Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Freeland's comments

Chrystia Freeland (FT):

" More importantly, this particular economic crisis has already overturned the economic orthodoxy which helped ensure Republican political dominance over the past three decades. That philosophy, neatly summarised by Ronald Reagan in his inaugural address – “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” – was demolished last Monday, when Mr Paulson effectively coerced the country’s biggest banks into selling significant stakes to the state. "

Government, which represents the people, took over part of the banking system.

It was inevitable because this is in the nature of the situation itself. Capitalism spreads money - we can say money or we can say wealth or value or whatever - out to the public. They end up eventually more or less owning capitalism. To save the system, the government -their representative -had to step in. The government essentially proved this point, which I have understood for some time. The idea, an obvious one to me, that "the people" own the economic system is of course difficult to absorb, when the prevailing orthodoxy is all set up contrariwise.

She also said, at the U of Wisconsin, that "we are living through a moment of systemic change" (UW newspaper, Feb 11)

Well, yeah, that is the idea, but I do not think of it is as easy, or as a given. I think it is a necessity, and I think there is a big question about whether we will be able to make the radical changes that are needed. "Systemic change" is, however, what we need in order to survive. So I am certainly for "systemic change."

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