Neo-cons move over, it’s time for the neo-socs
Samuel Brittan gave over much of his Financial Times column on Friday to quote Keynes approvingly. He’s not the only sinner to repent since the global financial system went into meltdown. It’s not just the commentariat – look at all the right wing politicians who have abandoned deregulation and liberalism to nationalise the banks (and there may be more nationalisations to come if the crisis spreads to the ‘real’ economy). Like the US neo-cons – typically youthful leftists converted to the hard right – there are now neo-socs, those who grew up right wing but have been forced by market failure to move to the left.
John Gray, emeritus professor at the LSE, was an early example. His latest piece, in the Toronto Globe and Mail, says
“an unprecedented expansion of government is the only means of averting a market catastrophe”
One slight problem, of course, is the ‘Fukuyama effect’. Francis Fukuyama, whose ‘the end of history’ is often cited as the neo-con Bible, has recanted from neo-conservatism, and there is a distinct possibility that, when the dust settles, the neo-socs will be back to their deregulatory mantra. Which brings me to MY vote in the ‘they just don’t get it’ parade – EU Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, who told a breakfast briefing in London this morning that the current crisis must not be used to halt the competitiveness agenda, industry should not be bailed out, businesses must compete to survive.
If you want to do something about this over the weekend, those global buccaneers at Avaaz are at it again, seeking support for a petition to G7 Finance Ministers. Sign it.
“Only concerted action by the global community can build a better system, and we can’t leave it to the financiers — so today, we’re launching an emergency campaign calling on leaders for a global public rescue to save all our economies. This is what’s needed — a ‘buy-in’ to financial institutions not a reckless ‘bailout’, massive public investment stimulus to stave off global depression, temporary guarantee of loans/deposits, and strict new regulations to fix this broken system once and for all.”