At The Financial Times: Nicolas Colin on ‘fixing the Welfare State’. Almost Marx comments

A co-founder of an investment firm, Nicolas Colin, shall lead us out out of the darkness of the Welfare State, and into The Radiant Future of the Entrepreneurial State? Aided by a partial quote from from Robert Shiller:

This was envisioned in 2003 by the economist Robert Shiller, who wrote that “an electronically integrated risk management culture” could “work in tandem with the already existing economic institutions of capitalism to promote wealth”.

M. Colin uses the rhetorical register pioneered by Mrs. Malaprop. In sum what can Shiller’s Capitalist Apologetic mean for the Reform of the The Welfare State, in light of the Age of Internet? That old saw ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ ? All this aided by his history made to measure. A telling example of that ‘history’ as Neo-Liberal propaganda:

Contrary to the beliefs of ideologues on both sides of the debate, this does not call either for more state intervention or less. Rather it requires a redrawing of the map, reapportioning the respective perimeters of the market and the state. There are areas, such as housing in dense cities, where the rise of technology calls for more state intervention. And there are others, such as care for the elderly, where technology-driven models correct imperfections that long rigged the market. Once those imperfections have been eliminated, state intervention would be a hindrance rather than a help.

Note that M. Colin uses the time honored Neo-Liberal ruse of the transcendence of the political divide of Right and Left:  his rhetorical self-invention as the political rationalist position as political transcendentalist. Note too that The State is portrayed as the villain in this melodrama, in which Entrepreneurial Vision is thwarted by an entrenched, self-seeking  bureaucracy.  The reader is in the territory of that fraudulent Trinity of Hayek/Mises/Friedman, that garners a mention as part of an unenlightened ideological opponent of  M. Colin’s ‘reforms’.

Today, technology allows entrepreneurs to harness the power of personal computing and networks to pool risks.

How can this statement be relevant to the notion of ‘how to fix the Welfare State‘?

But it fits nicely with this statement of Balaji Srinivasan on ‘cloud communities’. In sum the argument of M. Colin is that the New Welfare State will be administered by an enlightened class of internet/computer entrepreneurs? Using the model of social insurance programmes run by private citizens. How will this system be monitored, in the interest of the state and the citizens it serves? It called ‘checks and balances’ a concept utterly alien to the Age of the Entrepreneur. The vexing question of who will train and monitor those welfare recipients escapes M. Colin’s utopian enthusiasm.

Cloud communities have an advantage over local ones because of their networked structure: the power of networks tends to increase, instead of diminishing, as the underlying community grows. While in the past state intervention was necessary for universal coverage, future increasing returns at scale could be enough for entrepreneurial cloud-based initiatives to achieve universal scope.mmunities have an advantage over local ones because of their networked structure: the power of networks tends to increase, instead of diminishing, as the underlying community grows. While in the past state intervention was necessary for universal coverage, future increasing returns at scale could be enough for entrepreneurial cloud-based initiatives to achieve universal scope.

M. Colin demonstrates in his final paragraph that he is of the School of Neo-Liberalism Lite of Emmanuel Macron:

Given the political and economic landscape, these would be positive ways to replace crumbling welfare institutions around the world. But they also pose a problem: how to prevent people from using the entrepreneurial argument simply to scale back state intervention. The challenge is broader than that: to imagine a new version of Polanyi’s embedded liberalism that supports us all.

The Welfare Institutions are not crumbling, but have been under concerted attack since the rise of Thatcher/Reagan in the ‘West’. This fact defines the disingenuousness of M. Colin’s political intervention.

Almost Marx

https://www.ft.com/content/a642d4ae-4169-11e7-82b6-896b95f30f58

 

 

 

 

 

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer.
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