On the pantomime political anguish of Gideon Rachman, a comment by Political Reporter


One marvels at this excerpt from Mr. Rachman’s latest essay, yet how should the reader interpret Mr. Foa and Mr. Mounk’s statement about the last three decades, in which trust in political institutions has precipitously declined? The thought that is beyond the ken of Foa and Mounk, and their reader Rachman, is that this precipitous decline shares the same historical/political space as the rise of the Neo-Liberalism. As the answer to what? The end of the post-war boom that precipitated the rise of Thatcher/Reagan?

Mr Foa and Mr Mounk conclude that “over the last three decades, trust in political institutions such as parliament or the courts has precipitously declined across the established democracies of North America and Western Europe”.

Last week it was Rachman’s reading of and extemporizing on the themes of Huntington’s ‘Clash’, the invented cutural/civilizational paranoia, of an active agent the American Empire, that provided the overarching rhetorical frame for Rachman’s pantomime  political anguish. This week it is Foa/Mounk that supply the impetus for more of the same.

Place the ‘blame’ for the ‘revival of soft authoritarianism’, at least in Europe and America, on the 2008 Economic Crash, and the advocacy for the cause of Neo-Liberal Reformism, at the feet of The Financial Times. Its unwavering propaganda, and in this instance on Mr. Rachman, as one of its many vociferious well compensated advocates.

The Philippines and Rodrigo Duterte, Russia and Putin The Terrible, South Africa and Jacob Zuma adds dimension to  Mr. Rachman’s execise in dramaturgy. Although the Philippines and South Africa are outside the consideration, of the scope of Foa/Mounk analysis. Political opportunity knocks!  But the addition Simon Freemantle, to Rachman’s comment, senior political economist with Standard Bank, establishes beyond doubt this writers alligence.

As for Mandela, and his embrace of Neo-Liberalsim by default, that demonstrates the fact of F.W. de Klerk’s mendacity, in the negotiations about the transfer of power in South Africa, read this revelatory essay by Dr. James Winter:

World attention focused on the high profile political talks between the ANC’s Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, leader of the National Party. The ANC was determined to win this political fight, and did. de Klerk had the guns and the money, but Mandela had millions of people with him.

The lower profile economic negotiations under the ANC’s Thabo Mbeki, were disastrous.

Mandela’s government fell victim to a process pioneered in Chile before the government was taken over by the democratically elected Salvador Allende: democracy-proofing capitalism.

Key sectors of economic decision making such as trade policy and the role of the central bank were portrayed by the de Klerk government as “technical” or “administrative.”

Control of these power centres was handed to supposedly “impartial experts” such as officials from the IMF and the World Bank… in a “balkanization” strategy. A Constitutional clause protecting all private property made land reform virtually impossible.

Instituting currency controls to prevent wild speculation would violate an $850 million IMF deal which also promoted “wage restraint,” which prevented raising minimum wages.  

 The South African Central Bank was privatized, and run by the same man who had run it under apartheid. Derek Keyes, the white finance minister under apartheid, retained his post.

There was no betrayal by Mandela’s ANC negotiators: they were simply outmanoeuvred. de Klerk and the whites had the international financial control necessary to leverage their way. When Mandela was released from prison, the South African rand dropped by 10 percent and the stock market collapsed in panic. Whenever a party official hinted that the Freedom Charter would become policy, the rand went into free fall. In a single month in 1996, the rand plummeted 20 percent.


Also, the paraphrase from Ronald Reagan is the purest kind of pandering!

Ronald Reagan, the US president who saw out the last years of the cold war, liked to boast that “freedom works”

Political Reporter


 @Daveskier74 @StephenKMackSD

Dave, thank you for your comment. By the number of recommendations ‘between 92 and 107’ on your Luce comment, that is proof that your comment ‘resonated’ with a large number of readers of The Financial Times. I congratulate you on such an accomplishment!

The Eureka reference was to indicate that I write polemic, you stumbled over the reason d’etre of my comment. What I meant to convey to you, and the other readers of Rachman’s essay, is that there is another way to view Rachman’s and the FT’s maladroit Capitalist Apologetics, using rhetorical analysis of his arguments, through a polemical lens. It is a very old and honored tradition, Karl Kraus being one of its most notorious practitioners, in the 19th and into the 20th Century. See Paul Reitter’s book The Anti-Journalist, Karl Kraus and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Fin-de-Siècle Europe, published by the University of Chicago Press.

My job, as I see it, is to explain to myself, and then to others, what I think about the essay in question, and to dissect, using a polemical style, as a means to bring into sharper focus, the failed Neo-Liberal political/economic orthodoxy, in its various iterations in the political present. We are in the 9th Year after the Market Collapse of 2008, the question that both Rachman and The Financial Times cannot provide an answer is ‘Where is the Self-Correcting Market’ celebrated as one of the central dogmas of the Free Market Dispensation? Why wouldn’t I come to The Financial Times, to engage with one of the prominent members of the clerisy of the Neo-Liberal Theology?



February 20,2017 2:04 PST

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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