Life After the Economic Crisis
Much has been written on this blog about immediate responses to the crisis. We have analyzed proposed measures in depth and advocated for bold novel solutions. But it seems to me that we haven’t spent much time looking forward a little past the here and now.
Last week, I was contacted by a Montreal-based journalist, Alex Roslin, who was looking for progressive economists to do precisely that: make some reasonable extrapolations about how markets, the economy, the regulatory climate, politics and society could change because of what has happened – perhaps drawing on similar crises of the past. His piece, Economic crisis may shift society’s direction, ran this morning in the Vancouver independent weekly, the Georgia Straight. It is an interesting article, well-researched and well worth your time (it is quite lengthy). And I’m not just saying this because my photo graces the top of the page.
I’d like to pose the same question for discussion on this blog: what would society look like after the economic crisis?
Obama’s Cheif of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, advised that â€œYou donâ€™t ever want a crisis to go to waste; itâ€™s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.â€ How can we better seize these opportunities and make sure that at the end of the tunnel we emerge as a more just, caring and sustainable society?
I remain very pessimistic that much will change going forward. 2 years of stagnation and then the whole up- part of the cycle in austerity across the advanced capitalist zone paying for the bailout. It might be a greener austerity but austerity nonetheless.
Neoliberalism is far from dead. Sure the rhetoric will get toned down, but at the end of day we have a whole generation of policy wonks, analysts, journalists, and social scientists more generally that were trained in not only neoliberal times but also, for the most part, in a neoliberal milieu.
At the most abstract political register level is not the third way and good example of the above. Moreover, the article you point to (and interviewed for) is also a good example. No offense intended, but that a progressive journalist first thinks to look up economists–not well known for their sociological, political, or legal training–for their opinion of the future of social and political policy is a fairly telling example of just how ideologically cooked the present and future is likely to be.
Furthermore, I have not seen anything in the fiscal stimulus package announcements to make me think that the real contradiction at the heart of the neoliberal growth model are going to be remedied: the capacity of workers to seriously augment their incomes without having to resort to (a) working more hours or (b) having more members of the family enter the paid labour force.
If one combines the last point with the probability of austerity going forward then you have at best a recipe for Clintonite / Blairite talk left govern right. I hope you are right and I am wrong.
“Obamaâ€™s Cheif of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, advised that â€œYou donâ€™t ever want a crisis to go to waste; itâ€™s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.â€ How can we better seize these opportunities and make sure that at the end of the tunnel we emerge as a more just, caring and sustainable society?”