The Failure of Fusionism

The basic point: Schumpter-ist “creative destruction”, around which ideas of the free market work, imply risk for the regular guy. Companies rise and fall, entrepreneurs try and fail and try something else, the system continually and auto-magically adjusts to divert resources to where they’re needed (and takes them away from where they’re less productive). This is inherently a risky setup for the regular guy; no guarantees, no security.

On the other hand, the conservative outlook, which prizes stability and the tried-and-true. The article describes the adoption of a “Fusion-ism” by the right-wing political parties around the globe, which was constructed from a reaction against the top-down economies of the Communist states leading to a wholesale adoption of free markets (Thatcher, Reagan) married to a social outlook that prized maintenance of the status quo. But the social status quo is the first to go when liberal economics is embraced wholesale (globalization, zero-hour contracts, automation, …) so the marriage is increasingly untenable. Conservatism reverts to type when it ditches the economics and devotes all its energy to preserving things in aspic, or reverting to some idealized long-ago.

Seems obvious when you look at it. The more risk a given experiment takes, the less likely that the experiment will be performed. Isn’t the solution to mitigate the risk, while embracing the freedom? As individuals, we feel more in a position to take economic risks when we have a solid economic platform from which to move. If we are living on the edge, we’re going to be as risk-averse as possible. Therefore, as a society, if we want to encourage the flowering of the new that happens when people try things, shouldn’t we be putting in place good safety nets that provide everyone with a solid platform from which to experiment? The less sufficient the safety net, the more risk-averse everyone will become and the more mired in the present and the past the society will remain. Isn’t that why countries like the Scandahoovian nations, New Zealand, Germany and so on are where the American Dream is living now?

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