I’ve not been around to post anything here for a while – and have been watching a descent into financial chaos that it is as dramatic as it was entirely predictable.
Events have taken a fairly predictable course – bail-outs which take money from the taxes of ordinary folk to compensate bankers faced with the consequences of their greed and stupidity, and a rush back to Keynes by British politicians in particular, after years of faithful adherence to the free market dogmas. And we’ve seen a possibly historic election in the United States, notable not only for the election of America’s first non-White President but also – it is fervently to be hoped – for a comprehensive defeat for the culture warriors who have pushed their religious and social agenda.
Binge and purge economics
How bad, then, is the economy?
In my view, it’s atrocious. What we are seeing is the classic bursting of a speculative bubble, and there seems to me to be no evidence whatsoever that the worst has yet happened. We’ve had years and years of deluded bingeing on cheap credit, and now it’s payback time. The most disturbing thing, as I’ve mentioned before, is the sheer delusion – by what possible yardstick can a huge acceleration in the price of a house be an indication of wealth?
And we have seen years of redistribution from poor to rich, as public spending has cut back and as increasing parts of the apparatus of decency won over the decades has been sold off to spivs. To take an example, thirty years ago we had free university education in Britain – yet now we’re told we can’t afford it as a society. Says who? In the light of what? We are a materially much richer society than we were – even taking into account current events – but that wealth is in fewer and fewer hands.
So, following a bit of a gap, there’s plenty to write about on this blog – and I hope to be able to keep up the flow of thoughts in the months ahead, rather more effieicently than I have managed in the last few months.