After today’s failure of the American political machine to act in defence of the economy, it’s obvious that in the generations since the cult of the free market became fashionable, the managerial instinct of the political classes has been bred out of the pedigree. So that now, when the state needs to assert its authority and meets its responsibilities, it doesn’t have the genes for the job. Like expecting a poodle to hunt a stag.
The banks have been on strike for some time, now the state, represented by the US House of Representatives, has abandoned its post. Who else is there for the electorate to trust with managing their general security?
McCain’s Had His Chips
The Republican Party is now in tatters, having rejected its own leadership and its candidate. Who will Republican voters be voting for?
This will also reflect a wider split in the country as a whole between those seeking a progressive solution and those retreating even further into the myth of the free market which caused this mess in the first place. Which is also a choice facing the rest of the world, it seems. Hopefully the polarisation will not go as far as it did after the last comparable crash, the 20% in 1929, because the falls today were still only around 6%. But commentators are predicting that if the markets continue as they did today, with still another 3 days at least to fall before any new deal is struck on Capitol Hill, 20% might not be just a nightmare. If the effects on Main St are as accelerated by the global communications as the crash on Wall Street, mass political extremism could re-emerge in America. Led by the existing lords of organised crime, most likely, who will look like honest Robin Hoods compared with the sleazy conspiracy of jobsworth politicians and rapacious corporations fighting for their own survival. After all, Gangsta Rap turned out to be right all along.
There are European hints at some form of international initiative, possibly involving the Chinese, who have a lot of stake in western markets. Peter Mandelson has just returned (again?) from China as full of beans as a Mitford from Nuremburg, calling for increased investment and general pulling together.
Anorak Obama took the opportunity to attack the ‘philosophies of greed’ in very general terms, sounding more like Harold MacMillan in his ‘I’m alright Jack’ phase, than a man of destiny. Much more. Even though ‘No Welfare For Wall Street’ is probably a good enough campaign slogan.
The fact is that Computer-driven global consumerism is simply too hot for C19 industrial capitalism to control. The instant transfer of assets and information, and the processing power available to make complex Game Theory projections of the market, have been key factors in creating this crisis. And many saw the dangers of electronic distribution and exchange systems which could turn irrecoverable debts into commodities and hide them in a labyrinth of transactions until they infected the entire credit system. Which is exactly what has happened. Cosy, middle-aged oil-fed postwar capitalism discovered crack cocaine and didn’t have the constitution to survive it.