Sunday, February 15, 2009
Sage Voices Argue Gordon's Medicine Was Always Going to Fail
Nick Cohen today aptly quotes Antonio Gramsci regarding the present state of the economic crisis:
Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci left us the eerie sentence: "The old is dead and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum, many morbid symptoms appear." And that's how Britain under Brown feels: a morbid country stuck between a lost past and an unrealisable future, with a glowering leader unable to move because he is paralysed by the weight of his own history.
Simon Jenkins, during the week suggested Brown has, disastrously taken totally the wrong approach to solving the crisis:
At this point a banker has no profession, let alone a role as a national hero. He is a mere receiver of debts. If you give such people a sudden stash of unearned wealth, they are duty-bound to use it to pay off their debts, not donate it to the public. Yet each week over the past three months we have been told that billions are being provided to banks "in the hope" that it will be lent on to companies. What is this hope? It is like giving addicts heroin in the hope that they will pass it on to their local hospital. The money has gone into relieving balance sheets coated in red. It is throwing good money after bad, otherwise known as madness.
The third sage voice is trhat of Dominic Lawson son of the 'brilliant' Nigel, of course. He aims his brickbats at Obama-who recently said his huge bail-out was necessary to 'jump start the US economy' but they might equally have been aimed at Gordon:
He (Obama)might, therefore, have been surprised to see an advertisement in the national papers, signed by more than 200 eminent economists, which declared: “With all due respect, Mr President, that is not true. Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians . . . we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.” The sorry facts bear this out. The unemployment rate in the US was still 19% in 1939.
Maybe these views are merely some of thise 'morbid symptoms' of which Gransci wrote but it could be- perish the thought- they are mostly right. We'll soon find out but will it be too late by then?