Home Politics George Monbiot Argues For - Mirabile Dictu - More Markets

George Monbiot Argues For – Mirabile Dictu – More Markets



This isn’t what George Monbiot thinks he is arguing for of course but then the world would be a better place if those in the media actually understood their own arguments.

His observation is that politics doesn’t allow immediate, detailed and fine grained management of our world around us. This is true of course.

The problem, in other words, is not just Johnson. The problem is the UK’s political system, which presents an open invitation for autocratic behaviour. In the past, people warned that a ruthless operator could make hay with this system. Well, that moment has come.

His answer is that we should move to a more Trotskyist system of politics. Sure, it’s called citizen assemblies and all that but we all know how such committees get coopted by those who meet in the agenda subcommittee first and thereby determine what can be discussed at all. And only those truly committed will turn up to the nominating committee for the agenda subcommittee thereby controlling said process.

The purpose of student politics being an education in how to do this of course.

The actual solution to his claimed problem is contained here:

By contrast to our five-yearly vote, capital can respond to government policy every second, withdrawing its consent with catastrophic consequences if it doesn’t like its drift. There’s a massive imbalance of power here. The voting power of capital, with modern trading technologies, has advanced by leaps and bounds. Electoral power is trapped in the age of the quill pen.

Quite so and why is this? Because capital is operating in markets. Markets respond to reality rather faster than politics. So, we wish the world to respond to our desires rather faster than the political system enables? We should add more markets to the mixture of what and how we are ruled.

For example, say that we would like our incipient blindness to be cured. Macular degeneration say. The political system currently has us, through the National Health Service, having to actually near go blind before they will treat us. Even then they’ll only do the one eye. Because money must be put aside to correct blokes in frocks or summat. The solution is a market in correct macular degeneration. Clinics where one walks in, coughs up the cash and gains that sightsaving treatment. Equally blokes in frocks. The market provides what politics doesn’t – and the blokes are complaining just as loudly as the unsighted currently at the political, NHS, system.

Capital is speedily reactive because it operates in markets. If we desire that more of our lives be so speedily reactive we need more markets in our lives and less politics. It is indeed that simple.



  1. Macular degeneration treatment on the NHS is rather short sighted, especially considering the long term costs of near blindness, the NHS’s reluctance to treat Dupuytren’s contracture is equally ham fisted. However, both pale into insignificance when compared with the irrational nature of Monbiot’s argument, which fails to consider the fact that it is both people who move capital and people who elect the executive. Indeed the movement of capital is one of the most effective brakes that prevent the executive from the more foolish of policies, John Major and his ERM debacle which was corrected by the market is as good an example as any.

    So called citizen assemblies would never really be tolerated by Monbiot, not because they would be the tyranny of the majority, but because if they were really implemented in a true democratic manner many of the polices he espouses would be rejected, such as restricting the use of carbon, unfettered mass migration and of course the UK’s membership of the EU. Monbiot would soon realise that, thank goodness, most citizens don’t think like him. He also might realise that supporting the EU’s system of un-elected technocracy and at the same time citizen’s assemblies is as paradoxical as the Guardian’s offshore tax status and its campaign to raise corporation tax receipts.

    It has been said that most people are wrong most of the time, that some people are right some of the time, that no one is right all of the time, yet it seems that Monbiot disproves this adage by being wrong all of the time.

  2. Never met a socialist who could see the paradoxes of their thinking. Like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, they are well-practised at believing in impossible things – and not just before breakfast.


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