The trouble with billionaires (book review) by Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks

Left Central Book Review 

Image© Andy Mitchel

I am indebted to the British Welfare state; the very one that Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, the safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major`s government, was there to break the fall…J.K. Rowling… Cited in `the trouble with billionaires`

This book is a fusion of rigorous academic analysis and sharp, witty journalism. The humour a necessary antidote, given the unconscionable economic detail outlined. Facts linked to the rapacious appetite of the super elite, gorging on tax avoidance. Aided and abetted by supine legislators in the UK and USA. Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks explain how the political right, adroitly undermined the post-war consensus of Beveridge and Keynes in the UK, the same result achieved in the USA with the gradual destruction of the New Deal consensus. Criticism articulated by Frederick Von Hayek who feared that benevolent government intervention would lead us down the road to serfdom. A ridiculous idea, predicated on the notion that social security; full employment, legal aid, economic growth and an NHS somehow reduced liberty. As this book points out, when Hayek required assistance from the social security system, he was not shy about utilising its collective provisions. It is indeed a strange sort of serfdom, which provides a hospital bed for the sick, a bizarre understanding of liberty that disregards the need of a safety net, when boom turns to inevitable bust. All those tens of thousands of post-war Higher Education students benefitting from free education in the UK or through the GI Bill in the States – hardly resemble serfs. But their counterparts today do; a bizarre twist on the Hayek model. The exchange of correspondence between Hayek and Charles Koch outlined in the text, makes for illuminating revisionist reading. Read more of this post

Howard Zinn and the Myth of the Good War.

Howard Zinn

Copyright Howard Zinn/Voices

Nora Connolly

As Remembrance Sunday approaches our thoughts will soon turn to the horrendous casualties of war, indeed the armistice date for me conjures up many ambivalent feelings. I consider the First World War a pointless loss of life, lion`s led by donkey`s a clear example of a bad war without a rationale or justification. But I honour the falling on both sides, the majority of whom were working-class people duped or compelled by a cruel system to do it`s bidding.

The Second World War is different a “people’s war” fought to end fascism a noble endeavour to defeat the tyranny of the fascist jackboot. But have I by accepting this view of the Second World War as a worthy conflict, fallen victim to what Howard Zinn called the `Myth of the Good War`?  Are not all wars by their very nature bad and could other ways of combating fascism have been found. Read more of this post

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