems with terrorism. Two of the historically leading nations in the game have been incommunicado.

Benjamin F.

Aye, it is only a paradox for contemporary conservatives (neo-cons) - older ones preferred the *stability* of the feudal system (for instance Roger Scruton's lament for the lost virtues of the rural aristocracy). Markets are, in one sense, socially stable in that in the main, established hierarchies of wealth persist through protection of inherited property. However capitalism does lead to the degradation of important social norms, relationships and practices as the pursuit for profit extends. Neo-cons recognise this. One way, domestically, to limit this undesirable instability is to attempt to export shocks to the system; a form of Empire. So toxic environmental waste gets shipped out to the land of imperial subjects, the cost of bad debts get pushed on to marginal economies... This leads to instability aboard, but that, in theory, leaves these competing nations weaker and thus further enhances security at home. But, as we are seeing, this neo-con plan does not work out. Instability abroad leads to migration, state failure and development of rival hierarchies.

Fuck it, I hate capitalism - and love test cricket. I hope the film gets onto DVD soon so I can watch it. I look forward to your review.

Dr Paul Stott

Ben - I am not sure the bad debts are always shipped out - the 2008 crisis saw those bad debts being taken on board by the taxpayer in the US and UK. The rules of capitalism were seen not to apply to institutions such as the Royal Bank of Scotland or General Motors - the shock of that will reverberate for a long time yet.

The problem with seeing capitalism as the sole (or perhaps even predominant) cause of instability in marginal economies is that it risks playing down indigenous factors. I do not believe any economic system could address the frightening demographic shifts in the Middle East, Africa pr parts of Asia - its no coincidence the countries that have perhaps coped better with such shifts, India and China, have major economies. And both have tried to control their population growth.
As well as population increases in excess of resources, we have the conflict between authoritarian nationalism and Islamism. In some countries I would argue Islamism has frequently been a cause of, not a response to instability.

Was or is there a neo-Con plan? As we saw with the invasion of Iraq, there were broad brush strokes, but little more detailed than hoping it would all work out for the best if you overthrew Saddam. I also think there is a danger in talking *now* in terms like 'imperial' of the relationship between western powers and marginal economies. Companies may still be exploitative, but in terms of states, contrary evidence emerges. Britain makes nothing from its relationship with some former colonies. On the contrary we subsidise Pakistan (the worst example) to the tune of millions each year, mostly to fund its education system and parts of its security system. This merely allows a country where some struggle to eat, to be a nuclear power, and its ruling elites to avoid paying tax. When Britain's poor are subsiding Pakistan's rich, that is not imperialism.


this movie about death of test cricket i guess, still i didn't watch this but i will watch the movie soon thanks for the article.

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