A claim from Mr. Chakrabortty that government has been hollowed out, that the state just isn't there to save us all when we need it to:
We’re often told that the state and the market have entirely different roles. But meet any number of the people paying the price for Britain’s crash, and you’ll see that they play almost identical parts using similar language and similar bureaucracy. And far from protecting low-paid workers from the depredations of the market, the state wants to hurl more people into it under the pretence that they are shirkers.
None of this fits with how social democrats view the state. Having attended my fair share of Labour and other leftwing political meetings, I know that a staple feature is that some grey-haired man in a jumper will leap up towards the end and launch into a good-hearted defence of the state. Public investment, social security, industrial strategy: all will circle back to the state; all will be met with murmurs of approval.
The sub-head is:
In Britain, after 30 years of hollowing-out, government is now seen as invisible or hostile. And those it no longer helps are facing the awful consequences.
Hmm, can't say we're convinced but let us, for the sake of argument, say that it is.
The thing is, government spending is currently around and about 42% of everything. Outside the disasters of the late 70s, deep recessions like just recently and of course World Wars that's the highest it has been.
Meaning that one of two things is true. Either there never was a Golden Age when the state stood behind us to catch our falls. Or, alternatively, there was and we now spend the money on things we shouldn't be, leaving none to spend on that crucial service of supporting us in times of woe and dearth.
Let us assume that it is that second, just to stick with Aditya's insistence that there was a time when we had what he desired. We'd be entirely happy to run the slide rule over what government does currently spend upon and come up with recommendations for where it should stop. So as to free up those resources for a proper safety net.
Why, we might even be able to cut spending enough, and still leave room for that support, to leave more money to fructify in the pockets of the populace. Climate change, the arts, culture, sport, innumerable campaigning NGOs, the EU....the list of things government shouldn't be spending a penny upon is quite long. And we really would quite happily allocate at least some of such savings to the general welfare of those who can cope no other way.
For we're just fine with the idea that there should be a support network so let's stop spending where we shouldn't and redirect to where we should. Including, of course, that fructifying part.