Bread And Circuses
We begin with the dawn of the age of the intern, roughly thirty years ago, with the politicization of legislators and the final divorce of government from economic sanity. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were the last two Western leaders who had any real grasp over the actual running of a country. The interns “disease,” as we may call it, was already biting hard, but it took until roughly 2000 before governments around the world had fallen mostly into the hands of a political class of “operators” who when they came into power naturally reached out to the “think-tanks” and the “multilaterals” such as the OECD for their policies, having none of their own. It is unfortunate, but may have been inevitable, that the period of “government by proxy” that ensued was one which saw a largely left-wing set of leaders in power, while at the same time the level of “bread and circuses” (let’s call them entitlements) grew beyond the capacity of governments to finance them. The result, whatever mechanism was involved, was the emergence of a new fiscal revenue-raising paradigm that threw all restraint out of the window, and has now become the norm for all parties in all countries. Don’t forget that the interns now spend all of their time with each other and none with you and me. When was then last time that you heard anyone praise individual wealth? or entrepreneurial achievement? (except on The Apprentice, of course, where the business world is treated as just another aspect of the shadow-play that dominates our economic lives).