‘Millennial socialism’ versus capitalism

A new political term for me – Millennial socialism.

The Economist: The resurgent left – Millennial socialism

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the 20th century’s ideological contest seemed over. Capitalism had won and socialism became a byword for economic failure and political oppression. It limped on in fringe meetings, failing states and the turgid liturgy of the Chinese Communist Party.

Today, 30 years on, socialism is back in fashion. In America Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a newly elected congresswoman who calls herself a democratic socialist, has become a sensation even as the growing field of Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 veers left. In Britain Jeremy Corbyn, the hardline leader of the Labour Party, could yet win the keys to 10 Downing Street.

The ‘left’ in both the US and UK are being helped somewhat by dysfunctional right wing leaders and Governments.

Socialism is storming back because it has formed an incisive critique of what has gone wrong in Western societies. Whereas politicians on the right have all too often given up the battle of ideas and retreated towards chauvinism and nostalgia…

See “What the Kiwi way of life means to me’ – Simon Bridges and anything Winston Peters (it’s quite ironic that he has enabled the rise of Jacinda Aardern).

…the left has focused on inequality, the environment, and how to vest power in citizens rather than elites (see article). Yet, although the reborn left gets some things right, its pessimism about the modern world goes too far. Its policies suffer from naivety about budgets, bureaucracies and businesses.

The rest of that article is behind a paywall, but Peter Dunne comments in Government by worthy sentiment:

Last week, the Economist magazine noted the emergence of what it described as millennial socialism, as a reaction to the prevailing liberal democratic orthodoxy.

Millennial socialism, the Economist argues, is not socialism in the traditional sense, but a looser set of views around reducing inequality, reducing the power of vested interests, and greater emphasis on environmental issues like climate change that is capturing the interest of younger voters.

Whether their prescriptions for reform are attainable seems to run secondary to the fact that their issues are being raised in the first place.

Indeed, their essentially general nature as worthy sentiments makes it likely they will have crossover appeal in the wider community. However, as the rise and fall in the public standing of French President Emanuel Macron has shown, the bubble of optimism the millennials’ issues are at last on the political agenda bursts quickly when it comes to taking action.

It could well be the same in New Zealand too – although our national temperament makes it unlikely we will see our own version of the Gilet Jaunes (yellow vest) protest movement.

The emerging reality is that, despite some of the rhetoric, we are moving into an era where commitment to aspiration (prioritising empathy and compassion) rates more highly than action (prioritising evidence and achievement).

Time will tell how this plays out.

But there’s no doubt that those who vote for old school politics are reducing in number, and those who have only voted in this century are growing into a majority that has a different view of the world and of politics.

‘Millennial socialism’ is making a play, but it is far from success. Corbyn has been polarising and just seen his caucus split, with a number of Labour MPs jumping to an ‘independent’ ship. Ocasio-Cortez is making waves in the US but is a long way from tangible success.

Macron is struggling to make progress in France, and Justin Trudeau is not finding his brand of politics easy to sustain in Canada.

Jacinda Ardern is playing a ‘Millennial socialism’ card in New Zealand, but so far it is mostly superficial. Nothing significant has actually changed here yet. We may really see a revolutionary ‘wellbeing budget’ in May, but the lack of enthusiastic promotion of an already politically limited Capital Gains Tax and other tax reforms suggests the reality may be far less than the rhetoric.

As with many political shifts Millennial socialism may be gradual and partial, if it makes much impact at all.

Who knows – people in the US may wake up to how great Donald Trump says he is and swing things towards whatever he stands for instead.

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73 Comments

  1. Reply
  2. David

     /  25th February 2019

    I follow the US closely and when they talk about socialism its things like a free doctors visit if you are poor, a subsidy for university study and general stuff that we take for granted.
    The meaning of the word socialism has changed and their “socialist democrats” pretty much want NZ.

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  25th February 2019

      If you read the green new deal a lot of it is just the way we already are in most of the west.
      We get paid holidays and sick pay, a public health service , have a minimum wage and a social security safety net .

      Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  25th February 2019

    I look at it more as action vs reaction.
    The GFC exposed Capitalism in all its gruesome glory.

    The Norwegian historian Rutger?…is telling a few home truths about the uber wealthy and how out of touch they really are.

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  25th February 2019

      “The Norwegian historian Rutger?…is telling a few home truths about the uber wealthy and how out of touch they really are.”

      He’s not much of a historian given how much of the history he has left out. He just sells books telling people they can have everything they want for free.

      Reply
    • alloytoo

       /  25th February 2019

      The GFC, with all it’s predictability, demonstrated that the quest for abnormal profits comes at greater risk and that sometimes risks are realized.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  25th February 2019

        but…’no one saw it….coming’!🤢

        Reply
        • alloytoo

           /  25th February 2019

          I (and many I associated with) saw it coming at least two years out.

          Ninja loans and the housing glut were the subject of a few Time Magazine articles at the time.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  25th February 2019

            well you’re in the wrong job…

            ‘From the very beginning of the credit crisis and the ensuing recession, it has become conventional wisdom that “no one saw this coming”. Anatole Kaletsky (2008) wrote in the The Times of “those who failed to foresee the gravity of this crisis – a group that includes Mr King, Mr Brown, Alistair Darling, Alan Greenspan and almost every leading economist and financier in the world.” Glenn Stevens (2008), Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said:

            “I do not know anyone who predicted this course of events. This should give us cause to reflect on how hard a job it is to make genuinely useful forecasts. What we have seen is truly a ‘tail’ outcome – the kind of outcome that the routine forecasting process never predicts. But it has occurred, it has implications, and so we must reflect on it”.

            Reply
            • The Consultant

               /  25th February 2019

              “I do not know anyone who predicted this course of events.
              Then he hasn’t read very widely. There were actually a few people who made money, a lot of money from predicting what would happen.

              There was even a best-selling book made about them – and the movie was a big hit too: The BIg Short

              Actually there was another guy who made even more money from the same predictions, but he would not cooperate with Michael Lewis.

              And while Alan Greenspan constantly gets it in the neck because he was then a bit of Randian, Ben Bernanke is almost never mentioned because he’s viewed as the good guy due to his Phd in, and belief in, Keynesianism. But he was as equally clueless, continuing to tell people in 2007 that although the housing market was wobbling, it couldn’t cause a general economic disaster.

              And as much as I enjoyed The Big Short, the role of government as enabler is almost unexamined, aside from some bitching about “regulators”.

            • Blazer

               /  25th February 2019

              Greenspan deserves every bit of criticism.His deregulation nonsense layed the foundations.Bernancke had to deal with it.

              The only one worth a positive mention imo is Geithner.

              It is common knowledge that quite a few bet against the sub-prime market and made plenty…just a revelation that allytoo and his associates are so prescient(after the event?)

            • alloytoo

               /  25th February 2019

              Blazey

              It was patently obvious that sooner or later NINJA (No income, no job, no assets) loans secured over properties in a housing glut (whole new suburbs standing empty) would fall due, at that point something had to give.

              Some like Greenspan were perhaps willfully ignorant, others like yourself….just dumb I guess.

  4. alloytoo

     /  25th February 2019

    the problem with millennials is that they are too young to remember the economic disaster that was the Soviet Union and are eager to use the products of evil capitalism (iPhones and Facebook) to tell everyone that they’re cleverer than the planners of the Soviet Union despite having not yet tidied their bedrooms.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  25th February 2019

      the USSR buckled under the cost of the arms race and the Cold War.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  25th February 2019

        But the US didn’t. Why?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  25th February 2019

          Because the Fed and the City through the B.I.S ,World Bank and IMF…DOMINATED INTERNATIONAL FINANCE.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  25th February 2019

            How did they get to do that and how did it screw the USSR if the USSR was a brilliant alternative?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  25th February 2019

              After the death and destruction of WW2 America emerged as the dominanting influence .
              The U.S military/industrial complex spread its tentacles over all continents.
              From Nixon on,with the abandonment of the Gold Standard the US $ became the default currency for international trade.

              Confidence in the ‘greenback’ was/is based on military might.

              As we have seen with Q.E the U.S has an infinite supply of ‘MONEY’.

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              I think there’s some truth in that. Every country invaded by Germany or taken over by their own fascist regimes got devastated in the process of kicking the Nazis & their armies to death. The US mainland never did and had easy access to talent, entrepreneurship, economies of scale, consumer spending & comparatively cheap resources within its own land mass. But Communism as practiced by the leading lights, the USSR and Mao’s PRC were economically doomed because of the nature of their repressive regimes and blind command economy ideologies that stifled develop beyond whatever was dictated by Central Command. The US could change its governments & prevailing economic ideologies.

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              *development

            • Blazer

               /  25th February 2019

              ‘The US could change its governments & prevailing economic ideologies.’

              when and how did this occur?

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              Track the programmes of different presidents.

            • Blazer

               /  25th February 2019

              I have.

              There is no change in ideology=’the business of America is…business’.

              Presidents are spokes people for the Corporations…the military/industrial complex is alive and…well.

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              It’s not business that’s the problem. Business has been the driver of Western development ever since someone came up with the idea of trading bushells of wheat and surplus of veges with money. Goes back millenia.

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              On Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave the nation a dire warning about what he described as a threat to democratic government. He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces.

              Eisenhower, a retired five-star Army general, the man who led the allies on D-Day, made the remarks in his farewell speech from the White House.

              As NPR’s Tom Bowman tells Morning Edition co-host Renee Montagne, Eisenhower used the speech to warn about “the immense military establishment” that had joined with “a large arms industry.”

              Here’s an excerpt:

              “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”

              Since then, the phrase has become a rallying cry for opponents of military expansion.

              Eisenhower gave the address after completing two terms in office; it was just days before the new president, John F. Kennedy, would be sworn in.

              Eisenhower was worried about the costs of an arms race with the Soviet Union, and the resources it would take from other areas — such as building hospitals and schools.

              Bowman says that in the speech, Eisenhower also spoke as someone who had seen the horror and lingering sadness of war, saying that “we must learn how to compose differences not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.”

              Another concern, Bowman says, was the possibility that as the military and the arms industry gained power, they would be a threat to democracy, with civilians losing control of the military-industrial complex.
              https://www.npr.org/2011/01/17/132942244/ikes-warning-of-military-expansion-50-years-later

            • Blazer

               /  25th February 2019

              once more…

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              Righto. Where’s the graphic for your working alternative now?

            • Blazer

               /  25th February 2019

              not sure I can meet your request,not before lunchtime…anyway.

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              No rush. Off down to ma’s for lunch soon myself. Sometime this afternoon would be good.

              I don’t think that graphic’s wrong. What I think is that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with capitalism as a means of development & raising living standards wherever some form of it has been adopted. I don’t like how it has evolved into global corporatism & financialism supported by rampant consumerism and the throwaway society that drives it. Interestingly enough actively supported by the millenials & following egocentric, entitled generation whatevers who rail against it and want everything for nothing because they get so much of that on the internet.

              So I’m still waiting for the cure for the problems global corporatism and financialism cause. For the new way of doing things. For what will replace these or control these.

            • Blazer

               /  25th February 2019

              this statement both endorses Capitalism and decrys its fundamental flaws..

              .’ What I think is that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with capitalism as a means of development & raising living standards wherever some form of it has been adopted. I don’t like how it has evolved into global corporatism & financialism supported by rampant consumerism and the throwaway society that drives it. ‘

              Why should a handful of private people control the creation of money supply/sovereign wealth instead of elected Govts?

              Do this handful want to give up their power and influence?

              Maintaining this system relies on damning any alternatives and embedding what is really cunning propaganda .

              Through media and misinformation spread by an army of actual millionaires and inspirational ideologists ,any meaningful change is a herculean challenge.

              Most people in the West do not understand money creation and distribution.
              They are indoctrinated from birth to accept a construct that credits Capitalism with outcomes and innovation that it does not deserve.

              Looking at the pyramid all above ‘everyone else’ are bought off ,one way or another to accept and promote the system.

              Sovereign banking reform would address inequality and lead to a happier, more peaceful world.

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              We are fortunate indeed that you understand it and have the solution and will shortly be providing the graphic that shows how it will work better for everyone, and tell us the place where it already does.

            • Blazer

               /  25th February 2019

              wasted enough time on you and your juvenile sarcasm.

              Go and watch…telly.Must be some cartoons on.

            • Gezza

               /  25th February 2019

              I don’t watch much telly, B. I accept your whining isn’t able to be backed up with anything tangible but your pet theory.

          • alloytoo

             /  25th February 2019

            Ignoring the USSR’s economic disasters prior to WW2. but hey communists love their five year plans, no matter how many famines they cause.

            Reply
            • Trevors_Elbow

               /  25th February 2019

              The peasants in the Ukraine paid the ultimate price for Blazers stupid communist philosophy….

    • Blazer

       /  25th February 2019

      so what are you and your clever associates predicting for the next 2 years?

      Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  25th February 2019

        Energy famine in Germany, Higher inflation in NZ and slowed growth. Africa will continue to be a basket case.

        Nothing hugely amazing.

        Reply
    • Blazer

       /  25th February 2019

      so Capitalism gave us Iphones and FB!!

      Can we then credit the Nazis for space travel and Communism for …ballet?

      Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  25th February 2019

        Communism can take credit for Famine’s, purges and the resulting voodoo economics.

        Reply
      • Trevors_Elbow

         /  25th February 2019

        What has communism got to do with Ballet pray tell? Ballet was a major art before the mad Bolsheviks came to power… you trying to rewrite history in the classic commie style again!

        Reply
  5. Finbaar Rustle

     /  25th February 2019

    I know I speak on behalf of every one at YNZ when I say we have a wonderful Government led by the delightful Jacinda.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th February 2019

      Only the 10 year olds who post here. There’s only one.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  25th February 2019

        I hope that Finbaar’s joking.

        I don’t want a delightful PM (and don’t think that she is), I want a competent one.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  25th February 2019

          Finbaar thinks he’s joking. Actually he’s plonking. Same as before.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  25th February 2019

            Do you think ???? He seems less, er, ah, literate and less verbose.

            He may think that he’s being clever.

            Reply
  6. Blazer

     /  25th February 2019

    Reply
  7. Blazer

     /  25th February 2019

    and one for the..faithful…

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  25th February 2019

      Yep. Those huge corporate tax cuts, Donald got. The spending goes on and the deficit will rocket

      Reply
  8. The Consultant

     /  25th February 2019

    One of the funny aspects of this is that when US Millennials and Gen Z’s have been surveyed in a bit more detail it turns out that by “socialism” they don’t want the State to take over Apple, Facebook, Google and such. That actually scares the hell out of them.

    They just want the State to take over other businesses they don’t like.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th February 2019

      Huh? Evidence?

      Reply
    • The Consultant

       /  25th February 2019

      Asking for “proof” when it’s just polling is a big ask, but for what its worth, here’s a 2014 Reason-Rupe survey:

      As that picture shows, when the question is “Capitalism” vs “Socialism” it’s 52% vs. 42% in this survey. But when the question is defined as “Free Market Economy” vs “Government Managed Economy it’s 64% vs 32%.

      The difference is probably explained by an earlier survey from CBS/New York Times in 2010 that found that only 16 percent of millennials could define socialism as government ownership of the economy.

      My experience of NZ Millennials and Gen Z’s is that they’re not very happy with existing capitalism, for which I can hardly blame them as a lot of it seems like crony capitalism.

      And man – do they hate Baby Boomers, at least if my kids, their friends and their Tumblr/Reddit/Twitter worlds are anything to go by.

      I’d also bet the old rules will apply too, where as people increase their income and wealth levels they become increasingly resistant to increased taxation. You can jump up and down about “selfishness”, but it seems to be how humans are wired.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  25th February 2019

        Ah, yes, well they think that because they don’t realise how little most of us earned when we got our first jobs and had to pay board to mum. They think what their parents have & have bought for them, like their cellphones, tablets, and laptops, were easy to get because they’re still young and stupid. The ones who have got jobs in fish and chip shops and supermarkets to pay their way through Uni don’t think like that.

        Reply
  9. Corky

     /  25th February 2019

    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/business/muffin-break-boss-natalie-brennan-slams-entitled-millennials/

    Quote:

    ”These days, she notices candidates often walk in to interviews “thinking they’re better than the job”, immediately asking, “How long before I get my promotion? When is the first payrise?”

    In one case after she ended the interview early, the candidate “sent me an abusive email saying I was underpaying, but then said, ‘If you pay X amount more I’ll come and work for you'”.

    “People are clueless”, she said.”

    No guesses on how this experiment will pan out.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th February 2019

      That’s her real moan.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  25th February 2019

        It’s a contentious issue for me. I can see both sides.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  25th February 2019

        Muffin Break general manager Natalie Brennan has issued a statement apologising for comments about Millennials and unpaid work that went viral over the weekend.

        The Foodco-owned franchise chain and its GM copped a major online backlash after Brennan said in an interview with news.com.au that young people were no longer willing to do work experience, internships or unpaid work to advance their careers.

        “The recent article does not reflect my values or those of Foodco,” Brennan said in a statement published on the Muffin Break Facebook page on Monday morning.

        “Every day for the last 25 years I’ve worked with young people who are motivated, passionate and hardworking. This is as true today as it was when I started my career.

        “I don’t expect anyone to work unpaid and Foodco Group policy is, and has always been, that all employees including interns, employed either directly or through our brands are paid according to relevant awards.

        “The unpaid work I referred to was supervised programs run through schools, TAFEs or universities, which provide valuable gained experience to people before they enter the workforce full-time. I want to apologise for any misunderstanding or upset caused by my comments.”
        . . . . .

        “I think everybody thinks social media is going to get them ahead somewhere. There’s definitely that inflated view of their self-importance because they have X amount of Instagram followers or this many likes. That’s dangerous.”

        Many seized on the comments to highlight instances of Muffin Break franchisees underpaying staff. It comes as a parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s franchise sector prepares to release its final report.

        One Muffin Break franchisee said in a submission to the inquiry last year he was told to “to consider underpaying staff that I can trust”. Foodco said in response at the time that it “strongly refutes this false allegation”.
        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12207132

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  25th February 2019

          Next time she’ll need to get her ducks in a row.( if there is a next time). Because as the clip below show. take on Millennials, you take on social media. And social media is the home of Moronsville.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  25th February 2019

            Social media is screwing the Millennials but they’re too self-absorbed to notice it yet.

            Reply
  10. The Consultant

     /  25th February 2019

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  25th February 2019

      ”Are you firing me?”

      ”Yes.”

      The boss had to enter her fantasy world to make himself understood. Very well done.

      It would really be funny if it wasn’t so close to the truth.

      Reply
  11. PartisanZ

     /  25th February 2019

    Someday in the future we’ll look back on the era of neoliberalism as a temporary glitch or more accurately a ‘corporate-political elites’ manufactured anomaly’ in Humankind’s development towards genuine Democratic Socialism …

    Hopefully sooner rather than later …

    Millenials know things must change … because they know that most of the jobs they apply for are meaningless, useless or shortly to become redundant …

    Consultant, your video would have been just as funny with the roles reversed …

    “So, like, what do I do in this job?”

    It’s no longer that we need to work to ‘make’ enough money to pay everybody …

    From now-ish onwards ‘going forward’ we’ll have to somehow make enough money to pay nearly everyone not to work … and to work by freedom of choice, not economic compulsion.

    That’s the true Millennial challenge …

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th February 2019

      Millenials know things must change … because they know that most of the jobs they apply for are meaningless, useless or shortly to become redundant …

      Exactly. We knew the same thing.

      Reply
  12. Corky

     /  25th February 2019

    ”Millenials know things must change … because they know that most of the jobs they apply for are meaningless, useless or shortly to become redundant …”

    Stop making excuses for nihilism. If Millenials think that, they should F-off and start their own businesses, like other Millenials have done.

    If not, they should get with the programme like everyone else.

    Reply
  13. I’ve always spoke bluntly. The more closer to the idea, the better. Obviously, I’m not a rhetoric specialist, and as such, won’t garner many supporter who are looking for star power. To understand government and freedom, all one has to do is observe people: individuals, families, and neighborhoods. We understand what motivates people. We also understand which motivations encourages the greater responsibilities and freedoms.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  14th March 2019

      well done your stance is as clear as….mud!

      Reply
      • Continue reading other comments.

        Reply
        • Mother

           /  17th March 2019

          Please do Dolphin. Take no notice of the negative people. They clarify your stance with stupid and selfish comments but I know it can feel unpleasant on the receiving end.

          You’re not here to gain supporters though are you? Your intelligent word is enough for maintaining your private comfort.

          No one needs star power. We need truth and freedom.

          Reply
  1. ‘Millennial socialism’ versus capitalism — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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