Financial Times, Russia and Deprivation

Paul Flewers paul.flewers at SPAMvirgin.net
Mon Aug 16 21:02:46 MDT 1999



Louis Proyect wrote: < Yesterday's NY Times magazine section had an
extraordinarily frank article on the collapse of Russian society brought
on by capitalism... What is also notable is that the author is John
Lloyd, a reporter for the Financial Times, a rock-ribbed Tory
publication. >

Politically, John Lloyd is best described as semi-New Labour, in other
words, he largely goes along with the New Labour project, but he has
some humanitarian feelings towards the poorer people in society, unlike
the fully-fledged New Labourites who are as contemptuous of them as the
Tories, in fact even worse as they have a feeling of a nasty and
sinister born-again Christian righteousness about them.

As an historical footnote, many years ago Lloyd used to be in the
British and Irish Communist Organisation, a very cranky outfit about
which list members from Ireland can tell many entertaining tales.

The Financial Times is the effective 'internal bulletin' of the British
bourgeoisie, which does not prevent it from running articles like
Lloyd's. It's wrong to call it 'rock-ribbed Tory', not least when the
Tories are alienating much of their big-business backing by adopting a
strong anti-Europe line. Other list members in Britain may be able
either to confirm or correct me, but I think that the FT called for a
vote for New Labour in the 1997 general elections. Whatever it did,
certainly New Labour is rapidly becoming the favoured party of the
British bourgeoisie.

As for the substantive question of deprivation in post-Soviet Russia and
the other former Soviet republics, it is very important for the ugly
truth about the inability of capitalism to develop the economy to be
broadcast. Here's a snip from an article in a recent New Interventions.

+++++++

< Russia’s GNP in 1997 stood at 57.1 per cent of the 1989 figure;
agricultural production fell by 36.1 per cent, and industrial production
by 52.1 per cent during that period. Investment as a proportion of GNP
stood at 23 per cent in 1991, and eight per cent in 1997; and one should
note that GNP for the latter year was less than two-thirds of that for
the former. Industrial plant and equipment is rapidly ageing, with only
10 per cent of it in 1995 being under five years old. Agricultural
production has declined at a rate approaching the catastrophic fall
during the collectivisation drive of the early 1930s. From 1990 to 1996,
grain production fell by 40.1 per cent, eggs by 33.7 per cent, cows by
21 per cent, cattle by 40.6 per cent, sheep and goats by 59.4 per cent
and pigs by 49.1 per cent. Only potato production had increased. This
has led to a deteriorating diet. Life expectancy is falling, the birth
rate has halved since 1985, and the death rate has risen, with the
result that the population of Russia is actually falling. >

The data is from Pete Glatter and Mike Haynes, ‘The Russian
Catastrophe’, International Socialism, no 81, Winter 1998-99.

Paul F









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