Fri Dec 30th, 2005 at 07:51:34 AM EST
After some thought I have come to the view that we should stop using the tendentious label "Anglo-Saxon model" as shorthand for the unregulated corporation-subsiding model of economics being pushed on us by the common wisdom of the English language media and the free-market fundamentalists everywhere.
I've defended the usage before but after further thought I've come to the conclusion that it's a trap we should avoid for the following reasons:
- As we've pointed out many times on this site, it paints a false picture of both the UK and US economies. Neither is run anything like the model suggested for the rest of the world - the UK has massive social welfare and public health systems and the US spends large portions of its GDP to subsidise industry, though they prefer to call it a defence budget.
- It motivates people to react against criticism of the model on nationalist grounds - we've seen it here where criticism of the nonsense being marketed under that brand is taken as criticism of the UK.
- It is a prime example of Newspeak - it hides good old fashioned laissez-faire capitalism behind yet another new label. It's not the anglo-saxon model that's being sold, it's unregulated corporate capitalism, red in tooth and claw, guaranteed to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a small elite. Calling it anything else hides the reality and helps the fundamentalists in their branding exercise. For that matter, calling it a free-market system or even a market system is what J.K Galbraith labelled one of his "innocent frauds" - hiding the reality that the US economy is largely run for and by the managers of large corporations.
I quite like Galbraith's term "corporate capitalism" which at least makes it clear for whose benefit the system would operate.
Update [2005-12-30 18:20:19 by Colman]: Just for the record, I'd completely missed the rambling Anglo-Saxon discussion on Christmas Eve.
Update [2005-12-30 18:26:55 by Colman]: And having scanned it now, I'm very glad I missed it.