Monday, 23 June 2014

The Creeping Ubiquity of Thatcherism

Now that America and its cronies are looking for Imams rather than Reds under their beds, people are less afraid to actually read Marx than they used to be, and the most staunchly conservative economists are saying ‘My God, the chap was right!’

Among the many things Marx said was that the ultimate end of capitalism would be the reduction of all human relationships to what his translators called ‘The Cash Nexus’. (I think it’s the only example I know of the use of the word ‘Nexus’). This seemed going a bit far, but then along came the lady with the iron fist and wooden head. Thatcherism could be succinctly defined as the doctrine that there are no values but monetary ones: that if it doesn’t make a profit, it’s worthless. Or as the poet Wallace Stevens put it, ‘The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream’.

What is even more remarkable than that a philistine psychopath should rise (if that’s the word — think of the case of Paderewski — ) to become Prime Minister of her country is the eagerness with which almost everybody, including those supposed to be her political opponents, have embraced this vile and immoral, indeed amoral, doctrine: like the dog’s fleas, like a computer virus, like huge football screens in bars, Thatcherism gets everywhere. Here is the first paragraph of a piece in the latest issue of ‘The Author’, the journal of the Trade Union for English writers:


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