Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Did a failure of social democracy cause Brexit?

I'm wary of criticising other strands of political thought, because generally they all interest me and have upsides and downsides. However, a number of people seem to have convinced themselves that either an over-reach of liberalism or "neo-liberalism" or woolly centrism is to blame for Brexit, I feel honour bound to mount a defence of liberalism, through the time honoured means of attacking something else.
 
As nativists and nationalists erect barriers to trade around the world, I am pondering why they achieved so much support from people who felt left behind. It's an interesting phenomenon, because as us globalists congratulated ourselves on the laudable aims of raising so much of the world out of poverty and bringing the benefits of commerce and trade to an ever wider audience, some people felt left behind.
 
Now leaving worries like how easily it is to focus on the outgroup and blame them, as one for sociologists and psychologists, I wonder if it isn't time for a new economic paradigm - that of every person being important and valuable, and long term productivity to be the most important goal. Having been studying economics as part of my Open Uni course, I feel better versed the last two movement, that of Keynes trying to banish unemployment, and monetary policy trying to restrain inflation to a manageable level like 2%.
 
How about a third leg to this stool - that of a high degree of focus on productivity? What helps make a society productive is education, focus on what works, and investment in research and development.
I would also add, as fricitionless as possible.
 
I'm very interested in the fact that early economic theory was lifted straight from physics, because not only does that explain the structure of a lot of the equations, it also makes me wonder how it was updated - Nash equilibrium and all.
 
Did economic thinking drift behind politics? Did social democrats rely too much on old theory and redistribution when perhaps the aims of mankind are less about distributing resources and more about (hippy alert) mechanisms to help everyone reach their full potential?
 
Many questions remain... answering them, or at least trying to, could lead to some exciting work in economic theory.

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