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You can’t build a new society with a Stanley knife

Malcolm Bull: Hardt and Negri’s Empire, 4 October 2001

Empire 
by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Harvard, 478 pp., £12.95, August 2001, 0 674 00671 2
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... in, or of their willingness to work, has a long history on the Right. In the early 1960s, Milton Friedman came out in favour of one form of the idea, and in Britain it has circulated at the margins of Conservative politics for half a century, being espoused most recently by William Hague’s friend Alan Duncan. Support for free migration has also come mostly ...

Frameworks of Comparison

Benedict Anderson, 21 January 2016

... is Chomsky, who revolutionised the study of linguistics, and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Milton Friedman in economics, though Keynes may last longer. This doesn’t mean that contemporary US universities aren’t obsessed with ‘theory’, only that the ‘theory’ either comes from outside America, is modelled on economics (which has a strong ...

Every Penny a Vote

Alexander Zevin: Neoliberalism, 15 August 2019

Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism 
by Quinn Slobodian.
Harvard, 381 pp., £25.95, March 2018, 978 0 674 97952 9
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... mischief. He confided to his secretary that he liked blacks no better than Jews. In 1976, Milton Friedman spoke up in Newsweek for white minority rule in Rhodesia, and visited the University of Cape Town to explain to its predominantly white, segregated student body his opposition to universal suffrage in South Africa. Echoing Mises, he described it as ...

The President and the Bomb

Adam Shatz, 16 November 2017

... of the American political system that you can call the president a moron – or, as Thomas Friedman recently put it on the front page of the New York Times, ‘flat-out dumb’ – but you can’t call into question the sanctity or power of his office. Whatever your complaints, the president has ultimate military authority, and there are plenty of ...

After-Time

Christopher Hitchens, 19 October 1995

Palimpsest: A Memoir 
by Gore Vidal.
Deutsch, 432 pp., £17.99, October 1995, 0 233 98891 2
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... for the rich and free enterprise for the poor’, which I think pre-empts Milton Friedman as author of that essential line about the way we live now. There is also a pregnant observation borrowed by Vidal from his post-war visits to the monkish cell of George Santayana. He judges the author of Egotism in ...

After the Fall

John Lanchester: Ten Years after the Crash, 5 July 2018

... go by quite so fast. At the start of 2008, Gordon Brown was prime minister of the United Kingdom, George W. Bush was president of the United States, and only politics wonks had ever heard of the junior senator from Illinois; Nicolas Sarkozy was president of France, Hu Jintao was general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Ken Livingstone was mayor of ...

The Bayswater Grocer

Thomas Meaney: The Singapore Formula, 18 March 2021

Singapore: A Modern History 
by Michael Barr.
Bloomsbury, 296 pp., £17.99, December 2020, 978 1 350 18566 1
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... open war on the Barisan was set in motion by the last British commissioner of Singapore, George Douglas-Hamilton, an exceptionally wily colonial hand. As the historian P.J. Thum has recounted, Douglas-Hamilton made a point of arranging a rendezvous with Lim and other Barisan figures (making it appear that they, not he, had arranged it), during which ...

A Ripple of the Polonaise

Perry Anderson: Work of the Nineties, 25 November 1999

History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the Nineties 
by Timothy Garton Ash.
Allen Lane, 441 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7139 9323 5
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... option for restless spirits: a motive that can be traced back to early Victorian times, when George Borrow’s fascination with Spanish or Gypsy low life was bred of detestation for native ‘gentility’. On the other hand, Britain’s Imperial primacy – whose memory long outlasted its reality – inevitably encouraged dreams of daring exploits in ...

The European Coup

Perry Anderson, 17 December 2020

... knows that what is good does not come automatically. That may require an army. A Napoleon. Or a George W. Bush. A price must be paid if we want human rights to spread. We should not blame Napoleon for using violence, but for not going far enough. Napoleon’s mistake was that he employed freedom and equality as symbols to help his army win battles rather ...

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