Written earlier this year….
The origins of the world economic crisis which we have not yet begun to solve date back to the potential collapse of banks and financial institutions such as Northern Rock in the UK and Lehman Brothers in the USA. It has been acknowledged widely that the national leader who led the charge to bail them out was Gordon Brown who seized the opportunity to alleviate his own domestic troubles. It is ironic that a socialist prime minister who had tried as Chancellor of the Exchequer to redistribute incomes should be the one to open the flood gates to wholesale intervention in the capitalist system to help the richest people retain their wealth. It is perhaps in the nature of socialism to intervene and attempt to plan to obstruct market forces. Gordon Brown was reputed to be a tinkerer and deviser of complicated schemes which he would then defend against all rational argument. This was perhaps one of these times. Pausing for thought might have suggested to him that here was a golden opportunity to devise a new order of world finance by quarantining the banks as one would a computer virus allowing the rest of the system to recover and heal the wound.
The Second World War spawned the Beveridge Report, something substantial out of disaster. In economic terms the current crisis is as cataclysmic as a world war but so far no great game changing movement has emerged. The Beveridge Report changed Society for ever. There was never any chance of reverting to the old order. There is yet time for something as fundamental to surface from the present economic turmoil but even the so called Socialist parties have until now been more inclined to maintain the status quo than to grasp the opportunity to re-align our society.
In the West there are many intractable problems which politicians have campaigned on for many elections without actually changing anything. An ageing population, an increasing gap between rich and poor, growing youth unemployment, increasing drug and alcohol related contamination are not as intractable as many would have us believe. What is lacking is the real political will and the application of great minds dedicated to finding solutions.