The fair allocation of pain

In: Uncategorized

13 Dec 2011

“The key question hanging over the West now is ‘how do you allocate pain?’”.

These were the words of Gillian Tett, the US managing editor of the Financial Times and ubiquitous media presence, in last night’s BBC2 Newsnight programme (six days left to view).

As a description of the current mindset of the western elites no doubt this is spot on. They see themselves caught in a “balance sheet recession” – in which paying off debt takes precedence over maximising profit – and are worried about how to maintain social cohesion. The elites want their populations to buy into their policy measures so they are keen to be seen to be allocating pain fairly.

This focus on the fair allocation of pain is what underlies contemporary egalitarianism. It is therefore a wholly reactionary movement. It may sometimes embody traditional left wing rhetoric but this is deceptive.

The alternative is to work out how to recreate a dynamic economy as quickly as possible. To promote economic growth and social progress rather than agonising over who deserves to be least miserable.