Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Cold Monday

nwhyte points to a short lj post by financial journalist peterbirks which provides an overview of the current financial crisis. It starts a bit simplistic, but I think his final analysis is correct.
The only debate now is whether the end will be nasty and brutal, or some kind of gradual slide. My guess is that it will be the latter, and that it will be some relatively minor event, (a baby black swan, as it were) that will cause the really massive market meltdown. It will be at that point that all of us savers will suddenly realize that we only have about half what we thought we had.

I don't know the guy. I suspect he is much more right wing than me. However, I think he is right that the system is dying.

There are short and long term problems. The short term problems are due to poor decision making in country after country; with better decision making they could have been avoided, and they can still be palliated. The long term problems are inherent in Capitalism, and are inevitable. So we need to solve the short term problems, and keep Capitalism going as long as possible, so that we can try to construct an alternative while we still have cities and universities and fueled technology.

But I am now thinking that the current crisis is also inevitable. The system will make people rise to the top who are no good, and it will encourage them to use economic models which are no use. So bad decisions are inevitable. And we just stand there gob-smacked at the failure of decision makers to implement the obvious policies to save themselves.

What needs to be done in the short term is fairly obvious I think. America needs to tax the richest 1 or 2% more effectively, and in Europe a unified currency must be supported by a limited flow of resources from more to less prosperous areas, or abandoned. So in both cases, a limited form of redistribution will keep things ticking along a little longer. It is a mark of how dysfunctional our cultures are, that people with power would rather lose everything than take these relatively painless steps.

Someone on Crooked Timber called ejh made up this bit of doggerel:
The task of economics
Is to propagate a bluff:
That the poor have too much money
And the rich don't have enough.

And as long as we base our policies on that poisonous idea, the end is coming quicker.
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