Tuesday, 22 June 2010

....and now a word and a finger from the Paul Krugman groupie


I have been following Krugman for years in the New York Times - long before he became a gleam in the eye of the Nobel Prize committee.

Krugman's columns have taken economic theory and practice to the every person in a way that can be understood, in language that is not the province of academe.

Here in Australia we don't like to be reminded of our insularity - but we are the far away island, the place of dreams and Dreaming.  We don't give the significant respect that is due to our own nation, its people, its culture.  We hanker after American movies and technology.  What anyone somewhere else says is more important.  We seem unable to measure ourselves by a singular ethical and knowledgeable yardstick.

That's why I would really love it, Networkers, if you could pop over here to read Krugman to-day.  Then - and this is where the finger comes in wagging away - have a think of this Land of Oz with not only its Emerald City but the sapphire ones and the ruby ones.  Our Kevin has been trying our patience.  He has been getting things wrong.  He has been the continu-er and promulgator of bad and poor public policy.

But in the lead up to what will happen at Ballot Box 2010, just spare a thought for what could be alternative national stories.  Thinks give every appearance of going down the tubes in Europe.  Economic nightmares might not have subsided as quickly as we had hoped and thought we might have secured.  So what would Abbott & Co (minus the stello) have done this time last year.  What might they do if in government if there is another round of world economic recession?

Rudd and Swann's actions in the economic crisis have been exactly what is required.  And don't just believe Krugman.  There is a shut everything down and save every penny school of economics.  Australia saw it face to face when Sir Otto Niemeyer visited Australia in 1930 in the middle of The Great Depression.  But the Classical School of Economics had nothing to offer the world - and its modern disciple, Free Market Economics is running out of steam at a great rate of knots.

Five years later on from Niemeyer's visit , in 1936, economic brilliance asserted itself in the form of John Maynard Keynes and The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. That, combined with World War Two, took Australia and the world out of depression.  And then what happened.....

Over the relatively prosperous 50s and 60s, governments got complacent.  They forgot, it seemed, the economic hell from which the world had emerged and thought Keynesian economics a bit of a doddle and things would continue like this forever and ever, Amen.

Life is never like that.  One can never take rest and put  life - and the economy - on auto-pilot.  Government forgot to take heed Keynes' policy developments which might have kept things on an even keel.  Instead, when things went awry, in stepped the monetarists, Friedman and the like bringing with them libertarian politics of various shades.

Networker, you perhaps like me, have felt an alien in this type of culture.  Markets dominate.  Individual freedoms market and consume anything and everything - whether good, bad or indifferent - and reign supreme.  In fact, we are in a situation where money can cross borders and penetrate every corner of the world - but people can't.  Money has a freedom that few individuals have.

So back to Kevin and Swannie and Abbot & Co (without the stello).  Consider, this year, alternative narratives.  What might have been and what might yet be.  And please read and take notice of Krugman.

Related reading:

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

John Maynard Keynes

MissEagle racism-free Photobucket

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