Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Orange Booker Slur, part 3

This part coincides nicely with Chris Huhne entering the leadership race. Based on my current rate of progress, Susan Kramer should declare at the weekend.

Iain Sharpe points me to an earlier review of the Orange Book, making similar arguments perhaps. But the slur persists and so will I. And as the term is not Orange Book chapter fiver or sevener, I shall proceed through these unobjectionable chapters until my detractors are bored into submission. Within chapters I will cut to the chase.

Taking Global Governance, Legitimacy and Renewal I have trawled pages of cogent analysis for anything that might give away a hidden right-wing agenda, much as I did in part 2.

I find a balanced discussion of globalisation. A failure to condemn it as an unmitigated evil that will horrify Greens and Socialist Workers, but need not trouble us. The impacts of globalisation on inequality and the environment are recognised.

On Kyoto, Huhne comments that "... a greater effort will have to be made to persuade the USA that there are other ways of meeting Kyoto commitments than higher fuel taxes ...[such as] intensified research and development into non-emitting technologies." While such R&D is something the USA now talks about as an alternative to Kyoto, it is also a sound policy to follow while supporting Kyoto. American obstinacy is recognised but not justified.

On economic governance, Huhne decries the degree of austerity typically required by the IMF, and speaks approvingly of a Chilean system of capital control on short term money. The latter is preferred to the Tobin Tax, popular on the left. Whether the Tobin Tax should be popular with liberals would depend I hope on its practical consequences. As Huhne makes practical arguments against it beyond my competence to judge, I will defer to him.

Huhne is not alarmed by the threat of international competition leading to a "race to the bottom on environmental and labour standards, and on taxation" observing that corporate taxation and the tax burden as a whole is stable or rising in most developed countries. Also that in the USA there is not an observable race to the bottom between states. These are fears of the left, and now of Greens determined not to recognise any progress. While right wingers would relish a race to the bottom, social and economic liberals do not fear it because it isn't happening. The benefits of trade outweigh the costs.

Next up, chapter 5: Liberal Economics and Social Justice by Vince Cable.

1 comment:

Iain Sharpe said...

Hi, Joe.

My reference was intended to be positive and I hope was taken as such. But being aware of the earlier review I thought it was wrong not to acknowledge it. I am enjoying your trawl through the Orange Book and salute your doggedness.