Canberra Milk wrote:
On Keynes. Keynsian economics isn't really right or left. If you look at governments from the left and right, all of them out in place Keynsian economic policies when the GFC hit. As was oft quoted at the time "we are all Keynsians now". Many of those policies weren't big enough, but they undoubtedly helped reduce the pain of the GFC across the world. It's instructive that many of the countries that have taken longest to recover were the ones that pulled economic stimulus first or put in less stimulus to begin with. Keynsian economics is really just a small subset of economics that only deals with crashes. Its aim to simply to redress a market failure in those times. It was used to good effect by Howard/Costello in the Asian financial crisis, it was used to good effect by Rudd/Swan during the GFC.
What would you say is the economic basis for leftist politics then? I guess as someone else said, Labor is pretty much free market these days as well, private sector etc.
It depends if you are taking politics or academic economics. The GFC showed, that politically, both the left and right embraced Keynes wholeheartedly across the globe. It was really only the libertarians on the right pushing Heyak etc. Same goes for neo-liberalism, it has been embraced on the left and right, which is why you see left wing parties pushing carbon pricing and free market solutions to social problems.
The difference politically comes down to values not economics. The economic tools on both sides are similar. So you get the right wanting price signals on healthcare but not on CO2, the left wanting a price signal on CO2 and not on healthcare. The difference there is values, rather than economics per se, they are both using similar economic tools to try and achieve what they want to achieve.
In terms of Australian politics, Hawke/Keating were probably our most "pure" neo-liberals. To an extent they destroyed the "old" differences between both parties in terms of economic fundamentals. The major differences now are value based IMO. Economics of course comes into it, but the left is going to argue about the value of a social safety net, universal healthcare, equality etc, the right the value of lower taxes, business friendly policies, moving to a more user pays social system etc. Which is mainly values rather than economic tools, the tools they are using will be similar- they just value different things.
Of course in academia, the old rivalries are still vibrant, but I don't think those are front and centre in terms of politics, at least in Australia anyway.
You are also seeing interesting dynamics pop up in the states, with the "outsider" right agreeing with a hell of a lot of stuff from the "outsider" left. Stuff like cutting the size of banks to avoid moral hazard, reinstating the Glass-Seigall act, ending corporate welfare, opposing free trade agreements designed by big corporations, increased protections of freedoms after the NSA stuff etc. Those are issues that parts of the left and right in America pretty much wholeheartedly agree on, despite their values being diametrically opposed (while the centre of both the left and right agrees that those aren't things they want).
A lot of that's stems from a feeling that the political system mainly serves "insiders" and not regular people. The same dynamic and populism is also behind the rise in popularity of outsiders like Palmer in Australian politics. The feeling that both the majors "suck" and nobody speaks for "me" and that at least Palmer isn't "one of them".
So politically there is a load of interesting stuff going on. A lot of that ties into economic debates, like the one raging about equality etc sparked by occupy wall st and now Picketty, but I think at the moment anyway a lot of that is being driven by forces such as alienation from politics and populism.