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September 06, 2011


Dick Pountain

John Gray, who has rarely been confused with a ray of sunshine, thinks that we're barely started on this crisis. I'm starting to feel the same way, as our neo-Hooverian chancellor digs in his heels...


Western consumers are retrenching because they have to thanks to unemployment, debt and fear of job loss. Western Governments are retrenching because they have big debts, have an ideological mental bloc about deficit spending and have internalised the neoliberal idea that states are like households (except when it comes to corporate welfare spending). Western corporations are sitting on cash and cutting real wages at every opportunity. So there is no demand in the system to make it grow. Yet if it grows in the usual way, the environment is damaged further. The obvious thing to do is Green Infrastructural Investment on a huge scale, as recommended by Krugman, Sachs, and eco-Keynesians on all sides. Yet there is no political majority or willpower in the West for this strategy. Instead, we are more likely to get a rerun of the early 1930s, minus any prospect of a new FDR in the USA. Accordingly, I agree that we could be barely out of the starting gate with this crisis.

Dick Pountain

And why have the politicians bought into the neoliberal consensus? A few out of intellectual conviction, a few out of personal greed, but most because they need corporate funds to get re-elected. Campaign finance reform is as important as financial regulation reform (and just as far away)

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