Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gordon Brown, the centre-left, and the economy

My latest article, "The antidote to Brown's caution", is published today by The Guardian.

An excerpt:

"The Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recently said that the financial crisis of 2008 was to "market fundamentalism" what the fall of the Berlin Wall was to communism: history's definitive verdict on an ideology that had failed in spectacular fashion.

"[After] the collapse of great banks and financial houses," Stiglitz said, "only the deluded would argue that markets are self-correcting or that we can rely on the self-interested behaviour of market participants to guarantee that everything works honestly and properly".

These discredited assumptions were of course the same ones adopted by New Labour during the 1990s, as it embraced the agenda of expanding and deregulating markets, while becoming "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich".

So the questions uppermost in my mind at Saturday's Fabian Society conference were: to what extent has the Labour party, and its broader intellectual family, learned the lessons described by Stiglitz? What discussions were going on among them, and how would they respond to these seminal events?"

Read the whole thing here.

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