Features

I was Ralph Miliband's research assistant, and this is what he was like

He didn't hate Britain, but he did want it to be Communist

19 October 2013

9:00 AM

19 October 2013

9:00 AM

‘You can work as research assistant to Ralph Miliband.’ Thus my tutor at the London School of Economics gave me the news that he had found a way for me to finance my first year of study for an intended PhD on the Labour party’s housing policy between the world wars.

The idea was that for twelve months between 1964 and 1965 I would help analyse the changing occupational structure of the British workforce by comparing statistics contained in the 1851 census with those in the 1951 census. As a first step, my new boss took me for a drink in the coffee bar next door to the main entrance of the LSE.

Our discussion about the intended project went well. We were both enthusiasts for demographic statistical analysis. But then we got on to politics and the rest of our meeting was a social disaster. The problem was that I had very strong views on the tyranny of mind and body that I had seen the previous year when on a trip to the Communist bloc countries with the LSE chess club.

In the coffee bar I persisted in describing to Ralph my experience of Communist regimes. In Prague I had walked through a dark and shadowy Wenceslas Square with the chairman of the Prague chess club. He had been educated in Brighton and longed for freedom of speech. He was too terrified to speak to us in a building, and even in the deserted square he spoke in whispers.

In Hungary, I had sat in a sidewalk café in front of a wall riddled with bullet holes; holes created when people had been shot during the 1956 uprising.

I went on to describe the train journey from Budapest to Moscow. One of our party had asked our young Intourist guide if the watch towers we could see in the distance belonged to a concentration camp. Our guide, the son of a senior Russian official, had replied, ‘There are no concentration camps in the Soviet Union.’ When asked how he knew this, he said, ‘My father told me.’ The members of the LSE chess club had collapsed into fits of giggles.


Then there was the trip to the Hermitage. There we were banned from looking at any pictures other than the ones prescribed by our guide. If any member of our party tried to wander towards another picture that had caught their eye, our guide would shout: ‘Not that picture. This picture.’

And as I told Ralph, things got even worse when we went on to Poland and East Germany. Warsaw seemed freer; but I was none too keen on the soldiers lying on the railway embankments with their guns aimed at the underside of our train looking for escapees to shoot.

As for East Germany: I had been terrified by the sight of military police parading through the streets and training their guns under the bridges so they could shoot anybody who tried to escape to the West by swimming along the river. I could not see how all this authoritarianism benefited people either mentally or physically. Some people seemed to be near starvation, and the streets of East Berlin seemed to have more horses and carts than cars.

When I got to describing my cynicism at seeing a newspaper poster saying ‘Walter Ulbricht 99 per cent certain of being elected’, I realised just how agitated Ralph had become. He sprang to Ulbricht’s defence, and appeared to be blind to the East German dictator’s failings — he even refused to condemn the building of the Berlin Wall. I realised that Ralph was an enthusiast for the very regimes I had come to hate. In my three years at LSE as an undergraduate, I had sat through many a lecture and coffee bar discussion in which Marxists looked forward to the contradictions in capitalism leading to its collapse and to the advent of the dictatorship of the proletariat. But I was appalled by how hardline Ralph Miliband was. He must have known of the hardship suffered by people in Communist countries, but for him, I suppose, the end justified the means. The Communist countries were heading towards a Marxist heaven. There might be teething problems on the way; but things were better in East Germany than in Britain.

Ralph did not hate Britain. He just wanted to make it better by transforming it into a Communist state, and that meant destroying a lot of Britain’s social institutions because they promoted and buttressed social in-equality. The dictatorship of the proletariat would be preferable to Harold Wilson’s Labour government.

Despite our political dispute, I began work on the census volumes, but soon there were problems. The 1851 census volume on which I initially worked was owned by University College London. I used it each day while sitting at a table in a building that belonged to UCL in Flaxman Terrace near Euston station.

One morning I discovered that somebody had stolen the census volume overnight. Ralph was furious. Instead of blaming the security at UCL, he blamed me. The volume was very valuable and I would have to pay for it from my £750-a-year salary, he said. I refused to do so and he did climb down, but our relationship never really recovered.

The LSE also had a copy of the 1851 census, so I moved to work in its library. Unfortunately, the small print and bad lighting affected my eyes and my GP told me I should hand in my notice to preserve my eyesight. Ralph refused to accept it. ‘You undertook to work for me for a year’ was his response to my plight. So I soldiered on, only to be told a few months later that the computer on which my statistics were to be analysed was no longer available. With apologies, Ralph was making me redundant after six months.

Fortunately, the Labour party advertised that very week for a research assistant on housing policy and, given my projected PhD, I was ideally suited for the job. I clinched it when the chairman of Labour’s interviewing panel put it to me that: ‘You are married, so presumably you would be willing to accept the lowest pay grade?’

I swallowed my pride and feminism and said yes, because I needed the job. But I was learning that those who pontificate most loudly about the rights of the workers en masse are often those who, faced with an individual worker, can be less than perfect in their treatment of that worker. And as for the PhD — it never got written.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Ann Carlton was a special adviser to Tony Crosland and John Silkin, and was local government officer for the Labour party from 1966 to 1974.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • The subcaption reads, “He didn’t hate Britain, but he did want it to be Communist”

    What does “…but he did want it to be Communist” mean? If those are the words
    that Ralph Miliband used, then he didn’t know what he was talking about.

    • Part II

      Formulated on October 20, 2013, 7:30 AM EST

      Proof that Marx’s Law of Value (which posits that labor is the sole source of value, imputing that value into commodities) is in error:

      If all the machines created throughout the history of man were to have been kept within the confines of the minds of their creators, that is never manufactured, would such machines have value in a Marxist sense? Yes, they would have POTENTIAL value!

  • allymax bruce

    Ann, Ralph Miliband obviously did hate Britain, if he wanted it to become Communist; the absolute history, culture, and archetypal ethos of ‘Britain’, is fundamenally Capitalist, and vehemently opposed to Communism.
    But let’s actually look at what Communism is; it is basically an ordered ‘file’ of drone workers, that by the command of the bourgeois ‘rank’, are maintained by a Marxist Timocracy. Where the ‘person’ is ‘directed’ to become Proletariat pupae, of which, is droned to Communist ethos, to ‘aspire’ to bourgeois status; all controlled by the Marxist doors, eyes, & union-jack boots. Marx suggested the ‘workers of the world unite’, simply to give them a common cause; to let them think they had moral worth in their community; and this drove dreams of ‘feminine’ acceptance, (as Hitler would say), so, yes, they did see themselves as workers united, but the Marxists seen them for what they really were, as insect scum!
    It’s all for nothing because the trade unions, who were supposed to be the Communists, are f**kin pig-thick stupid; they do the bidding of their Marxist bosses, then lose their jobs, houses, families, etc because the Marxist-Zionist Corporatists must control all forms of everything; Capitalism only being the outward economy, where-as, the physical, (as you described in your essay here), is also controlled through military-style indoctrination to desensitise the corporate body of the human condition, with sensory dissonance. Have you ever noticed how the bureaucracy has ‘gotten’ so intolerable, rude, ignorant, insincere & impolite? All part of the ‘re-education’ of society.
    Those that espouse Marxist theory, are too stupid to realise they are only functioning their own demise; like lemmings, happy to jump off economic, moral, ethical, cultural, and spiritual ‘cliffs’, to ‘join’ the malicious mantra ‘workers of the world unite’. It’s a con; Marxism is the most harmful entity of Man; it cannot extinguish Capitalism, because Capitalism is a Natural gift of God, not a pseudo-contrived issue of Man! Marxism is Man at its worst; Capitalsim is Nature at its best. The most beautiful things come from Capitalism; a new-born baby cries for the tender touch and nurture of its mother, and its mother tends to her Loving cup with a free, and fair exchange of ‘goods’. This happens in all of God’s Creatures; because it’s a Natural entity of Good. What is ‘popularly’ known as capitalism, is of Man’s making; not God. Marxism is a Man-made evil too; just watch how Labour lie to us about everything, and people believe them, and stupidly vote for them; evil!

    • rtj1211

      Actually, the history of Britain is that of Monarchy.

      Monarchs didn’t earn their money through superiority, they earned it through war and coercion.

      Of course, if rape, looting and pillage is part of your capitalist manifesto, then say so.

      But that is Britain’s history and capitalism is a minor aberration.

      Where in capitalism do you place electronic surveillance and theft for commercial gain?? Perhaps you’d like to ask how Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg et al have been given God’s right to carry that out???? Well????

      You have just as big a fantasy as Marxists, because capitalism is dirty, full of cheating, breaks every rule of the Christianity that its proponents go on at such length about and is always characterised by the overseers of probity being in the pockets of those with most power and hence most immoral.

      You’ll be telling me next you compete on a level playing field.

      I”m no Marxist, but I have no rose-tinted spectacles about capitalism.

      It’s manifestations in the real world, as opposed to the fantasies in your mind, are just as evil to the many.

      I think you are still a little boy at heart, just entered into emotional adolescence. You’d be ripe for a happy clappy to convert you to God, because you’re filled with joyous delusions of a world that doesn’t exist.

      • allymax bruce

        Actually, the history of the world is that of Man; Monarchy was requested by Samuel the prophet, and demanded by Saul. Monarchs earned their money through the ‘human condition’; that of Man. If you don’t know what that means, then it’s pointless me debating with you. However, all bad things are done in the name of Man, made in the image of god; it’s all in the Bible, you just need to look for them. Rape, looting, pillage are nothing new to Scotland; yoos Engerlish should know that!
        Capitalism, in its purest form, is what I have described; a Free & Fair Exchange of ‘Goods’; all else, (popular ideals of what capitalism is), is ‘that of Man’. I don’t expect you to understand that neither!
        Marxism is a facet of Man, at its worst; it’s you who is wearing the rose tinted glasses if you can’t see this, then it explains why you believe the Love of Spirit, that Free & Fair exchange of Goods, that are the foremost definition of Morality, that exists between Mother & Child, between Man & Nature, between Man & God, in His Spirit, is, and I quote you, “just as evil to the many”.
        If I am a little boy at heart, then I am ready to be accepted into God’s Kingdom; read your Bible rjt1211, it’s all in there. Somebody once asked me how many books I had read; I answered ‘many until I realised I only needed to read one’.
        The World does exist, and so does God’s Kingdom; I kinda like you rjt1211, because you’re willing to accept there’s a difference.

    • Terry Crow

      So says a Tory drone……”Capitalism is a Natural gift of God” – Lol!

      • allymax bruce

        Terry, I once defined what ‘laughter’ was on the blog at Ian Hamilton QC; I think it was an article in 2011; look it up, you’ll surprise yourself!

  • Bonkim

    Interesting reflection. Having travelled around 1960s Eastern Europe, many there appeared much happier and better educated that the average Brit of the era. Factories, the subway and public places much better kept, high art rather than naked women in British work-places, what hit you was that all workers had some sort of equality, provided with the basics of life – an apartment, a job, good education for the youngsters, neighbourhood 24 hour medical clinics, etc.

    Although wage differential was practically non-existent, most appeared to have a car (in Czechoslovakia), and had a place to go to the country during weekends. Not jazzy but functional and friendly. A university Professor i met in bombed out Dresden would not want to change his system and waitresses on the Danube boats were interested in discussing British literature.

    Class, racial and ethnic barriers were also low with many from Asia and Africa enrolled in East European Universities, and training in industries.

    Their systems had some advantages and although seen to have failed internationally, socialist states had a lot going for them.

    • “In purchasing power parity terms workers in countries like Czechoslovakia and East Germany had higher living standards and quality of life compared with their counterparts in Britain or the US.”

      Thanks to Soviet oil subsidies, which oil was sold at a 50% discount! Of course, having purchasing power is fine, but having something to purchase with it is another matter all together.

      “A university Professor i met in bombed out Dresden would not want to change his system and waitresses on the Danube boats were interested in discussing British literature.”

      Talk about capital misplacement, and those waitresses better not discuss anything critical of the government, otherwise one of the waitresses, a Stasi agent, will inform and the next time the other waitresses are discussing British literature, it’s with their friendly local Stasi intelligence officer.

      • Bonkim

        You have no clue the real situation – 1950s and 60s was also the time when those who sowed any liberal tendencies were hounded as Reds and hounded by the Police and the FBI in the US, blacks being lynched for going out with white girls, there was a restriction to how much money you could take out of Britain (endorsed in your passport), British workers were always on strike, slums in Nottingham and other British cities, etc, etc.

        Comparisons involve the average man or woman on the street and don’t think the secret police terrorised everyone in the way you suggest. Not sure if you have any first hand experience – simply repeating sentiments you have picked up from others.

        Yes there were restrictions to citizens from the Soviet Block to travel outside their countries but internally they had many countries they could travel and enjoy their holidays and most took the opportunity. Even if the freedoms existed, how many people in the West could afford to travel or enjoy the luxuries that they could buy freely?

        • Colin

          That would be why hardly any of them were desperate to get away from their workers paradise and why they vehemently opposed the collapse of soviet socialism. You could be correct, everyone I’ve ever spoken to from the former soviet bloc, absolutely loved the idea that they could be arrested, imprisoned or worse for daring to criticise the regime. BTW, I’m related to people who fled Czechoslovakia in the 70’s.

          You’re deluded (Or the ghost of comrade ralph) if you think that what was basically a giant concentration camp was in any way preferable to a council house in Nottingham.

          • rtj1211

            He’s asking you whether you were a KKK supporter, whether you considered freedom of expression existed in the 1950s in the USA (or whether it still does today) and whether capitalism benefitted the workers as much as communism did.

            It’s a legitimate question you’ve answered with ad hominems.

            It rather suggests you can’t answer it.

            Who has said that the Soviet Union was a perfect place??

            But what is being contended is that the UK and the US were far from being perfect either….

          • Colin

            I’m not in any way defending bad stuff that took place in the USA or the UK twenty years before I was born. But trying excuse or explain away a regime of almost unparalleled evil that basically enslaved an entire continent for fifty years, in the name of a vile political ideology, is not on. The idea that soviet socialism was some kind of unfortunate blip, where merely a few eggs were broken, trying to make a great big socialist omelette is obnoxious. I don’t support the KKK and given the choice, I’d choose the council estate in Nottingham any day.

        • “You have no clue to the real situation – 1950s and 60s were also the time when those who showed any liberal tendencies were hounded as Reds and rounded up by the Police and the FBI in the US, blacks being lynched for going out with white girls, discrimination and exploitation rampant, restriction on how much money you could take out of Britain (endorsed in your passport), British workers were always on strike, slums in Nottingham and other British cities, etc, etc.”

          You’re unaware that Western political parties were co-opted by Moscow & allies back in the 1930s, which is (1) why the West allowed China to turn Communist in 1949; and (2) why Western political parties refused to send investigative teams into East Bloc and the USSR to determine if their “collapses” were legitimate, or if the the whole “collapse” claim was just that.

        • greggf

          Well Bonkim, my experience of Russia in the 1970s is stereo- typical of the soviet surveillance state!
          An internal passport was needed by engineers to leave Moscow or Leningrad (now St Petersburg).
          External passports to leave Russia were unobtainable – and we invited a few back to Blighty.
          Hotel rooms in Moscow were monitored for entry and exit.
          Two menus existed in restaurants; one for Russians, and one for Russians with western visitors.
          Payment for taxis in western goodies from the hard currency Berioskas was preferred to Roubles.
          Hotels outside Moscow and Leninrad were typical parodies of hotels!
          Plenty of queues at the Russian shops….
          Etc.

          Mind you I didn’t see any immigrants or migrants there – unless all those white girls on the trains, in the hotels, in the bars, on the streets asking for help were foreign…..?

        • Baron

          Bonkim, you bonkers or what?

          How could anyone enjoying the freedoms this country still offers (thanks God) brush aside the restrictions on the freedom to travel so lightly? Even if one got (say) in Czechoslovakia the visa to go to the USSR, one couldn’t move freely within the Soviet Union. One broke the restriction one was back on the train to one’s home country, and would never be given permission to travel again.

          More to the point, in Russia nobody could travel beyond it’s own region without permission. The whole country resembled a Gulag.

          Why TF didn’t you move to this paradise before it went belly up, why are you still pissing around here?

      • Weaver

        Bonkim’s economic claims are just made of whole cloth. There’s no point trying to explain them; they’re completely fictitiious. He has no evidence for them whatsoever.

        • Notice how Bonkim went silent right after I said, “…Western political parties were co-opted by Moscow & allies back in the 1930s, which is (1) why the West allowed China to turn Communist in 1949; and (2) why Western political parties refused to send investigative teams into East Bloc nations and the USSR to determine if their “collapses” were legitimate. Imagine that, the West not the least bit concerned for its survival!

          Now you know why the West is self-destructing via its foreign policy, and destroying its economies and civil liberties at home…all tasked by Moscow & allies. Who else?”

          • Weaver

            He also edited his post to remove false claims I called him on. Then started talking loudly about something else. Classy operator, this Bonkim!

      • Baron

        Spot on, Dean Jackson.

    • Colin

      I wonder how they felt about the mass murder, abject subjugation, restriction of movement and lack of basic human rights, inflicted upon them by people like comrade ralph ?

      I wonder how many of them were able to acquire the kind of assets comrade ralph managed and how many of them were able to protect those assets from the state (via taxation) like comrade ralph.

      I doubt very much if comrade ralph woke up every day and looked into the mirror and growled “I f&cking hate this place” But, I’m absolutely sure that, like the modern Welfare (labour) party, he utterly despised the people & institutions who were/are the backbone of this country.

      • Bonkim

        Hypothetical questions by people that have no clue of the times.

        People in Eastern Europe lived normal lives – normal is surrounded by familial places and people and a system that people understand and rules that people live by.

        People in the eastern block did not live in eternal paranoia or unhappiness that they could not travel to Disneyland or eat a Big Mac.

        Most lived happy family lives and contented – there were some that engaged in smuggling of foreign luxuries or attempting to run away, and yes they were looked upon as traitors and could not return until the Soviet system collapsed.

        No point speculating what Ralph Miliband thought or aspired to or whether he wasted time comparing his worldly possessions in Britain compared with what he had in CZ. Doubt if he hated Britain or the British and if he wanted Britain to alter its underlying political philosophy, he will not be the first one.

        • Baron

          Would you accept someone living in Eastern Europe would have a clue of the times there?

          What makes you to be the judge of whether people would have or would not have wanted to travel to Disneyland or consume a Big Mac. What if some did?

          And you reckon if someone who tried to flee the ‘paradise’, avoided getting shot at the double border, should have been sent down for it?

          Do you even know the Red Menace constructed a fake border with Western Germany, behind which everything was in German, houses, signposts, the Full Monty, even the border guards were dressed in German uniforms…. those fleeing thought they’ve made it, knocked on the fake police station, told the fake defenders of freedom everything, then got sent down in speedy trials to slave in uranium mines for decades?

      • The problem I am now seeing is that far too many people who have never lived in, nor understood, the Socialist paradise that existed behind the iron curtain seem to think that it would be a viable system today. They think that it would be fairer and more “natural” than our market based democracies.

        I have lived in a communist country. Nobody owns anything and nothing can protect you from the state. If you fall foul of a neighbor who has better connections than you your life can turn to shit in a heartbeat and there is nothing you can do about it. No matter how good you are at your job you have no career without political connections. No matter how long you have lived somewhere you can have your occupancy overturned for no obvious reasons.

        The market economy rewards ability, the socialist economy rewards political reliability only. Communism/ Socialism is crap because it can only be sustained by repression, fear and intellectual violence. Capitalism allows you to get on and move up no matter who you are and it does not depend on violent coercion for its survival. I know because I have lived in both worlds and there is nothing good or positive or humane about communism.

    • Weaver

      Do you have any data to support your laughable claims on PPP-adjusted per capita incomes?

      Let me save you the effort…

      http://dev3.cepr.org/meets/wkcn/1/1699/papers/Broadberry_Klein.pdf
      http://www.ggdc.net/maddison/Historical…/horizontal-file_02-2010.xls

      This data of course flatters Eastern performance due to the lack of a pricing mechanism (do you really think that Skoda is as good as a Volkswagon?) and overvalued exchange rates. Even so, The states of Eastern Europe never come close to Western Europe in per capita income, let alone the US, in 1960 or whenever. Tell a plausible lie next time, you socialist troll. Don’t insult those of us who are numerate with qualifications in economics and history.

      • Bonkim

        We are not having an academic discussion on rates of consumption. Skoda fulfilled its purpose in Czechoslovakia as did the VW in Germany. Skoda was a hardy car for the Czech roads running on low octane petrol.

        Per capita income, etc, is meaningless to the way people lived and a fair amount of trade with the Soviet block was barter with various countries – China, india, Africa, Latin America, etc.

        Beyond the basics of life, superfluous consumption or production values mean little in that context – there may be a Mac index but not everyone eats a big-Mac, a bowl of rice or bread and sausage is quite satisfactory at a few pfennings. Beer for example in Eastern Germany was 50 pfennings for half litre in the restaurant in the river boat and I have stayed in the Hotel Adlon (gold plated bath suit and painted ceilings) in 1966 for the equivalent if GBP£2, and similar rates at the top hotel in Dresden. In Britain £2 got you a cheap B&B.

        By and large the general public in the East were contented, and happy, welcoming – not stressed and rearing to jump over the wall to some sort of a Capitalist heaven. Economic statistics did not mean much to them. Most were well educated regardless of their work status, and woman’s equality was real – train drivers to Doctors and University Professors women were employed at every level.

        there was a lot of western propaganda in such matters.

        • Baron

          Economic statistics may not have meant much for the hoi polloi, the scarcity of goods did. Baron recalls queuing to buy a pound of bananas for Christmas (the max quantity allowed) as a present, imports from Yugoslavia sold almost exclusively under the counter, the luckyones who had access to Western currency could buy goods in special shops called Tuzex. The official rate for the dollar was 7 to 1, on the black market 35 to 1. A paradise, is it?

          And you, Bomkin, keen today on a bowl of rice, sausage and bread each day, are you?

          • Bonkim

            Yes – imported commodities were scarce and yes there was a black market or those in privileged positions had better access.

            That was the state in many countries around the world during the period and bananas were not that common in Britain either. The had plenty of beer, Slibovice, and many local delicacies – why complain about imported things if you had enough of local seasonal goodies.

            Don’t compare today’s world economy and consumer society that has to keep growing if not to collapse – which by the way is the main cause of the population explosion that is depleting world resources and in the not distant future leading to curtains up for mankind.

          • Weaver

            Ha! Scratch a communist and you find a deep green underneath!

            Your views would have horrified Marx, who if nothing else was propounding a doctrine of abundance on a global scale. Not rationing and local subsistence! Hilariously, you’re a Marxist who doesn’t even understand Marxism. C’mon, admit it; you haven’t actually read/understood Das Kapital, have you? You don’t have the maths skills for it….

            I also like the way you edit your posts to remove false claims you get called on. Classy, that.

            Oh, and “curtains up” (sic) means the start of the performance, not the end. You’re so funny in a “he needs care” sort of way.

          • Bonkim

            New continents were being opened up at the time of Adam Smith, and Marx. the earth and its resources seemed inexhaustible, populations small and technology just taking off. The economic and social theories being set out could not foresee the huge scientific and technological developments from the end of the 19th century over a hundred years by which populations have filled every corner of the earth, its resources mostly used up, mapped out or remaining reserves evaluated, and methods of extraction, processing, distribution and consumption on an international scale due to huge advances of transportation and communications.

            Adam Smith would have modified their theories if only they knew what mankind has done on earth, also bewildered how such an advanced species still clings to their half baked theories conceived in an agrarian slow-speed world.

            For Marx capital was just starting to work in international business, railways expanding and goods processed in industrial quantities. But poor chap died before the real wonders of electricity and oil hit the world and the explosion started.

            They both would be horrified how economists, politicians, and industrialists colluded and managed to ruin the earth, and what the future holds for the coming generations.

            One of the things one learns is not to pre-judge others – maths or technical skills.

          • Weaver

            How does your concept of material “resources” tie up with Marx’s labour theory of value? And how does resource scarcity affect Marx’s theory of Capitalist surplus and the necessary conditions for socialism? Hmmm?

            Like most green-reds you don’t actually know the red side of your theory well enough to realise your merged ideology is incoherent. I, your unrepentant capitalist opponent, appear to know much more about Marxism and its theory than you do.

            Doesn’t that make you….wonder? Just a tiny bit about your beliefs?

            I try not to pre-judge people, but you make silly and factually untrue claims which forfeit respect. If I’m wrong about your reading of Das Kapital, tell me (actually, I suspect now you have maths, but not much applied maths and logic). However I’m betting you have zero formal education in economics beyond GCSE (in case you’re wondering – the way you express some economics concepts places your level of education there).

          • Bonkim

            silly argument – nothing to do with ideology or political leanings and labels such as red and green are meaningless when you are commenting on knowledge and experience in the field commented on – not just book knowledge or reading up academic papers or following established economic and political theories.

            As someone well versed in energy, environment and international business, and with versatile education, also well travelled and seen some of the locations first hand over the years, i don’t need to relate my comments to scholarly papers.

            Also many angles to such reports and authors highlight particular areas to justify their analysis – most miss out the bigger picture concentrating on the differences rather than see that by and large people are similar in all parts of the world and governed under various systems – although superficial differences stand out.

            Comparing standards of living based on units of consumption or foreign holidays and indicators defined by Western standards is meaningless. There is more to human contentment and even the differences between autocratic and democratic systems is small for the vast majority of people within.

            Just a simple example – India nominally democratic but huge internal conflicts between groups of different ethnicity, class, caste, and wealth, rampant corruption, failed justice system, and the pre-1960s US with its corrupt politics, and law enforcement systems, systematic and legally enforced segregation along race and wealth – in stark contrast to the Soviet system that nominally was autocratic dictatorship but where most people had a job, a living wage, and freedom of high level of education, and medical/health care.

            Look up also why the Vietnamese and Cuba succeeded despite not conforming to Western economic models.

            Even today healthcare in India and the US is substandard for the poor and underprivileged, poverty part of the exploitative system. Compare both with China – which historically did not have democracy as we know in the west, but by and large better developed socially and now surging ahead economically too. That would not have happened if the population was loaded down by tyranny or socially divided class system. Yes all systems are imperfect, and present day China or Russia have their share of corruption and nepotism – but have far better happiness index than say India or the poorer folk in the US.

          • Weaver

            “Resource depletion, overpopulation, and future of mankind – do some
            simple back of the envelope calcs to check if the situation is
            sustainable.”

            Did a full energy analysis about 10 years ago. I checked it again early this year. No change. It’s fairly easy to show we can sustain easily 12B people at US consumption levels, 1.5 GHa, base EROI of 10, and current US energy intensity and extant technology, (those are very pessimistic assumptions of course, I’d expect to do considerably better).

            Funnily Most greens don’t have the maths or analytical skills to do this sort of analysis (see Global Footprint for how NOT to do the maths), they just rely on a general sense of doom and strings of anecdote. But perhaps you can show me your “back of envelope” calculations. I’m particularly interested in how you meaningfully define “resource” and how you framed the constraint structure in the problem.

            Go on, l’ll wait.

          • Bonkim

            Since you appear to be adept in resource modelling, enlighten us on just three components from your work:

            a) global energy per capita at as you suggest US levels of consumption and remaining reserves of fossil fuels (not counting impacts on global warming and climate change)

            b) solar and other renewable energy equivalent needed to replace fossil fuels (assuming that was feasible which it is not) and quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials needed to sustain the renewable industries

            c) agricultural production needed to sustain 12 Billion people and related water, and energy resources needed given that intensive agricultural production is dependent upon water and energy on a massive scale.

            Since you have access to superior data and methodology – enlighten us.

          • Weaver

            I’m a bit pressed for time, so I’ll answer one now and the other two later.

            AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION

            i) Basically, get an upper estimate for corn or other C4 staple per ha-year, divide by Kcal per capita year. Include factors for animal feed/pasturage and vegetables, spoilage etc.

            This site summarises the result nicely. My workings are essential similar with a bit more detail.

            http://fatknowledge.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/how-many-people-can-earth-support.html

            Note that the cropland is bit too high at 1.52 Gha – that includes pasturage and forest production. However, it doesn’t allow for multicropping, novel crops, and land reclamation/change. At 77B however the margin is sufficiently high we can trade approx 50% of crop to animal feed and still keep our 12B very comfortably, as claimed.

            Incidentally, I’m surprised you didn’t mention erosion and soil nutrient constraints – that takes a bit more working out,

            ii) Fresh water is overwhelmingly a problem of infrastruture and energy (will answer separately), not gross rainfall. Drip-feed irrigation and current management techniques means it just isn’t a problem in the long term. The amounts needed for agriculture are tiny compared to gross rainfall – its just a question of moving it about.

          • Bonkim

            Great and interesting reading – having been an agricultural engineer as well and involved in crop production – such hypothetical calculations mean nothing.

            Look up the water and energy requirements for firtilizers, water storage, and pumping, and also energy inputs (fossil fuels) in US style agricultural and processing practices.

            Water is already a cause for conflict in many parts of the world and you are forgeting man does not live on corn alone or capable of being herded like cattle in factory camps just for survival – going back to my previous comment – go back to pre-industrial population levels, and agricultural practices and some chance of arresting extinction.

            Come back again.

          • Weaver

            You asked for back of envelope calculations. I gave you back-of-envelope calculations. You did not like or expect the answer it produced. But rather than engage the answer, you’ve decided to ignore it.

            “Such hypothetical calculations mean nothing”

            Is that your best respone? Really? Pure mal fide? I have indulged you for quite a while with detailed, referenced, and nummerical responses. I now grow tired of your evasion, dissimilation and lack of numeracy. As one senior engineer to another may I say the last in particular reflects badly on your professionalism.

            I will answer your water and fertiliser claim one final time. This is very back of envelope again, because you have not demonstrated sufficient good faith to be be worth the detailed workings, and because frankly I’m not sure your maths is good enough to understand them at this point.

            Embedded energy costs in fertiliser and energy inputs (doesn’t have to be fossil fuels – there’s no reason you can’t have electric tractors and the Haber process doesn’t require them per se) are about 6-to-1 on an intensive US model. The US agricultural sector, the most energy intensive and land-productive farms on the planet, consumes about 15% of domestic energy on food.

            15% of current levels. Roll that number around. You could double it to allow for more desalination, water pumping and some fossil-fuel workaround in key processes and still have plenty of energy in hand.

            We can easily provide enough total energy from a mix of nuclear, shale/exotic oils and (possibly) solar on the margin for at least the next 1,000 years, depending on the breaks. Energy costs for high intensity farming are not going to overwhelm civilisation.

            There, if you’ve understood this far, you can do me the courtesy of a considered reply.

          • Bonkim

            I shall not engage in this useless discussion with someone that sounds like a Tea Party member.

            Having worked on nuclear and other power project development, and also strategic planning, this topic is too deep for such casual ping pong.

            The earth is overpopulated and its resources depleting fast – electricity is a high value form of energy and although capable of being produced by renewable sources and nuclear, the more readily usable sources are running out.

            You are also not taking out the competitive nature of human societies which will make it impossible for arresting the conflicts inherent in the grab for resources – and fracking, solar, and tidal, and other sources while technologically feasible are not all resource efficient – and weaning off fossil fuels already over 50% depleted is just on – only solution I see is measures of population reduction, and reverting to a pre-industrial lifestyle cutting out mechanised transport and local self-sufficiency – to keep life ticking on.

            We are not getting very far so will stop.

          • “and weaning off fossil fuels already over 50% depleted is just on”

            They’re not “fossil”, they’re naturally formed hydrocarbon based molecules that exist outside of the Earth’s atmosphere on other bodies or existing in the void of space itself.

            “The earth is overpopulated and its resources depleting fast”

            There is no such concept as overpopulation, and it is thanks to increases in population pressures that new energy sources were discovered throughout history.

            As Julian Simon said:

            “In short, the trends in energy costs and scarcity have been downward over the entire period for which we have data. And such trends are usually the most reliable bases for
            forecasts. From these data we may conclude with considerable confidence that energy will be less costly and more available in the future than in the past.

            The reason that the cost of energy has declined in the long run is the fundamental process of 1) increased demand due to the growth of population and income, which raises
            prices and hence constitutes opportunity to entrepreneurs and inventors; 2) the search for new ways of supplying the demand for energy; 3) the eventual discovery of methods
            which leave us better off than if the original problem had not appeared. An early illustration of the process: In 300 BCE, so much wood was being used for metal smelting that the Roman Senate limited mining. (Using the coercive power of government, instead of the creative power of the market, is a very old idea. Almost two millennia later, in England, the shortage of wood for use as charcoal in the casting of iron became so acute – it was affecting the building of naval ships – that in 1588 Parliament passed a law against cutting trees for coke in ironmaking, and then banned the building of new foundries in 1580. Though the use of coal in place of charcoal had been known, there were technical difficulties – impurities that affected the quality of the iron. This time, the wood shortage exerted pressure that led to the development of coal
            as well as blowing machines to be used in smelting, a keystone in the upcoming Industrial Revolution.” — http://www.juliansimon.com/writings/Ultimate_Resource/TCHAR11.txt

          • Bonkim

            Live in hope.

          • Weaver

            “As someone well versed in energy, environment and international business, and with versatile education, also well travelled and seen some of the locations first hand over the years, i don’t need to relate my comments to scholarly papers.”

            I charitably take it you mean you don’t need to present credentials, rather than you are excepting yourself from the need for references and evidence.

            So, no higher humanities education then (most post-grads structure their arguments in a more regular and succint way, if you were wondering), and no economics in particular. You don’t seem to have been formally trained in logic or argument either. There’s no syllogistic structure to your posts and you meander more than a high school debater ever would. You have some history, but its patchy and not in the main areas, so I’m guessing thats mostly self-taught.

            That’s all fine. We can’t all be experts at all things. But when I hit you with something you don’t know or understand, don’t whine and change the subject. Look it up or ask for an explanation.

          • Bonkim

            This is not an academic site – and you are up the wrong tree – the discussion is to trigger enquiry and questioning – and self research – it is not for me to convince others – the real lesson is from others finding for themselves.

            Now what is your real comment on the topic rather than commenting on comments made by others – let us have them.

            I am not commenting to convince you or anyone – my views based on experience and analysis.

          • “How does your concept of material “resources” tie up with Marx’s labour theory of value?”

            Before we arrive at Marx’s more specific Law of Value, let’s first take on Marx’s general historical philosophical/mechanical overview…the ‘material productive forces’ that gives life to a new ‘mode of production’, and see if such an analysis can shed any light on the veracity of Marx’s Law of Value.

            Was Marx’s general historical philosophical/mechanical overview correct? No, he wasn’t as the first comment to this thread proves. Therefore, since it wasn’t machinery (material productive force) that initiated the Capitalist ‘mode of production’, it was something else. What was the ‘something else’? Well, it’s not labor, Marx already explained labor’s sole contribution to the economic sphere…it is the source of value, nothing more. So then, what is left that could have ushered in the Capitalist ‘mode of production’? The minds of those men that devised the productive machines, which informs us that labor is not the source of value, as Marx posited, but the minds of men is, since if there is no creative idea first, there can’t be any machines constructed in the first place by labor, where labor, according to Marx, is to transfer its value into the machines.

          • The Laughing Cavalier

            Old Czech joke:

            Q. What’s 20 metres long and eats cabbage?
            A. The queue outside a butcher’s shop.

          • vieuxceps2

            Yes, humour is the antidote to Bonkim and his ilk.But sorry to say,none of us writing will convince him of his errors about socialism, Even though he’s seen it for himself.None so blind as those who don’t want to see.

        • Weaver

          Bonkim sez:

          “By and large the general public in the East were contented, and happy, welcoming – not stressed and rearing to jump over the wall to some sort of a Capitalist heaven.”

          Wikipedia sez:

          “Before the Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions
          and defected from the GDR
          , many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin, from where they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries”

          That is 1-in-5 people leave within a decade! Thats the largest per-capita-year emmigration rate in any country, like, ever. And Bonkim claims they were happy! This is a truly staggering level of cognitive dissonance. It’s a good job he has Marxist Theory to protect him from the evidence of his own lying eyes!

          • Baron

            Quite, Weaver, it’s because of the deluded, cranium empty dimwits like Bonkim the likes of Adolf, Mao, the Georgian thug get a chance to fugg lives of millions in pursuit of a construct that isn’t doable.

        • The Laughing Cavalier

          The Adlon was built by capitalists (who installed the gold plated bathroom suite) and confiscated without compensation by the communists.

          • Bonkim

            Land and property belongs to those occupying them now. You can make similar arguments about the ownership of assets financed and built during the Soviet era by the people and now taken over by criminal Capitalists taking all the profits for themselves.

            The Adlon has now been rebuilt to modern standards.

            Socialists needed capital to build – only it was in public ownership. Capitalists never pay the real price of assets or labour – they have to have huge profit margins for themselves.

        • SciPi

          ….by and large the general public in the East were contented.

          Not the general public in 1956 in Hungary. After the uprising, the reformist PM and the Defence Secretary were executed by the Russians in 1958.

          In Eastern Europe the Russians could kill anybody – a reason to show contentment.

          • Bonkim

            Different era – The Soviets sent tanks to Prague, as well, and the CIA was busy sending killer-squads to the hot spots in Latin America, Iran, etc. In Africa and the Mid-East too Western agents, and mercenaries were busy. The Maly Peninsula, and East Asia – various conflict zones involving Soviet, Chinese and Western partisans.

            The world was under the grip of cold war paranoia.

          • SciPi

            Let’s stay with Eastern Europe: people did not have adequate housing, that’s why 3 generations lived in a flat, except in East Germany where most people had left before the wall came up.

            But even the East Germans with houses were not contended as they opted to leave for West Germany when the Hungarians opened the borders to the West in May 1989. That was the beginning of the end of communism in Eastern Europe.

            People voted with their feet.

          • Weaver

            Don’t forget 1968 and 1980! The place was just brimming with contentment! Eventually the people got so contented they staged 500,000 strong demonstrations of support for the government.

    • Tom M

      Not the USSR I remember.
      “..most appeared to have a car…” I remember being in Nordhausen (the only town I have ever visited that had no town centre) many years ago looking at a row of “their cars”. Trabants they were called.

      Ran on a small two-stroke engine about the size of a small, environment polluting motorbike. I looked along the endless rows of Trabants (parked outside the endless rows of identical shoe-box blocks of flats) and spotted a white five series BMW. ” Who belongs that” I asked my companion. “The local drug dealer” he replied.

      • Bonkim

        Trabant – a collectors’ car now. There was also Wartburg a few of which were exported to Britain. Don’t deride 2 stroke engines – Saab had some 2 stroke models which were cheap to make and developed higher power for a given weight of engine.

        Regards smoke from engines – many cars of the time were poorly maintained, driven to destruction – burning oil, leaky piston rings, etc, there were no exhaust emission standards.

        • Tom M

          I don’t deride two-stroke engines, GM in the states make large range of two-stroke diesels today. It’s the Trabant two-strokes I deride. Even by the standards of the day and that was in the 80s, they were very poor.

          • Bonkim

            it was cheap transport; Saab, DKW, and Auto Union used 2 stroke engines – that is history.

            All large power marine (slow speed) diesels are two stroke and have high efficiencies too..

    • Baron

      So you spotted most (workers) in Czechoslovakia in the 60s to have a car, did you? Hmmm. Baron, born there, lived in the country until 1969, how come he didn’t see the cars, the well run plants, the high art?

      Of course, people were surviving, people will get used to everything, there was life in Nazis concentration camps. What you may have missed, missed badly, is what the regime did to the character of the unwashed. If Baron remembers well, and he does, the key motto for the burghers under the Red Menace was ‘not stealing bankrupts one’s family’. Thievery (of State property), widespread lying, falsification of anything that didn’t fit the ideology, bribery, lack of trust even amongst friends (nobody knew who spies for the secret service) …. – this was what the regime you so admire engendered, and the legacy survives. As the quip goes ‘the easy part was to take the Czechs out of communism, the hard one will be to take communism out of the Czechs’.

      It’s only a guess, but the same may apply for the rest of the communist controlled countries.

      And you want Britain to shift in this direction? Arghhhh

      • Bonkim

        off the mark – they had plenty of bread and beer, many had cars – not all. No different in Britain where most did not have cars in the 1950s and 60s. Not sure how long you liven in Czechoslovakia and how old you were or what you did for a living. Human beings being what they are there was some corruption, favouritism, intimidation – so it was in Britain where the different classes knew their place, and the privileged made use of the wealth, and connections. The world was an unequal place with exploitation rife in all countries. Funnily less inequality and class/wealth difference in the Soviet Block – and communism did not eradicate privileges and power.

        The Czechs were not all that happy when the system collapsed (less painful then in Eastern Germany and other parts) – the first thing that invaded all the Eastern Block upon liberation was tribalism, fascism (as in the Ukraine, Hungary and Slovakia), rampant corruption, and criminality all of which were suppressed during the Communist era.

        The world is not perfect and communism may not function in Britain because of history, but it did some good in Eastern Europe for a time but eventually failed.

        • Weaver

          You realise Marx thought Britain was amongst the most suitable countries for commumism? I’ll let his ghost know Bonkim has corrected him.

          Yes, I have my copy of the Manifesto here, and can have fun with it all day.

    • terence patrick hewett

      Not the Bulgaria I remember.

      • Bonkim

        Bulgaria and Rumania – special cases – Bulgaria was more stalistic and still is. Next door Yugoslavia was a lot more bubbly.

    • vieuxceps2

      I travelled in communist countries in the late 1980’s and I do not recognise your description of them.Grim,grey and sour places with sad people and the wonderful equality of mediocrity which socialism gives to the world.
      You may have seen things differently,or you may be simply repeating propaganda.I suspect the latter.

  • Terry Crow

    Disingenuous article, because Miliband changed his views. This form Wiki: By the 1960s, he was a prominent member of the New Left movement in Britain, which was critical of established Stalinist governments in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.

    Still, Stalin would have admired the Spectator’s falsification of history…….

    • Changed his views? Firstly, why would anyone take such a quack seriously to learn what his “new view” is; and (2) Moscow & allies ordered that the “New Left” change its views:

      For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991.

      The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland. This is why China is buying up gold all over the word. It is believed that China currently has 3,000 tons of gold. When it has 6,000 tons it will have the minimum gold reserves to replace the United States as the world’s reserve currency, that is after the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government.

      • Bonkim

        Does the US still keep gold in Fort Knox as reserve for all its currency stuffed in mattresses around the world? If so will require more than 6,000 tonnes to redeem all the money held overseas at $5 an ounce.

        • Not even the United States maintains 100% gold reserves to cover its fiduciary liabilities. That ceased back in 1933, when Roosevelt tore the United States off the gold standard.

          • Bonkim

            That was the point – and no difference if you have 3 or 6,000 Tonnes of gold. At present the world system has no other currency but the US$ in terms of money in circulation and relative stability to act as a reserve currency.

            US citizens should be grateful to the rest of the world and that their inflation, and interest rates low because of that.

          • “That was the point – and no difference if you have 3 or 6,000 Tonnes of gold.”

            People still want gold held in reserve not as a means to convert, but to act as a psychological assurance, otherwise the gold would be private…sold by the government.

            “US citizens should be grateful to the rest of the world and that their inflation, and interest rates low because of that.”

            In fact, low interest rates are sabotaging Western economies by preventing net (new) investments. This policy was tasked by Moscow & allies to ensure that Moscow & allies (1) caught up to the West’s technological edge (new technologies are dependent on net investments); and (2) deter the West from discovering new technologies that could threaten, in real time, the Communists’ hold on their nations.

          • “US citizens should be grateful to the rest of the world and that their inflation, and interest rates low because of that.”

            — In fact, low interest rates are sabotaging Western economies by preventing net (new) investments. This policy was tasked by Moscow & allies to ensure that Moscow & allies (1) caught up to the West’s technological edge (new technologies are dependent on net investments); and (2) deter the West from discovering new technologies that could threaten, in real time, the Communists’ hold on their nations. One such technology that would consign the end of World Communism would be a mind reader! Of course, such an invention would also consign the end of 99.999999% of all politicians’ careers!

            “That was the point – and no difference if you have 3 or 6,000 Tonnes of gold. At present the world system has no other currency but the US$ in terms of money in circulation and relative stability to act as a reserve currency.”

            — People still want gold held in reserve not as a means to convert, but to act as a psychological assurance, otherwise the gold would be private…sold by the government.

          • Bonkim

            Low interest sign of relative stability – high interest rates – volatility and high risk. Take your pick.

          • “Low interest sign of relative stability – high interest rates – volatility and high risk. Take your pick.”

            Low interest rates are a result of central bank interference with the economy…through the purchase of government notes. Minus a central bank’s interference, high interest rates are a sign that people are saving for investment, reaping the higher interest payment on the investment.

          • Bonkim

            seems twisted logic.

            if money supply was left to free market – value of money – borrowing will depends upon supply – less supply – high value via interest – businesses will suffer – unable to raise capital for investment.

            Production is in response to demand and saleability of a product or service – high demand – ability to command higher price.

            The reason Central banks come into the picture is to regulate/moderate worst excesses of a free market. Also implement government fiscal policy – they buy Government bills so equivalent amounts of tangible cash is injected into the money supply – currency or bank transfers.

            The problem today is that all inputs and outputs within the money supply is not within government’s or central bank’s control – huge amounts of liquidity circulating in financial deals and commodity trading outside national borders, also huge amounts of loans by private individuals or via card purchases, etc.

            People and governments are spending today on future expectations of prosperity and governments try to control money supplies and inflation, inflation effectively writes off or reduces government and personal debts – but where inflation is low, bank interest adjustments help reduce or increase availability of loans – whatever the economic theories, the practical effects are not always predictable within great accuracy, and overcorrection creates negative impacts.

            Governments in representative democracies have to balance long term effects and short/medium term problems faced by citizens – and most decisions are short terms in response to popular pressures.

            No easy answer – economic theories formulated at a time when resources seemed inexhaustible, populations small and wealth creation boundless are not working in the 21st century – huge population, technology and high consumption resulting in resources depleting fast but expectations across the globe for more consumer products – a mutually exclusive situation which is unsustainable.

            In all these silly people horde/speculate on anything that they see getting scarce and capable of increasing price.

          • “if money supply was left to free market – value of money – borrowing will depends upon supply – less supply – high value via interest – businesses will suffer – unable to raise capital for investment.”

            Capital is raised by raising interest rates, not lowering.

          • Bonkim

            Less money available, people have to bid higher interest payment to get the scarce money. Government will not print infinite money supply or will not be able to control supply. Money supply is not within the control of business or individuals –

          • “Less money available, people have to bid higher interest payment to get the scarce money.”

            Those who need capital will naturally raise interest to procure the needed capital. Consumption is thereby curtailed, while investment is increased.

            If a central bank intervenes by increasing capital “liquidity”, inflation is the minimum negative result from such a policy. Why? Because the money supply has increased beyond its true quantity. Conversely, if capital is raised by entrepreneurs/banks/financial institutions raising their interest, what happens to inflation? It remains at least constant, where the increase in prices of capital goods is offset by the decline in prices of consumer goods. In fact, by raising interest rates to obtain greater capital, the productive investment outcome sees a general LOWERING of prices across the economy!

          • Weaver

            So…you don’t know the difference between fiscal and monetary policy, eh Bonkim? You also don’t understand how QE is (supposed to) work. You also don’t…oh why do I bother?

            Your problem is not really that you have sub A-level understanding of economics (we have already established your lack of formal education there), but that you are ridiculously conceited about the extent of your own knowledge and cocksure where you should be cautious. No evidence or data, or lack of it, would change your mind about anything would it? You have no threshold for changing your views; invincible in your ignorance.

          • Bonkim

            Fiscal and monetary policy and economic theory – good to talk about but little help in grasping the key issues and effects on people for political decision making.

            Stop counting the trees and look at the bigger picture. Book knowledge or learned papers – keep them for your seminars.

          • Oh, not a good reply! It’s critical to analyze monetary and fiscal policies under the prevailing economic theories, and determine which economic theories sink and which economic theory swims; only one economic theory can be true.

          • Bonkim

            Yes Dean – Economists, Scientists, and other professionals all have differences of opinion, The economic theories being brandied about and their political interpretations originate from the early days of the industrial revolution, continents being opened up, resources appeared inexhaustible and populations across the globe small as also rates of consumption.

            Technology and political changes over the two centuries have altered man’s imprint on earth, lifestyles, and destructive capabilities.

            Going back to Miliband – he grew up when ideological differences were is stark contract, two world wars that reshaped the political world, new theories such as that by John Maynard Keynes being pushed by politicians as salvation for the new era – pushing for greater production, and consumption as the path to development and prosperity.

            No pint blaming the economists or political ideologues – we are in the river of no return – hooked on to ever increasing production and consumption as the only way to survival – and all the time simply walking to the edge of the precipice. Both political ideologies are following the same path – only one faster than the other to the end.

            Miliband was a creature of his times – many in Britain thought that the socialist path and redistribution of wealth was a fairer system – compare that to the massive imbalance prevailing in countries such as the US, India, Brazil, etc then and even today.

          • “…many in Britain thought that the socialist path and redistribution of wealth was a fairer system – compare that to the massive imbalance prevailing in countries such as the US, India, Brazil, etc then and even today.”

            No, Communists aren’t Communists due to reaction to a system, they are Communist because they affirm a system. However, Communists also know that Marx said never to interfere with the Capitalist system, otherwise such interference will sabotage its growth, which Marx said was necessary for the development of the next economic mode of production…the Communist economy;* Marx never elaborated on what it would entail. Therefore, people like Miliband are actually agents provocateur, working with Moscow and allies to subvert the West, otherwise they’d be railing against the abuses of central banks’ interference with market forces, by manipulating up and down interest rates.
            ———————————–
            *”Marx sharply stresses the bad sides of capitalist production, but with equal emphasis clearly proves that this social form was necessary to develop the productive forces of society to a level which will make possible an equal development worthy of human beings for ALL members of society. All earlier forms of society were too poor for this” — Friedrich Engels, “Marx’s Capital,” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Selected Works, Volume I, pp. 468-469.

          • Bonkim

            As in religion – not all that shout Lord Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven.

            Communism means different things to different people as Christianity to Christians of different shades.

            If you think Communists or socialists whether in the old USSR or elsewhere always had their copy of Marx and Engels – we are living in a perfect world and don’t need to believe in capitalism or communism.

            Political beliefs are based on broad principles and popular slogans – value of labour, everyone according to need and from everyone according to capability, social world where wealth is distributed equally and heaven on earth where everyone is educated, well behaved, engaged in useful work creating that perfect brotherhood of man – parallels with Christianity or Islam?

            Academic discussion on the subject therefore whilst an interesting exercise has no practical value.

            Political decision making is based on solutions to address immediate needs, just see how the Chinese Communists have steered clear of Mao’s political ideology towards practical capitalistic business methods to improve their financial viability and provide employment and better lifestyles for the proletariat.

            The Chinese are one of the biggest investors in real estate, mining infrastructure, industry, and business in the Capitalist West as they have greater confidence in the Western system to maintain value of their savings..

          • Marxism is a curious ideological system whose adherents bastardize it for strategic reasons.

            “Political decision making is based on solutions to address immediate needs…”

            Then there would never have been a vanguard Communist government in China, let alone a similar silly Communist Party of China!

          • Bonkim

            Different pathways to the same goal within the historic and cultural context. Castro’s Cuba is quite different from Soviet Russia or China or Poland or Venezuela. Same variations within the free market economies – in fact the US despite the free-market ethos has a very strong Federal control over most things, inflexible bureaucracy, and regimented legal system. Most things are regulated centrally and the Federal state intervenes if the States cross their allocated boundaries.

          • “Castro’s Cuba is quite different from Soviet Russia or China or Poland or Venezuela.”

            As I said, there is only one path for silly Marxism, according to Marx…Capitalism, otherwise the Communist Commonweal won’t arrive. Where are the Western Marxists berating their governments for sabotaging their economies, instead of calling for interventionist measures, or a “new” economic paradigm? Because they’re agents of Moscow & allies.

          • Bonkim

            Don’t be too hasty to condemn – Castro’s Cuba I would suggest has been a success story compared with most South American systems – right and left wing.

            Health care for the masses better than in the UK despite it being low-tech.

            Most people relatively happy despite lower wages and lack of Western style consumerism.

            I don’t see Reds lurking behind each door trying to corrupt youth.

            Marxism as you describe is dead – past its sell by date – new forms of political ideologies will arise when things get bad for the majority and a few are seen to be profiting from the misery of the masses..

          • “Don’t be too hasty to condemn – Castro’s Cuba I would suggest has been a success story compared with most South American systems – right and left wing.”

            Cuba is a dictatorship! By definition with that fact alone, it is an abysmal failure.

            “Most people relatively happy despite lower wages and lack of Western style consumerism.”

            Cubans aren’t happy living under a dictatorship, and those who are (Communist Party members) are so because they’re following a plan in concert with their allies in Moscow & Beijing and other Communist capitals.

            “I don’t see Reds lurking behind each door trying to corrupt youth.”

            Communists corrupt youth in (1) espousing an ideology of perpetual bondage; and (2) the denial of God.

            “Marxism as you describe is dead”

            I already informed readers on this thread (and others at the Spectator), that the “collapses” of the Est Bloc and USSR were strategic ruses, as will be the soon to be fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government.

          • Bonkim

            Good Luck – Some may look at God and religion as blind superstition.

            Pragmatism is the essence of today’s politics – ideologies are now blurred and not many take them seriously.

          • “Some may look at God and religion as blind superstition.”

            Firstly, that would be their business, so stay out of others’ beliefs; many say Marxism is silly. Secondly, the Law of Beginning proves the existence of God:

            Law of Beginning:

            “Since all things in our Universe, including our Universe, had a beginning (the Universe had a beginning; space had a beginning; time had a beginning; matter had a beginning; gravity had a beginning; stars had beginnings, life had a beginning, etc.), therefore there must have been an ultimate beginning to all things (“all things” meaning the physical realm that, if it exists, includes our Universe), otherwise the Universe’s and it’s constituent parts’ beginnings were arbitrary, but the Universe and its constituent parts can’t operate arbitrarily.

            Therefore, since inanimate matter itself cannot bring about the ultimate beginning of the physical realm, only a conscious entity could do this, we therefore have proof that a God exists outside of space and time who created the physical realm that our Universe resides in.” — Dean Michael Jackson

          • Bonkim

            Humbug – Man created God in his own image – look at the variety of Gods around the Globe.

          • In fact man has created Gods in the image of animals too, but that’s besides the point. The Law of Beginning can’t be faulted; because nature can’t behave arbitrarily, we know God exists.

            In fact, I also discovered that Jesus was who He claimed to be, using (1) the proper interpretation of the Gospels’ narratives (the old interpretation used for 2,000 years is a confused mixture of incompetent historical analysis and bold-faced silence concerning characters’ behaviors that doesn’t fit the prevailing narrative); and (2) Roman subjects’ acceptance of the Gospels’ stories that they would have known were otherwise bad forgeries (based on bad history), but accepted those ludicrous stories because they were KNOWN true.

    • rtj1211

      Seems strange that her personal experience in 1964 is less accurate than a Wiki article written by god knows who…….

      • Terry Crow

        I stand to be corrected…..I’m no Miliband apologist (elder or younger).
        But at this point it doesn’t add up……

      • Terry Crow

        This from the New Satesman 2010: //Yet Miliband was never tempted to join the Communist Party, which set him apart from other leading intellectuals of the British “new left” that emerged following the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. Michael Newman, in his biography Ralph Miliband and the Politics of the New Left (2002), says he went through a brief Leninist phase as an adolescent, but that he “moved away from that – you see signs of his shift away from [seeing] the Soviet Union as a kind of beacon early, in the 1940s. A long time before Hungary, in other words. He was someone who never had uncritical enthusiasms.”\

        Again, the thrust of the article in the Spectator is challenged, this time by the above.

        http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/conference/2010/09/ralph-miliband-labour-party

  • rtj1211

    ‘But I was learning that those who pontificate most loudly about the rights of the workers en masse are often those who, faced with an individual worker, can be less than perfect in their treatment of that worker. ‘

    I learned that during my PhD too…….

  • Peter Stroud

    If Miliband senior believed that a state was right to employ armed guards to keep its population from leaving, then he must have been weird. Furthermore, if he wished to change this country into a totalitarian Marxist state, he must have detested our Royalty, the Commons, the Lords and the Church. He must also have hated our education system (grammar schools, secondary modern and public schools). The military, and most certainly our complex legal system. He didn’t have much to like about us: in fact I suggest that he certainly detested this country. I cannot see much difference between hating and detesting.

    • Pip

      I would suggest that if Ralph Milliband wanted Britain to be Communist then by definition he hated Britain, one doesn’t doesn’t desire to inflict such inane and destructive ideology on the country you care about surely.

    • lgrundy

      “he must have been weird”
      Like father, like son.

    • SciPi

      He might have liked gardens and parks…. /sark off

  • Anthony

    If you love or like something, why would you want to fundamentally change everything about it?

    Sorry, there is no logic behind the idea he liked Britain, he wanted to fundamentally change it. Doesn’t wash with me. The left constantly slag off our past, they hate our history, they hate our institutions. The way of life and institutions, its people. That’s what he wanted to change.

    We wouldn’t have recognized our country had he have his way.

    They hate Britain!

  • Alan Ian Brown

    Lots of assuming here..

  • Tom M

    “…He didn’t hate Britain, but he did want it to be Communist…”
    So that sounds like he didn’t like Britain as it was then does it not? For clarity I would like the China if it wasn’t communist.

  • Ann, you are amazing. Time after time you suffered from the “idealists” whom you worked for, yet still continued. Seems it is good people like you who allow these theoretical terrorists to flourish.

    I would have rebelled the 2nd or third time, and changed philososhy.

    Alan Douglas

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Socialists make the worst employers. They learn about ‘surplus’ and capitalist exploitation when studying Marx. When they come to be bosses themselves it is the only model they know (having disdained the study of real economics) and so, they exploit.

    • “Socialists make the worst employers. They learn about ‘surplus’ and capitalist exploitation when studying Marx.”

      What Marxists study has nothing to do with Marx, since Capitalism is a NECESSARY pre-requisite for the promised Communist Commonweal:

      “Marx sharply stresses the bad sides of capitalist production, but with equal emphasis clearly proves that this social form was necessary to develop the productive forces of society to a level which will make possible an equal development worthy of human beings for ALL members of society. All earlier forms of society were too poor for this” — Friedrich Engels, “Marx’s Capital,” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Selected Works, Volume I, pp. 468-469.

  • Daniel Maris

    This exemplifies the difference between Miliband and Orwell who was also a radical socialist. Orwell never excused the Soviet Union after its manifest crimes became obvious, whereas Miliband did.

  • TRAV1S

    Trust the BBC to support an evil Marxist who agreed with the Berlin wall. But it is no surprise because the BBC is basically Pravda to the Labour Party,

  • If Marx had discerned the following proof, the history of the last one-hundred years would have been quite peaceful:

    Proof that Marx’s Law of Value (which posits that labor is the sole source of value, imputing that value into commodities) is in error:

    If all the machines created throughout the history of man were to have been kept within the confines of the minds of their creators, that is never manufactured, would such machines be imputed with value in a Marxist sense? Yes, they would have POTENTIAL value!

    Note: The machines that we know were created, but for the purpose of clarification of my proof we posit weren’t created, still have value within the meaning Marx posited, but…now get this…labor never laid one finger on those machines, therefore the machines’ values, and the commodities produced from the machines, cannot be said to have originated with labor.

    • Bonkim

      if only human beings followed economic and political theories.

      • What do you think the Long-Range Policy is all about…

        Take a look at these pictures out of Russia…

        http://www.airliners.net/photo/Russia—Air/Antonov-An-12BK-PPS/1584360/L/

        and

        http://www.defencetalk.com/pictures/mig-23-flogger-russia/p42987-mig-23ub.html

        Then for Russian Naval vessels, take a look at what’s still appended to the bows (enlarge picture)…

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/multimedia/image/correction-russia-for_starjpg/

        Those pictures were taken in 2009, 2011 and 2001, respectively, not before the “collapse” of the USSR. As you can see, the Soviet era nationality emblem of the Communist Party…the Red Star… is still present. That political symbol of the Soviet government would have been immediately removed in early 1992 if the “collapse” of the USSR were genuine. As the legal emblem of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Red Star emblem can only be present if Communists are still in power in Russia and the other 14 republics that made up the USSR.

        Take a look at what’s still on Aeroflot aircraft…

        http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.airplane-pictures.net/images/uploaded-images/2013-8/31/316500.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.airplane-pictures.net/photo/316500/vp-bdn-aeroflot-airbus-a319/&h=853&w=1200&sz=342&tbnid=LpEalOG0f8GrcM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=142&zoom=1&usg=__G489DWC7zsP5bnmGg5-Pi0QB8xs=&docid=xUpoGn9FHxnMDM&sa=X&ei=evRRUtGuJNGs4APLsoDICg&ved=0CC4Q9QEwAA

        Note the Soviet emblem of the hammer & sickle stenciled on the aircraft’s fuselage!

        Now, for the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…

        http://www.redstar.ru/

        “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian (no kidding!) for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin’s head!

        The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

        Now you know why the hated Communist Red Star is still placed on the bows of NEW Russian Naval vessels (and the wings of Russian military aircraft), and why the “electorates” of the 15 republics that made up the USSR continue to “elect” for President Soviet era Communist Party Quislings. There have been 52 such Presidential “elections” since the “collapse” of the USSR, resulting in 40 Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings being elected. That’s 76.92%! If the “collapse” of the USSR were legitimate not one such Quisling would have been elected President. In fact, such persons would have been either arrested in the interests of national security or shunned by society. Remember, Communist Party members made up no more than 10% of the USSR, and it was they who for 74 years persecuted the remaining 90% of the population.

        Imagine it’s 1784 America. The Treaty of Paris (1783) was signed the previous year ending the revolutionary war with Britain. So who do the electorates of the newly independent 13 colonies elect for their respective governors? They elect persons who were Loyalists (American supporters of Great Britain) during the war for independence! Of course, in reality the persecution was so bad for Loyalists in post independence America that they had to flee the country en masse for Canada.

        Or try this one out: After the collapse of the South African Apartheid Regime in 1994, the majority black population reelect for their Presidents only persons who were National Party members before the 1994 elections!

        Now you also know why immediately after the “collapse” of the USSR the United States wasn’t given Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, including delivery vehicles, for safe keeping! Imagine that, the freed Russian people not ensuring their freedom against a Communist counter-coup with the assistance of Chinese PLA ground and air forces backing up Soviet Special Forces and Airborne Guards. If the “collapse” of the USSR had been real, then a freed Russia, for national security reasons, would have ensured that its nuclear weaponry was secured by United States military elements. That no such actions were taken proves that (1) both American political parties were co-opted by Moscow & Allies; and (2) the United States Armed Forces were not co-opted, otherwise elements of America’s armed forces would have been deployed to Russia in order to pretend to safeguard Russia’s nuclear weapons.

        In addition, the KGB agent Quislings that controlled the Russian Orthodox Church before the “collapse” of the USSR are to this day still in control. They were never identified and thrown out of that institution after the “collapse” of the USSR. The same is true for all other religious institutions in the other 14 republics of the USSR, including East Bloc nations, proving not only co-option of those religious institutions, but that the “collapses” of the East Bloc and USSR were disinformation operations.

        For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991.

        The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland. This is why China is buying up gold all over the word. It is believed that China currently has 3,000 tons of gold. When it has 6,000 tons it will have the minimum gold reserves to replace the United States as the world’s reserve currency, that is after the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government.

        The “War on Terror” & Iraq War I and II:

        Regarding the “War on Terror”, Moscow and Beijing tasked America to conduct the operation to ensure that while the USSR was in a “liberalized” and therefore weakened state, such a war would (1) create enmity between Islam and the West; thereby (2) aborting any possibility for an alliance between Islam and the non-co-opted militaries of the West against their mutual and true enemy…World Communism; and (3) create the image that the United States is a rogue state, invading/attacking nations with impunity, thereby setting the stage for a future “democratic” China replacing United States preeminence on the world stage.

        Before the fraudulent collapse of the USSR in December 1991 Moscow tasked Washington, DC to ready the 1990 Gulf War with Iraq. Why? Because Moscow, after the “collapse”, was going to intentionally implode its economy to ensure foreign investments went to China instead. Russia could live on the relatively higher price that its oil exports (Russia is #2 behind Saudi Arabia in oil exports) would obtain thanks to the United States placing an embargo on Iraqi oil, thereby raising the world price of oil relative to the lower price the commodity would have fetched if the Iraq embargo hadn’t been in place. China has no such export market for oil, therefore would have to rely on foreign investments to build her military.

        Then by 2001 oil began getting too expensive due to India’s emergence on the economic scene, threatening China’s military buildup. To ensure China had the oil it needed, and at a lower relative price then what it would have been otherwise, and not exhaust Russian oil reserves, Moscow once again tasked Washington, DC to invade Iraq for the purpose of now opening up Iraq’s oil reserves once again to the world oil market. Hence the March 2003 Iraqi War, and why China is the major player that has benefited from Iraqi oil contracts.

        Notice that Washington, DC refuses to wage illegal wars against China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and Burma, all nations that persecute their populations in one way or another. Only Muslim nations are invaded? Why would that be? Why is the United States funding the so-called “Arab Spring” movements, but not “Communist Spring” movements in China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and Burma (Burma is also a Communist nation; in fact, the fake dissident Aung San Suu Kyi’s father founded the Burmese Communist Party in 1939, becoming its first General Secretary, which is why Aung San Suu Kyi keeps her silence as Burmese Muslims are being slaughtered. Didn’t know those facts, huh?)?

        For more on the “Long-Range Policy”, read KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s book, “New Lies for Old” (available at Internet Archive), the only Soviet era defector to still be under protective custody in the West.

        If anyone is interested in a list of “victors” names of those 52 “elections” that have taken place in the republics of the “former” USSR, let me know. I’ll post it. The list also includes the Soviet era Communist Party status of the “victor”.

        • Bonkim

          Why change a powerful brand? The rest of the post is conjecture with some half truths slotted in.

  • Jason S.

    Why not read Miliband’s last book, Socialism for a Sceptical Age, too see what he ACTUALLY advocated? It wasn’t what existed in the Stalinist bloc, or Mao’s China.

    • When Moscow & allies told their agents abroad to change their scripts, they did. What’s so surprising about that? When the truth of Stalin’s crimes was admitted by Moscow, of course Moscow’s agents would follow in step.

      • Jason S.

        Don’t be stupid. Miliband wasn’t an agent of Moscow at any point, even when he did have some illusions (in the 50s and early 60s) in the USSR. In any event, his last book came out in 1994, after the fall of the USSR, when there was no longer anyone in Moscow to tell any “agent” to do anything.

        • “In any event, his last book came out in 1994, after the fall of the USSR, when there was no longer anyone in Moscow to tell any “agent” to do anything.”

          I guess you didn’t read my comment below that begins with, “What do you think the Long-Range Policy is all about…”

          For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991.

          The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland. This is why China is buying up gold all over the word. It is believed that China currently has 3,000 tons of gold. When it has 6,000 tons it will have the minimum gold reserves to replace the United States as the world’s reserve currency, that is after the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government.

          For more on the “Long-Range Policy”, read KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s book, “New Lies for Old” (available at Internet Archive), the only Soviet era defector to still be under protective custody in the West:

          http://www.archive.org/details/GolitsynAnatoleTheNewLiesForOldOnes

  • McRobbie

    “he even refused to condemn the building of the Berlin Wall.”
    And this is from the guiding light for the current potential british PM..heaven help us.

  • McQueue

    Ralph Milliband is indefensible, as for that matter is the LSE for pandering to him and regarding him as somehow great – his contempt for the country that allowed him safety is so clearly evident, to argue the point of whether he “hated” Britain is academic and amatter of semantics – he despised us.

    • Andy

      Quite right. Well said. He came to our shores on the last boat from Ostend and promptly wrote that he almost wished we would lose the war to shows us how things are. Talk about spitting on your hosts. Had he stayed in continental Europe he would have met his end in a gas chamber and disappeared up a chimney. When the war was won he didn’t return to Belgium, where he was born but was not a subject, nor to his parents native Poland, which is rather surprising when it gained the sort of government and state he desired. The hypocrisy of the man was breathtaking, just like that of his ghastly spawn. No, cut it any way you like but Miliband hated Britain.

  • Luis Rubio

    Ralph Miliband was my teacher from 1977 to 1979 and I had long weekly interviews to discuss the class materials. He never once, in class or in personal interviews, tried to impose his view on anything. His was a most flexible mindset and was always willing to challenge his own views. I never heard him deprecate Britain (though he disliked the Labor leadership of the time). Whatever his ideology, he was always respectful of his students views. I doubt he was any different with his children at home.

Close