Samir’s Selection 04/09/2013 (p.m.)

  • Rather than questioning the prevalence of such poverty and social breakdown, we have opted instead for another exercise in middle-class self regard… 

    But there is no sense of mission to this modern middle class; none of that energy which used to surround the enlightening, civilising, faith-driven function of the British bourgeoisie. This is about Ikea and Facebook, not the anti-Corn Law League or battle for female suffrage.
    What the Great British Class Survey confirms is a loss of collective sensibility. For better or worse, social class as it has been known for 200 years is headed towards Marxism’s grave. We are back to the world of Harrison, with its minutely gradated chain of being. And the sense of agency and purpose which Thompson once heralded is now overshadowed by a precariat with “neither voice nor authoritie in the common wealthe”.

    tags: UK socialclass wealth trend inequality Marx 2013 TristramHunt

  • taxes as a share of the gross domestic product in Britain actually increased sharply during Mrs. Thatcher’s first seven years in office before falling in the later years. Even at the end, they were significantly higher than they were when she took office. Spending also rose during her first seven years before falling in Mrs. Thatcher’s later years… 

    More importantly, Mrs. Thatcher paid for her 1979 tax cut by nearly doubling the value-added tax to 15 percent, from 8 percent… 

    Although Mrs. Thatcher privatized many British industries and businesses that had been nationalized after World War II and sold off much of Britain’s public housing, in which the bulk of the working class lived, she did little to reduce the size of the nation’s welfare state.

    tags: Thatcher USpolitics myth propaganda journalism factchecking MartinWolf

  • tags: Thatcher Krugman myth legacy UK

  • The curious feature of Mrs. Thatcher’s legacy is that although she struck an ax-blow deep into the heart of Britain, it is society, not the political sphere, that remains deeply divided by a widening gap between rich and poor.
    By contrast, the country’s politics have almost ceased to be ideological, as if exhausted by the Thatcher era. All the main British political parties now strive for the center ground, and the differences between them are about managerial style, not questions of principle.

    tags: Thatcher legacy obituary ACGrayling UK

  • That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power. “Respecting the grief” of Thatcher’s family members is appropriate if one is friends with them or attends a wake they organize, but the protocols are fundamentally different when it comes to public discourse about the person’s life and political acts. I made this argument at length last year when Christopher Hitchens died and a speak-no-ill rule about him was instantly imposed (a rule he, more than anyone, viciously violated)… 

    Demanding that no criticisms be voiced to counter that hagiography is to enable false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts, distortions that become quickly ossified and then endure by virtue of no opposition and the powerful emotions created by death. When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms.

    tags: journalism editorialpolicy death obituary Thatcher

  • Open Culture surveys the top 10 reasons people don’t finish online courses.

    tags: MOOC studying

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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