Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Gordon repeats his no-blame mantra in the US

Gordon Brown intones his mantra in Washington: "It is a global recession. It is a global recession".

The Guardian suggests that he will try to pin the tail of failure on the American donkephant: "Brown will not be keen to admit that the British government bears any responsibility for the crisis, insisting it is the result of banking failure caused by a lack of regulation in the US and the rise of sub-prime mortgages".

The fact is that capitalism in the UK and the US is more attached to free market fundamentalism than the versions of capitalism in the rest of the world. The Anglo-Saxon capitalism of Adam Smith and Margaret Thatcher is the Wahabi version of capitalism. The philosophy of individualism, which stands behind free market capitalism, is strongest in Anglo-Saxon cultures. Sure, the globalised economy means that the whole system crashes together, but the US and UK share joint responsibility for masterminding the present global woes.

Brown will repeat his warning of the dangers of protectionism, while Obama nods, and continues to plan for exactly that: the protection of US jobs.

Brown will probably imply once more that he is the leader of the world in terms of remediation of the recession. On this point, his increasingly worrying detachment from reality becomes more obvious. Obama, to his relative credit, has devoted 16% of his stimulus package to ecological measures such as energy conservation and renewables. Gordon has offered a pusillanimous 7% - one tenth of the proportion of the real world leader, South Korea.

Financial stimulus is the right way to go about it, the Keynsian way, but there is more to Keynes than simply shovelling money at an ever increasing rate into the furnace of the financial system. The money has to be sent to the right places, and the right place for money is the physical base of the real economy, not into the ether of an intoxicated financial system.

Energy, along with agriculture, water services, housing and waste management is the physical base of the economy,. To put money into energy conservation is a no-brainer: it saves money, and it cushions us against Peak Oil - the divergence between rising demand and falling suppply of oil. The Green New Deal is the way to go.

The financial system should not be given any more of the taxpayers' hard earned. The banksters are not grateful of it, they are not contrite, they do not realise that their collective Porsche has run out of road. What the financial system needs is a ring fence to be erected between the rotten core of the financial system and the real hard earned cash that people have entrusted to the banks.

Ah well. La lutte continua.

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