By Charlie Doherty
The idea of individual freedom in our society, dominates are politics and political views. This is the idea that individuals are free from oligarchs and old elites, and not be subjected by class or income. This has manifested into a global revolution towards Democracy and it ideals.
But under analysis this is a system driven by targets and numbers. The government today who are responsible for looking after and enforcing individual rights have actually seen a rise in inequality and the return of the super wealthy and privileged few.
After the Second World War freedom from Nazi oppression wasn’t the only thing people wanted. People believed it to be the start of a new era. Freedom from the economic chaos of the 1930’s which led to the depression, couldn’t be allowed to happen again. In Britain we see this regulatory view point take off with the rise of the labour party after the war. Essentially governments thought it was their role to try and control the economy and protect society from the self interest of capitalism.
Friedrich Von Hayek was an Austrian aristocrat who fled Nazi occupation during the war. He then began to lecture at the University of Chicago. His argument was that the use of politics to plan society was by far more dangerous than any problems produced by capitalism, because it eventually led to the end of freedom and to tyranny. The example that he used for this was the Soviet Union, who in their desire to plan and control everything, eventually it lead them into Tyranny and dictatorship. He said that the same would happen to the west in a book he published called “The Road to Serfdom”. Friedrich Von Hayek ideas went on to influence Ronald Reagan and also Margret Thatcher, and what economic policies they would in force in their own countries.
In 1979 Margret Thatcher had come to power in Britain. What she promised was to create was a society based on the ideas of individual freedom. To do this she would turn to systems based on the objective power of numbers. The Thatcher government had begun in the early 80’s by selling off state owned industries. After some time it became clear that certain sectors of society would have to remain under government supervision. But Margret Thatcher wanted to take control of these too. To achieve this Margret Thatcher would bring in a system that public servants would be encouraged by incentives to follow the own self interest.
Are economy today is centrally planned. It is planned by central banks. The low interest rates favour speculators, to the point where unsustainability has now gripped the global economy. This is going to force one of two outcomes.
Central banks begin to raise interest rates, which would in turn spur interbank lending, which would be inflationary, which is what is needed to curb a deflated economy. Or raise the minimum wage, which would also cause inflation and resolve the problem. To favour anything else is only benefitting the speculators and the borrowers. This is at the expense of everybody else, who is not in this inner circle of borrowing with impunity at 0 risk.