October 15, 2008

"Public money hurled at the face of capitalism"

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian, with a salutary message for those hailing the death of capitalism:

    The banks have not been "nationalised", just deluged with money. They remain pluralist and competitive institutions, with independent boards. Their workers are not civil servants. Investors retain their shares. The bonus culture will revive. The impresarios of greed have been punished, or at least a few of them. But this is not socialism in our time, just public money hurled at the face of capitalism.

    ... For the record, exactly the same gloating was heard after the crash of 1987. It too "spelled the death of market economics".

Meanwhile, Steve Shaviro responds to my scepticism about too quickly assuming that the recession will close down the possibilities for radical change. At the risk of repeating myself, the problem is obvious: the boom manifestly did not lead to a growth of radicalism, but if the prospects are worse under a recession, then when could anything ever happen? It might well be the case that downturn obstructs radicalisation, but we've just lived through a period that has definitively proven that there is (at the least) no necessary link between abundance and revolt. My own sense is that the kind of abundance we've just experienced led to a widespread feeling that there was too much to lose. What will happen when the security blanket is removed?

Posted by mark at October 15, 2008 04:25 PM | TrackBack