Steel crisis: they do not give a sh*t | Paul Mason


There’s a meme that keeps resurfacing in the genteel world of rightwing financial thought: that the term “neoliberalism” is in some way just a term of abuse, or a catch-all phrase invented by the left.

Well, as the UK steel industry faces instant closure — and let’s be clear that’s what Tata would do if it had to — we about to get a textbook lesson in what neoliberalism actually means. It means, when market logic clashes with human logic, the market must prevail and you must not give a sh*t about the social consequences.

At stake are two things.

First 40,000 manufacturing jobs in Tata and its supply chain. These are very high quality jobs. In the Stocksbridge Tata plant, for example, you’ll see three or four people using hand-held controllers operate a facility the size of an aircraft hangar, melting and re-forming massive bars of metal. At Port Talbot there’s a half-mile long rolling mill operated, last time I was there, by a shift of twelve people. At each site there are tens of apprentices currently studying to do these jobs, which if Tata closes will not exist.

So question number one is does the British government want to intervene to save these jobs, and the communities that depend on them.

The second issue is steel as a strategic resource. If you want an independent defence industry you have to have a steel industry. Given the nature of war, many of the things you need to fight it — like tanks, submarines and missiles — have to be made of metal. At some point that metal has to be produced in a furnace. Furnaces use large amounts of energy. Energy is expensive because we need to wean ourselves off carbon. So energy policy, trade policy and defence policy are at odds — fundamentally because there is no industrial policy to tie them together.

Indeed the ministry that should have an industrial policy is run by a man who, when the space between his ears registers a thought at all, believes there should not be an industrial policy.

Read more: Steel crisis: they do not give a shit — Mosquito Ridge — Medium

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7 thoughts on “Steel crisis: they do not give a sh*t | Paul Mason

  1. Roland Laycock

    Don’t blame the Chinese for our greed, the square mile is all they think of they hate the working class look what they did with the miners

  2. mohandeer

    Why did the Tories veto the EU initiative to place levies on cheap imports from China and why did we buy our steel from Sweden to build our military and naval vessels?
    No wonder the welfare bill keeps going up if closures and unemployment are becoming the norm with this government’s lack of investment.

  3. Steve

    The market is king UNLESS a bank is failing. At this point state welfare must be given to the bank. Free market economy my arse…….

  4. Terry Davies

    the steel investment cash is being paid as bonuses to bankers. the loans from chinese banks to construct the nuclear power station will be repaid from costly utility charges.

  5. casalealex

    This is an unbelievably horrendous bridge too far! If this infamy does not bring down this dictatorial regime – nothing will. Their wilful and systematic disintegration of one of our last British industries is an unmitigated abomination.

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