We are all socialists now
A couple of days ago, I thought my call for full-scale nationalisation of the banking sector would remain beyond the pale of political acceptability for at least a week. But in today’s paper I read the following, very sensible assessment
Inevitably, the US, Britain and Europe are going to end up with nationalised banking systems in one form or another, and with governments guaranteeing not only their deposits but probably all their liabilities. The nationalisation will be a temporary emergency measure. But for some time at least the systemically important banks effectively are going to be public utilities and must be regulated accordingly.
This taxpayer rescue of banking systems opens up a new and potentially very important avenue for unfreezing bank lending and restoring the flow of credit. If governments effectively control the banks, what is to stop them from demanding that they start lending again?
And what wild-eyed socialist wrote this? Alan Wood in the Australian.
Of course, none of this constitutes a shift to socialism in any meaningful sense of the term. But it does mean, for quite some time to come, the end of neoliberalism (or free-market liberalism or whatever you want to call the set of ideas centred on the proposition that markets can do a better job than governments in managing risks of all kinds). The question of what will replace neoliberalism has come up so suddenly, and in such chaotic circumstances, that no-one has a clear answer. I’m confident that the response must be broadly social democratic, but there are a lot of details that need to be filled in.
Note The spam filter has been rejecting comments because of the ci*lis problem in the post title. I’ve fixed that, but commenters will probably need to asterisk the S word (Soci*lism) to avoid the filter.