I’ll give it a go…
In the first place. it’s necessary to understand that economics is simply the study, development and implementation of systems and models designed to deliver the basic essentials of life — food, shelter, warmth, etc-to the required number of people as efficiently as possible. These must be constantly updated, adjusted and reconfigured as societies become larger and more complex, and technology advances.
Politics is the art and science of managing leadership within a society and relations between different societies.
By ‘social’ I mean the cultural, religious and ideological elements of society. The intangibles that give us identity and a common ground upon which to relate to one another.
Now the fact is that, yes, these things have become entangled with each other. But the ways in which they have done so are due not to any real links between them, but to historical accident.
Now it is important to note that any political structure: autocratic, democratic, plutocratic, technocratic or anarchic, can support, or be supported by, any kind of economic system. Which is where too many errors arise. The labelling of the old Soviet and current Chinese systems as ‘Communist’ or ‘Socialist’ is fundamentally wrong. The economic structures may be Communist or Socialist, but the political structures -strictly hierarchical, intolerant of dissent and highly centralised - are in fact Fascist.
In our Western democracies, we have political parties which embrace specific economic models and specific sets of social ideas or ideals. I’m taking this from the UK, as there is no visible left in the US — Bernie Sanders, in UK terms, is a centrist more akin to our Liberal Democrats or ‘One Nation’ Conservatives than Labour, to call him any kind of Socialist is to wholly misunderstand what Socialism is.
So we have Conservative Economics (CE) These, broadly speaking, are: free-market capitalism; no regulation of markets, prices, wage-levels or monopolies; anti-Trade Union; bare-minimum levels of state-funded health-care and education; out-sourcing of public and social services to private companies; no public ownership; a punitive and hard-to-access system of social benefits; low taxes for high earners.
Then we have Conservative Social Values (CSV): Nationalist; Dislike/distrust of foreigners; pro-Brexit; anti-immigration; forced social and cultural assimilation of minorities as opposed to multiculturalism; traditional family structures; social but not legal recognition of LGBTQ+ communities; neutral to anti- on environmentalism; traditional native culture, holidays and festivals only.
Labour Economics (LE): Regulated markets to control excesses of capitalism whilst maintaining private enterprise; minimum wages; price regulation on basic goods and services; pro-Trade Union; public ownership of utilities, transport infrastructure and key strategic industries; full, state-provided, tax-funded health care and education to all levels, free at the point of use with no-strings maintenance grants for all students; a social welfare system that provides a guaranteed minimum income and standard of living as of right; social and public services to be carried out by public service workers only; high taxes for high earners, closing of tax evasion loopholes and abolition of tax havens.
Labour Social Values (LSV): Internationalist; focus on ‘common humanity’ rather than national identity; anti-Brexit; pro-immigration; multiculturalism; recognition, both social and legal, of all types of family structure; support of LGBTQ+ and BAME rights and cultural identity; environmentalism.
NB: These lists are not exhaustive, just a sample.
Now, the problem lies in the fact that there is no real, organic, connection between E and SV. None at all. Social ideologies do not spring from economic systems.Catholicism did not arise from feudal, agrarian economics any more than Nonconformism sprang from industrialisation. They are associated with them, in an historical sense, and the ideologues of the Churches did and do meddle in politics as a way of retaining their privileged position — their worst nightmare is a secular government deciding that they must finally begin to pay their taxes! Economic systems have their roots in their forebears: Capitalism rose from the ashes of Feudalism and Socialism out of the oppression of laissez-faire Capitalism.
What we have then, in this country at any rate, is a situation where only a narrow group fully supports the full range of E and SV presented by either party.
The full CE/CSV is supported mainly by retired military men and their tweed-clad ladies living in the Home Counties. On the other hand LE/LSV is the province of wet-behind-the-ears undergraduates and left-wing ‘intellectuals’ (ie people who talk and write and get paid for it because it’s better than working for a living).
CE, on it’s own, is the choice of business people, five per cent of those are psychopaths and the rest too concerned with ‘getting on’, or getting rich, to give a hoot about SV at all!
The middle classes, on the whole, are CE/LSV. CE keeps them in their privileged lifestyles and LSV soothes the social consciences they grew during tertiary education. They voted in droves for Blairs’ ‘New Labour’ because it gave them what they wanted.
The working classes -the people I grew up among and have worked with most of my life (even though nowadays I’m considered middle-class), are and have always been, as long as I can remember, LE/CSV. They know that Socialist economics are their best chance for a decent standard of living. But they also know that Conservative Social Values are the only way to keep their identity intact and to stop society from fragmenting. That’s why Brexit is important enough for them to vote in a Tory government that might well strip away the last few pennies they have. Better to starve a free Englishman than eat well as a subject of the Fourth Reich or New Empire of France! These were the people behind, and more importantly in front of, the guns twice in the last century. There is not one working class, ethnically British, family in the country who has not lost one or more relatives at the hands of Germans -soldiers in the fields or civilians in bombing raids. The fields of Flanders are covered in thousands of British graves, but the French, who should be kissing our feet in gratitude for their continued existence, just demand more and more money to protect the interests of their inefficient farmers. On top of which, the bloody Yanks — who didn't even turn up until it was nearly all over, mind, and even then they made a right pigs’ breakfast of their landings on D-Day - claim they were the ones who won it all and keep throwing their weight about! That’s how they think, and that’s why so many of them have abandoned the Labour Party: because it’s full of University types who’ve never done a hands’ turn of real work and have all these daft ideas!