Crisis Statism

You recall that Naomi Klein insists that every time there\’s a crisis then free markets, neo-cons and neo-liberals pushing them on, shred the restraints put upon them by watchful governments with only the citizens\’ interests at heart?

In truth, the sense of surprise is hard to credit, since everything that has happened was entirely predictable. For 25 years or more, the great and the good of the financial markets have been chipping away at the constraints that were put on them the last time they brought the global economy to its knees, ably aided and abetted by politicians, the international institutions and a battery of thinktanks supported by corporate interests.

I don\’t think Larry Elliott agrees: he seems to be saying that the last time we had a financial crisis it was State regulation that made the advances.

Ho hum.

Under Alan Greenspan, the Fed left rates too low for too long. Under Ben Bernanke it left them too high for too long. It takes a mighty leap of faith to assume that it will get it just right this time.

Gosh Larry, that is a powerful argument in favour of bureaucrats running things, rather than markets, isn\’t it?

2 comments on “Crisis Statism

  1. I love how everything gets reduced to a question of setting the interest rate too high or too low, and if ever there is an asset bubble or a recession it shows the Fed ‘got it wrong’.

    Like there was some available interest rate path could have smoothed out every shock the world economy throws up (and not only that, any fool can diagnose how and when the Fed went wrong).

    Larry Elliot is the economics equivalent of Seumas Milne – he’s an embarrassment to a supposedly intelligent and informed newspaper. Mind you, the Groan readers seem to love him, so perhaps he’s the right man for the job. A fine example of an individually rational decision (hire Larry) producing a socially sub-optimal outcome.

  2. Greenspan did change the regulation on reserves, so banks started lending there reserve money, when they should have been increasing reserves. There was nothing wrong with the interest rates (they, are in reality, outside the control of the regulator and controlled by the market).

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