Tony Judt’s last book covers the history of, and the attacks on, Social Democracy in the 20th Century. The elements – universal healthcare, education, social welfare are the backcloth to lives in the Western Liberal Democracies. There is a belief that that these social infrastructures will weather every storm and a low level of understanding that continual undermining through privatisation and other disappropriations might reach breaking point.
“Something is profoundly wrong,” argues Judt, “with the way we live today.” We have wasted the two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall; they have been consumed by the locusts, or more precisely by the shamelessly greedy. It has been the era of all the Dicks, from Cheney to Fuld, politically “an age of the pygmies”. Unregulated markets have crashed. Wars of choice have left bloody destruction in their wake. The snouts have been buried deep in the trough. Beyond the noise of guzzling, we can hear no moral critique of what has happened, no shout of rage that things don’t have to be like this.”