Worldwide Crisis, Worldwide Opportunity

In the Telegraph, British columnist Janet Daley exposes the effort, on both sides of the Atlantic, to make an “opportunity” out of the present financial crisis:

The story so far: some capitalists behaved very badly. While this was going on, the socialists didn’t ask questions because they were too busy spending the receipts that flowed from that behaviour. Now, the socialists – who were happy to look the other way during the good times or even to delude themselves into thinking that they were responsible for them – want to use the ignominy of the capitalists to seize the kind of power they thought they had lost forever. …

In Gordon Brown’s fantasy, this is an “opportunity” to exercise control over the whole world. Not just stricter regulation by national governments of their own economic institutions, but a wondrous new level of international regulation by supranational functionaries – to be appointed by whom? A World Government agency accountable to no electorate and with no democratic mandate from the populations over whom it will wield such power? …

Meanwhile, Mr Obama – who gives the impression of being considerably out of his depth in the economic maelstrom – talks of an “opportunity” to “reorganise our priorities”. He gave a major speech last week in which he actually seemed to suggest that the present crisis had been caused by America’s failure to develop a universal health care system and to attend to the impending environmental disaster of global warming (“we made the wrong choices”), and that by focusing on these matters a way can be found out of the country’s economic problems.

Is he quite mad? Does he really believe that the banking crisis and the recession were some kind of divine retribution for the absence of universal health care, and excessive carbon emissions? …

What neither the Prime Minister nor the President can admit is what is becoming more obvious every day (and which has been admitted by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key): there is precious little that any politician can do to resolve the present economic problems. The values of assets and property are simply going to have to fall from the grossly inflated points they reached under the debt bubble to what are generally accepted to be realistic levels. Then people will start to do business again – as eventually they must – and confidence will gradually return.

… I grew up with the Left and what this looks like to me is a power grab: a seizing of the moment by the forces which always believed in state domination. The Left sees an opening here, first for telling a critical lie about the historical origins of this crisis, which was propelled as much by the Left-liberal determination to spread prosperity through easy credit to the poor, as by the greed of bankers. And then, out of the wreckage, to restructure the economy along the lines that it always wanted, complete with central controls over the pay levels in private financial institutions.

Never let a crisis go to waste!

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