Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jump! You Fuckers!

I have just finished a 10,000 word piece on the origins of the current economic crisis. A pdf can be downloaded here at Verso's website. It is released on a Creative Commons license, so you can edit and expand on it and forward it freely on a non-commercial basis. If you need a Word version, drop me a line.

In it I look at the various explanations as to why we are such deep trouble and I sketch the one I have come across that seems best supported by the evidence. The good news is that it is possible to understand what has happened over the last generation in Britain and America. The other good news is that we'll have to create a more equitable economic system if we are going to get out of the current shambles. The bad news is that the current political and economic establishment, to the loud applause of their many tame intellectuals, have really gone and fucked the dog on this one.

43 Comments:

Blogger danbri said...

Good read. I wonder if the CC license will inspire anyone to try to boil the story down to something like a two-page cartoon...?

BTW, typo / missing word towards the end: "We
 could 
of 
old
 age
 waiting
..."

8:09 AM  
Blogger gnome said...

Brilliant and insightful! Now, to grab a copy of The Threat of Reason.

2:02 AM  
Blogger gnome said...

Oh, and I do have a nice alternative ending suggestion, but it is based on the assumption that the Keynesian pre-Bretton Woods state of affairs was already both brutal and in deep crisis... Guess we'd disagree on that bit then.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I just reading it now and am feeling much calmer already. Now all we need to do is sort the money out - did you know that if everyone paid back what they owed, there would be no money left in the economy - 97% of money is created out of thin air by the banks - check out http://www.cfoss.com/grip.html

1:29 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I believe this thesis is correct, but wonder what will come next. My current bedside (?) reading is 'The Shock Doctrine' by Naomi Klein. Klein reveals how economic or political shock has been used as a cover for introducing extreme right-wing, pro-globalisation, pro-corporate policies. The examples given are not conspiracies but something more dangerous. What we face is a tacit consensus that 'shock economics' is the only option to rebuild the world aright. This makes me fear what the future holds, particularly if Prime Minister Brown's lending spree goes so far as to undermine Sterling. Will the World Bank and IMF demand the dismantling of the NHS as a condition for a bale-out? As if Public Services got us into this mess.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Gonzo said...

nice one man. bout time someone got the rocks to expose the evil in the machine - from now on it's pointy finger time and hang a banker special. The Gonzo Lecture.

http://thegonzolecture.blogspot.com/

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Blogger david hill said...

Excellent article that should be read by everyone to avoid the same thing happening in the future by what has been unleashed. Unfortunately government politicians (and Whitehall et al) and corporates lull us all into a false sense of security eventually, usually every 75>100 years.

The real villains in all this are the politicians, bankers and the large corporates who are all driven by short-termism and greed; the enemies of stability, sustainability and positive human progress.

6:30 AM  
Blogger david hill said...

The problem is also that the masses have no real way of having an influence on the future. Democracy I don't think so for whatever way you move, the politicians have it covered to stop such an event in reality happening. The world just goes the way that the politicians choose and not what the people wish. There is a great need therefore for an 'applied' institution for the people, where thoughts and the thinking of all can be channeled into government policy. Indeed this should make perfect sense as the laws of probability are on our side under this adopted system also.
But, the politicians will not allow this and the reason why they are basically the enemy of democracy in many ways. Until we go to a new socio-politico system that allows the people to enter the decision-making process, democracy will mean little in terms of human sustainability. The reason, politicians and Whitehall predominantly get it wrong and where complacency and the 'steady-state' (the no risk decision making culture) is rife.

There is a mechanism and we should adopt it if it were given the light of day. The People's ORE Incubators and their structures are the answer.

drhill@thewif.org.uk

6:58 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

I very much disagree with the entirety of this analysis! Here's an extract from a comment I made in an e-mail to a friend of mine in response:

"Our current mess isn't down to parochial issues such as the substitution of welfare and wages with debt for the western working-classes, or the tendency of bankers to 'confuse speculation with enterprise' and manage banks with a short-termist mindset (thereby undermining the longterm interests of capital expansion). There's a whole bigger problem of massive capital accumulation in Western economies, making the export of produced goods unprofitable and leading to the necessary investment in (and development of) the third world against the longterm economic interests of our financial mandarins. This process systematically undermines western production and creates a system of neo-financial colonialism, where the only method by which western nations may keep liquid capital circulating in their economies is by means of unproductive capital extraction through elaborate financial networks of control. As the western economic model is not value productive, it relies solely upon parasitically taxing and tolling producing nations through debt, favourable trade 'agreements' and occasionally crude 'brute force' - suppressing the development of global production (and thereby suppressing the expansion of real global capital). This complex system of parasitic imperialism prevents the overrall growth of the world market - that's the cause of our longterm economic stagnation - it's nothing at all to do with inadequate domestic wealth distribution in industrialised societies as is suggested in his final section.

These macro-longterm porblems have been supplimented by NATIONAL not CONSUMER debt; this, and also the independent development of industrially producing nations like China and India outside the immediate realm of western financial domination has allowed a political counter-balance to western nations to grow - allowing our increasing financial dependence upon THEM and thus enabling a potential successor to western global hegemony on the far side of this crisis to be created."

6:44 AM  
Blogger Eric Arthur Bliar said...

Fantastic piece, Mr Hind.

The most honest, lucid, well-researched analysis I have read anywhere thus far.

Bravo!

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Blogger David J. Williams said...

"Tame intellectuals". Well put, sir.

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