When the Soviet Union imploded in 1999 and the ideology of Communism crashed with it, the Anglo-Saxon ideology of Free Market Capitalism was not slow in moving centre stage. It is not that its adherents had been hiding their light under any bushels but, so long as the contest between the two systems had prevailed, it was prudent to act circumspectly so as to show the world that their system brought the greatest economic benefits to the greatest number of people. So, when Communism lost the contest the neo-liberals, as they were called, moved up several gears and, riding high on the back of the new IT age and the globalisation that followed, swept all before them with their creed of lightly regulated, or self regulated Market Capitalism. It took 80 years for Communism to fail but only 18 years for neo-liberalism. So, what went wrong with both systems? They started from polarised vantage points in marshalling their plans to create an ideal structure for the human condition and the betterment of the societies they lived in. The Communists put collectivisation as a priority and the individual had to live in a social environment where all of his/her talents, creativity, efforts etc. were as a contribution to and subordinated to a society that in return would arrange a safe environment with sufficiency to live on and an obligation to work if able to and a commitment from society to ensure that work was available. For those unable to work there was guaranteed State support.

Neo-liberalism believed that prosperity lay in freeing the individual from all but obvious restraints of the State such as security of the borders, inside and outside, to enable him/her to reach their greatest potential. Business enterprises would be free from all  regulations  that would prevent them from carrying out their purpose to create profits and, by so doing, create prosperity for themselves, the Economy and the Society in which they operated.  There were to be no rights of employment and, in fact, workers rights were to be curtailed so that organised resistance to the wealth makers would not be restricted. There were to be no rights of a living wage for those that did work, it was to be a matter of negotiation between the individual and the employer. Public services were to be replaced by private companies.

We have seen that both systems failed. One over  a period of eight decades after perpetual opposition from the Neo-liberals. The other, after less than two decades with no real serious opposition; it virtually destroyed itself through its excesses by failing to address the human propensity to over-reach itself when unrestrained.

Every system has the seeds of its own destruction within it and it is only by applying appropriate checks and balances can any system be kept operative. Acknowledging, even encouraging greed rather than valid self interest moderated by social and ecological obligations, the Neo-liberals allowed the system to develop in parts more as a gambling casino which eventually created the Crash of 2008.

   The question now to ask is what did these two ideologies miss? Most reasonable people will agree that self-preservation is a human instinct that we are born with and for these to be effective there has to be a trade off between what we consider to be our right to survive and the rights of others within the society that we  live in for the successful functioning of that society. Somehow the circle has to be squared between the individuals perceived rights and the effective operation of society. All sorts of systems have been tried out and many future systems will  be  tried, but our examination here is with the two systems that have failed where replacements are needed before the consequences of their dysfunctionalism causes irreparable harm to them and their neighbours.

The Communist ideology failed because it did not  address the need of the individual to freely express their aspirations nor profit from their individual talents. In excessively subordinating the individual to the perceived advantages of a better society the Communists were able to provide  superior public services such in health and education to its citizens but, generally, the private side was neglected so that the Communist citizen whilst being proud of the achievements could not but compare h/herself with the private consumerism of the Neo-liberal societies which, at the time of the parallel opposition made sure that the  comparisons with the two systems public services was not too obvious.

There, consumerism and individual success being within the range of every aspirant easily trumped what came to be seen as the repression of  human endeavour to achieve human equality was no contest. With the reciprocal propaganda of each system attacking the other, the result was polarisation and blindness to see any merit in the opposite camp.

Neo-liberalism blew up on account of its own excesses, as of course any human organisation would when left  without an attachment to the common good by being dangerously unregulated (The French Mississippi Bubble, the Dutch Tulip Bubble and the British South Sea Bubble are but a few examples). One can imagine any group sport – say football – playing a game with inadequate rules and no referee lasting for more than a few minutes before disintegrating. The organisers have learned where to apply the rules whilst ensuring a positive and enjoyable game for all to enjoy. What the neo-liberals failed to take into account was that the days when the powerful took what they wanted with impunity now only applies in warfare while today, even for markets, organisations cannot function without rules.

The question now should be, ‘ where does the line lie that promotes human endeavour  with productive competition and appropriate awards whilst fostering humanitarian co-operation in protecting the weak and the vulnerable by restricting the excesses of the former? By preventing such an unequal society that civil unrest becomes inevitable and where the Planet we live on is protected for our descendants future occupancy

Whilst not everybody would agree  with a starting point of restraining all individual excess until minimum living standards had been guaranteed for all within society. To address sufficiently the individual needs by subordinating the individual excesses in society. This could hardly be said to be shackling the aspirations of the industrious and pandering to the indolence of the idle.

The degree of distortion was seen to be excessive when judged by the banishment of the idea of greed being anti-social in the neo-Liberal forms of government with the rampant growth of consumerism and waste. But the reverse comparison with Communism could get no traction in spite of such impoverished countries as Cuba developing superior Educational  Systems and health and Welfare Systems than their neighbour the USA, the wealthiest country in the World, because humans are aspiring and stifling their individual aims with a blanket cover of universal protection and control can not be seen to be the answer.

So, again I ask, where does the line lie that enables human endeavour while restricting human excess? Allows people to create and retain wealth while ensuring that all in society benefit from the creation of wealth that can only be made within that society?

There is no voluntary way of carrying this out so it needs to be enshrined in law that societys’ approval for entrepreneurial efforts has to be obtained. Not everyone would agree with a starting point of restraining or limiting all excesses until minimum living conditions for all have been met. The arguments against such a theory are many. Who defines ‘excess’ and ‘minimum living conditions,?’ Some would say that this idea shackles the industrious and gifted and panders to the indolent and shriftless.’ Others would argue that need is not necessarily based on indolence nor wealth on endeavour and achievement; but this is to stray into moral territory, so the question has to be asked, is this a moral or a practical proposal?

Before that question is addressed it has to be said that the idea is simple but cannot be put in simple terms. It will never satisfy the Darwinians who will always try to take more out of the pot than others would say is their justifiable share but as has been noted earlier, wealth cannot be created outside society as it is contingent upon the contributions of the collective and, this being so, it is entirely reasonable that every individual owes some of their wealth creation to the collective.


The Independent Commission on Banking’s attempt to define the boundary between Banking practices and social safety at the same time the Government is already defining the boundaries of our social protection through the NHS bill going through Parliament means that they are planning to make a major policy shift by re-drawing the line between the separate and conflicting functions of the Private and Public. The status quo is no longer an option.

Governments only began providing public support on a wide scale when women were recruited into the work force en masse and the traditional family support system, buttressed by the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters was no longer available. Philanthropists and Charities were unable to fill the gap left in the social fabric, so society had to adapt to the ensuing changes.

Some countries, like the USA, introduced a reluctant and almost unacknowledged welfare structure into their essentially Capitalistic Model  which always remained vulnerable to the vagaries of changing political climates. Many other countries, such as the Scandinavians and West Europeans opted for a Social democratic Model incorporating Social and Public services on equal terms with the Private Sector.

In the UK we took a different approach when we created a Welfare State after the Second World War and operated this as distinct and, at arms length, from the Private Sector. Since the Thatcher government however,  there has been no Party consensus on what should be Private and what Public and so, the balance, once destroyed, has not since been re-established.

We failed to learn from the Union excesses of the 1970/80’s when the pendulum swung too far to the Public Sector by subsequently allowing it to swing too far to the Private Sector resulting in the Bankers bringing down the economy in 2008 just as the Unions had done previously.

It seemed that ideology had replaced the innate pragmatism of the British People to trim against political excesses in Government and now there seems a need to make a fundamental changes to establish a new, consensual balance. If we don’t get it right there will be continuing attrition to the detriment of further progress.


There are only two sorts of fools in the world – The Socialist who will not accept there is a need for the Capitalist and the Capitalist who will not accept there is a need for the Socialist. All other questions are based on ignorance.

30th March 2016