Tim Worstall picked up yesterday on George Monbiot's rant against "neo-liberalism" and its promoters in the Mont Pèlerin Society and elsewhere. George names a large number of participants in the global conspiracy to promote the view "that we are best served by maximum market freedom and minimum intervention by the state", but
"the most powerful promoter of this programme was the media. Most of it is owned by multimillionaires who use it to project the ideas that support their interests. Those ideas which threaten their interests are either ignored or ridiculed. It is through the newspapers and TV channels that the socially destructive notions of a small group of extremists have come to look like common sense."
Which publication could be more representative of this global capitalist conspiracy in the media than the Financial Times? So it was interesting to see the stories they covered that same day, and the angles they took on those stories:
- "One-third of biggest businesses pays no tax". The fact that many of our largest companies pay no tax suggests that there is something inequitable in our corporation-tax regime. Interesting way to promote the virtues of capitalism.
- "'Hundreds of millions' in failed debt for Barclays". One of our leading capitalist institutions has been incompetent in its management of our money, and is implicated in the larger losses suffered by Sachsen LB, an East-German state bank.
- "Sarkozy pushes to widen EU's global role as a policy 'priority'". Promoting the virtues of the super-state.
- "Cutting red tape 'could weaken HSE'". The unions tell us how important it is for the Government to wrap everyone in cotton-wool and rules.
- "Shoppers to pay as demand rises for milk powder". Oh look, we've found another area where the capitalist system doesn't seem to be delivering benefits to the people.
- "Earnings gap adds to welfare state's hard task". Yet another piece of effectively socialist research from the LSE given plenty of attention by our capitalist cheerleaders.
- "EU referendum calls are misguided" (Leader). The
ContitutionalReform Treaty is a "tidying-up exercise" necessary to ensure that we do not have a "do-nothing Union", and the "motley band" calling for the Government to honour its pledge to hold a referendum are "misguided" and acting against "the national interest". That'll be more big government on the capitalists' wishlist, then.
- "The Republicans' jockeying on terrorism is terrifying". Coupled with an earlier story on "Democrat victory as another Bush ally steps down", this wasn't exactly shoring up the morale and credibility of one of the supposedly leading forces for unfettered capitalism.
- "Exeunt private equity's prima donnas". Schadenfreude at the comeuppance being experienced by some of our most excessive and irresponsible capitalists.
- "'How I did it' books give me a sinking feeling". We have nothing to learn from some of the world's leading entrepreneurs, who turn out to be semi-literate fools, judged by their writings.
- "The cost of hidden bias at work". Even managers of our capitalist institutions can be victims of its rampant aggression and inequity.
I'd say George has nothing to worry about. When the media's supposed high representative of free markets is loaded down with this much material critical of markets or supportive of big government, it's those of us who believe in freedom that need to worry, not twats like Monbiot who think they know what's best for us. Which leftward slant amongst even our supposed market advocates is not very different to the intellectual climate after the war, which led Hayek, Friedman and co to judge that they needed to found a society to preserve the idea of freedom and to discuss how to promote it. Plus ça change.