My name is Marc Mulholland. I am a Fellow (lecturer and tutor) in the History Faculty of Oxford University. My College is St Catherine's. I come from Ireland.

This is a blog relating to my book published in 2012 by Oxford University Press, Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear: From Absolutism to Neo-Conservativism.
Now on sale here and here. If you want 20 per cent off the price, I can arrange that! Send me a message or leave a comment, and I'll tell you how.

The thesis my book is examining was rather pithily summarised by Leon Trotsky in 1939: "Wherever the proletariat appeared as an independent force, the bourgeoisie shifted to the camp of the counter-revolution. The bolder the struggle of the masses, the quicker the reactionary transformation of liberalism." [Context is here]

However, my book isn't a defence of Trotskyism, or indeed any particular ideology. It's a study of an idea that took shape in Left, Right, and Centre variations.

This blog has tid-bits not included in the book, and other thoughts that occur.

You can see book details at the
OUP website.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Twilight of Parliamentary Sovereignty?

From about 1870, there was a growing concern amongst liberals and socialists that developing international bond markets meant that executive states were being released from their dependence on representative parliamentary assemblies.

In the inter-war period, authoritarian regimes could use bilateral corporate arrangements with oligopolist capitalist enterprises to bypass taxation by express consent.

After World War Two, in the West, high wage economies combined with Pay-Roll or PAYE based fiscal systems tended to reinforce state reliance upon democratic parliamentarianism.

Globalisation and financialisation since the 1970s, arguably, has worked to once again shift state reliance from taxation of the democracy to bankrolling by the credit markets.

The European crisis is perhaps a worryingly profound stage in the development of this democratic deficit. Of course, whoever pays the piper calls the tune. Here's Gunnar Beck in today's Guardian on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM):

If implemented, the ESM will reverse the greatest 19th-century political achievement in Europe: the transfer of the power to determine taxation and expenditure from unaccountable monarchical governments to formally accountable parliaments. The eurocratic transformation will have taken place through systematic disregard by the EU institutions and its member states of practically all legal and constitutional safeguards put in place to prevent precisely the disaster that has befallen the eurozone now.

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