“There is no alternative” was a favourite phrase of Margaret Thatcher’s in the 1980s. No alternative to free markets, free trade and capitalist globalisation. No matter what the cost to communities or to individuals, she argued, there was no alternative to free market economics.
In my last post I began to explore the question posed by the Northumbria Community, “how then shall we live?” In particular, how shall we live a faithful life when we are living in thrall to a system of global free-market capitalism that is tantamount to living under the control of an empire? This empire, as all empires do, maintains its control by the constant assertion ‘there is no alternative’ and by the suppression of all attempts to propose alternatives.
The problem for those living under an empire is that in some ways there is no alternative. No matter what we think about global capitalism, each of us is part of the system. The simple fact of having a pension or a mortgage and of being a consumer of products and brands means that we are enmeshed in the system and in some ways dependent upon it. And let’s be honest, no matter how we feel about it, those of us living in the west benefit from this system at the expense of most of the world’s population. Read more