Interesting Times – The Market versus Democracy

Sunday 24th June

There is a strange disconnection between a right-wing market led philosophy and the politics of most European countries, which are basically social democrats.  The right wing which despite Bush and the financial crisis of 2008 has never gone away.  In a funny sort of way the worse their policies perform the more they argue that they aren’t right-wing enough.  ‘If Austerity is driving the countries of Southern Europe towards bankruptcy then it is because they weren’t Austere enough.’  And we must remember that the problem started in America, and with the investment banks reckless behaviour, just as it did in the 1930’s.  Obviously Governments around the world were too lax also, but that is with the benefit of hindsight.  And in fact it would have been very difficult for any Government to have bucked the trend and the markets would soon have singled out any country which had tried to rein in the banking system.  Part of the problem is this mad market philosophy, which reacts with violent swings to the slightest rumour and is in fact made up of hundreds of thousands of financial speculators who are nervously watching every tiny movement of stocks and shares because they stand to make or lose fortunes faster than they can click a mouse on the SELL button.  The market doesn’t think long-term, the market has no conscience, and yet there is a whole swathe of people who believe that the market is always right, despite the fact that for the last twelve years pension funds have performed so poorly that millions are looking to a miserable old age, and all thanks to the market.  So, interesting times, and despite the dire warnings I believe that democracy and politics will prevail.