Thursday, May 6, 2010

What does it mean? Or does it?

update exit polls give conservative 305 seats 21 short of a majority

and the greek economy is in chaos
We live in interesting times, and that is the case both here and abroad.The world is in turmoil. But what does that mean for us?
Aren't our problems ours and theirs theirs? Or is it all some how connected?
Can we make predictions about the outcome of our November election, based on trends and emotions boiling out of the British election? The British have a centrist center left government , the Labour Party has been in power in Britain since 1997. thats the longest period the Labour party has ever managed to maintain power in Britain , once a traditionally Socialist party, New Labour
in the 1990's moved to the center to be more in tune with the electorate and contemporary economic realities, as Clinton and the American New Democrats did in the same period of time.Bill Clinton and Tony Blair both embrace more centrist policies and abandoned traditional Keynesian policies of years past.As the economic crisis of the early 21st century manifested itself,
both the New Obama administration and the Labour party under Gordon Browns more traditional ideology re embraced
more traditional policies of tax and spend to stimulate the troubled economies of the USA and the UK. The jury is still out on how well all that spending has done, but many in the USA are quite angry about all the government spending and policy feeling that it is a betrayal of traditional American values that revere limited government and Constitutional restrictions on the role of government in our society. Britain has an older tradition that is more open to a bigger role for government. Beginning in 1945
the british Labour party Nationalized Coal and Steel and created the National Health Service, and thus Socialist Britain was born.
But centuries before that the British monarchy and even the Tory Conservatives had always felt a big government appropriate.
But in the late 1970s and early 1980s both Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the USA embraced the economic ideas of Fredrick Hayek and Milton Friedman abandoned Keynesian policies that had been accepted for decades as gospel and embraced neo liberalism, with debatable results . But it is easy enough to see that the fate of the UK and the USA in the recent past have been significantly linked. So can looking at the state of British economy, society ,and elections going on as we speak
predict anything for us in November? Its all too complicated, but the one thing that is obvious is the electorates of both nations are angry with government performance and in a mood to throw incumbents out, who ever they may be.
The other situation everyone seems to be buzzing about , and a situation so serious its driving down the stock market,
is the State of the Greek economy,and the protests and riots going on over austerity measures, years of excessive
government spending and socialist policies have allegedly bankrupt Greece and left it in an absolute shambles,
other EU countries are reluctant to bail Greece out and even others like Spain and Portugal are nearing the same situation
economically . Many people seem to think that our country will soon be going the way of Greece or the state of California
if we keep spending and government keeps expanding and use Greece as a cautionary example of why we must change course in November.
Personally I think any analogies drawn from events in other societies is limited , life and history are too complex to directly compare one to the other. But on the other hand I think as a society Americans need to be more aware of what is going on in the rest of the world. The good and the bad, to get a better idea what we should be doing here.
But the one observation I would notice about Britain and the USA is we both went through similar problems in the 1980s.
People felt government was too big and became very angry as the economy of the late 1970's worsened. And both nation's adopted almost identical policies to remedy this, cuts in taxes and spending, privatization in Britain , de regulation here.
The economy here seems to be improving, but is it enough to satisfy the electorate that Obama's policies are working?
If it's not we may be seeing a repeat of Reagan's policies of the 1980's or the Republican Congress of the 1990's Mantra
to radically reduce the role of government.
Its anyones guess what will happen, but its a good idea to keep an eye on current events, and historical trends.

I've never really understood economics as well as I would like, I've always had an idea of the way things should be or I'd lie them to be but very little knowledge about how economies actually work, and what is going on now, is an extension of changes that occurred int eh 20th century, and never in my life have I come across anything that explained them better than this >>
thank you PBS

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