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Could Covid-19 vanquish neoliberalism? This crisis is exposing the folly of applying market-based logic to every domain of human life

Countries are spraying money to fight the virus. Credit: Getty

Countries are spraying money to fight the virus. Credit: Getty


April 6, 2020   6 mins

Over the course of just a few months, the Covid-19 global pandemic has shattered practically every shibboleth in the neoliberal bible.

The first and most obvious victim is the idea that money is a scarce resource. In recent years, any proposal for economic redistribution and increased welfare spending — such as those championed by Corbyn in the UK and Sanders in the US — has been met with the same smug question: “How are you going to pay for that?”. Even worse, the standard response of Left-wing politicians has been to contrive elaborate funding plans to prove that their programmes were ‘fully-costed’, rather than to challenge the mainstream narrative. For as long as most of us can remember, the entire debate around fiscal/budgetary policy has been based on the assumption that the government’s budget is like that of a household or private firm.

When David Cameron said in 2011 that “if you have maxed out your credit card, if you put off dealing with the problem, the problem gets worse”, he was inferring that the government deficit is just like credit card debt and that a country that racks up too much debt will end up facing bankruptcy, just like an individual or business. This logic has been used — in the UK and elsewhere — to justify vicious slash-and-burn austerity policies (including budget cuts to healthcare, education and other social services) which have punished the weakest and most vulnerable in society, resulting in 120,000 excess deaths in the UK alone.

The coronavirus crisis has now revealed the austerity logic to be an utter sham: as advocates of modern monetary theory (MMT) have been saying for years, states that issue their own currency and issue debt in their own currency (i.e. every advanced country in the world with the notable exception of the eurozone) can never ‘run out of money’, nor can they become insolvent because, unlike households or firms, they can literally create money out of thin air. That’s what being a currency issuer means. In recent weeks, governments around the world have announced massive spending plans and double-digit deficits; yet, curiously enough, we haven’t heard any of the usual screams of “How are you going to pay for that?”.

On the contrary, even mainstream commentators are now admitting that these massive deficits don’t pose a problem because they will most likely be ‘monetised’ by the countries’ respective central banks: simply put, the latter will buy up as many government bonds as necessary and keep them on their balance sheets for as long as they like (potentially forever). As Lord Turner, the former head of the UK’s Financial Services Authority, recently said: “I do think the time is right for monetary finance. There would be a clarity of assuring people that there is no limit on the money available.” And there you have it, the austerity lie exposed: there has never been a lack of money for education, healthcare, infrastructure, welfare and other public services.

All the pain, suffering and misery imposed on millions of people as a result of austerity was entirely a political choice. All the cries of “How are you going to pay for that?” were simply a way to maintain the deeply unequal relations of power in our societies. To dramatically restrict our ability to imagine economic and political alternatives. But “all of these excuses that we have been given as to why we cannot treat people humanely have suddenly gone up in smoke”, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said. If money can be created out of thin air to fight a ‘war’ against a deadly virus, doesn’t it follow that the same can be done to ‘wage war’ on poverty, unemployment, inequality, ecological collapse – all of which are much deadlier evils than Covid-19.

The second neoliberal shibboleth shattered by the pandemic is the superiority of private and liberal strategies over centralised economic planning and the welfare state, and the obsolescence of nation-states. For years (well, decades), we’ve been told that governments are wasteful and inefficient; that markets are able to operate more efficiently both in the short term and in the long term; and that governments are largely powerless vis-à-vis the forces of the global economy.

So governments have surrendered many of their national prerogatives to supranational organisations — the most obvious example being the European Union (EU) and monetary union — while state-owned firms and public services, including public hospitals and healthcare facilities, have been progressively underfinanced and privatised (often by appealing to the aforementioned austerity logic). Subsequently, many people, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, are dying and will die in the coming weeks not as a result of the virus itself, but because there is a lack of hospital beds, staff, medical products and medical devices such as ventilators. According to OECD Health Statistics, Italy and Spain have today fewer hospital beds per inhabitant than China; France and Germany fewer than South Korea or Japan. Governments around the world are rushing to boost their hospital capacity but for tens of thousands of people it is too late already.

In other words, the crisis is exposing the neoliberal folly and injustice of extending a market- and profit-based logic to every domain of human life, including those, such as healthcare, which should be completely removed from the market. Moreover, it is showing that having a well-funded and rationally organised system of universal free care for all — which currency-issuing governments can totally afford in financial terms, as we have seen — isn’t just a matter of basic human decency but one of national security as well. Furthermore, the crisis has revealed that nation-states, far from being powerless vis-à-vis markets, from one day to the next can jettison pretty much every rule in the neoliberal book, and there’s nothing markets can do about it, except beg governments for help. Indeed, governments remain the only actors capable of taking control of the economy when push comes to shove, while on the other hand supranational organisations, such as the EU, are proving to be utterly useless, or worse.

This brings us to the third neoliberal shibboleth blown away by the coronavirus: the benefits of belonging to the European Union and eurozone. There’s a reason EU and euro countries — most notably Italy and Spain — have been hit so hard: the EU remains the only economy in the world where neoliberalism has been embedded into its very legal structure and effectively constitutionalised, through strict rules against government support to local industries, the constant encouragement of deregulation, the enshrinement of the ‘four freedoms’, and, above all, by depriving states of the central plank of economic policy, the currency.

The EU’s guiding principle was approvingly espoused by Italy’s former economics minister (2006-2008), the late Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa: to “weaken social protection” in all areas of citizens’ life, “including pensions, health, labour market, education”. It thus shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that the European Commission made 63 individual demands of member states to cut spending on healthcare provision and/or privatise or outsource healthcare services between 2011 and 2018, in order to meet the arbitrary debt and deficit targets enshrined in the EU’s fiscal rules, as revealed in a recent report by the Emma Clancy, a political advisor in the European Parliament.

Euro countries such as Italy and Spain are, therefore, facing a double tragedy: not only are they fighting the ‘war’ against Covid-19 with severely debilitated healthcare services (thanks to the EU-driven cuts), but worse even, unlike the UK and all other currency-issuing countries, they’re fighting it without the support of a central bank. That is, they can’t ‘monetise’ the extra public funding needed to hire hospital staff and equipment, provide relief to quarantined workers and other emergency measures, but instead have to go cap-in-hand to the ECB, the European institutions and the EU’s de facto leader, Germany, which, for now, have adopted a largely business-as-usual response, even as the bodies of the dead pile up in Spanish and Italian hospitals.

It’s hard to imagine a starker demonstration of the British economist Wynne Godley’s warning, in 1992, that “the power to issue [one’s] own money, to make drafts on [one’s] own central bank, is the main thing which defines national independence” — and that therefore, by adopting the euro, member states would effectively acquire the status of local authorities or colonies. It’s unsurprising that support for the EU among Italian citizens has dropped to the lowest level ever.

Finally, the current crisis is exposing the madness of today’s hyper-integrated supply chains and the delocalisation of production that has taken place in recent decades, with countries finding out that they lack factories to produce basic medical equipment (such as masks) or much-needed medicines, which have suddenly become scarce with the collapse of global supply chains. Hyper-globalisation, just like the marketisation of public services, has proven to be not only a serious ecological, economic and social problem, but a threat to national security as well.

So does all this mean that we are witnessing the twilight of neoliberalism? If only things were that simple. We shouldn’t forget that this is not the first time in recent history that the establishment has deviated from its ideology in response to a crisis. The same thing happened in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

We know how that ended: once the financial crisis was over, that same establishment used the increased debt levels as an excuse to double down on austerity and neoliberalism and revert to an even harsher version of the status quo. In any case, neoliberalism has always used government intervention when convenient: to police the working classes; prop up the financial system; bail-out large firms that would otherwise go bankrupt; and open up markets abroad (including through military intervention). So we shouldn’t mistake an increase in government intervention now for the eclipse of neoliberalism. Indeed, it could serve as a prelude to an even more authoritarian version of the latter.

How all this plays out ultimately depends on us. The emperor is now naked and the ground for a radical paradigm shift — one based on popular sovereignty, democratic control over the economy, full employment, social justice, redistribution from the rich to the poor, relocalisation of production and the socio-ecological transformation of production and society — is indeed more fertile than it has been in a long time. Yet change won’t come from above but only through mass mobilisation once the worst of the crisis is over.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Frank Leigh-Sceptical
Frank Leigh-Sceptical
4 years ago

Governments printing money doesn’t have a dazzlingly successful track-record – Weimar Republic (see where that ended up), Zimbabwe and more probably. In his enthusiasm to demonize those he disagrees with, the author breezily overlooks vast swathes of history and does not concern himself with much in the way of facts.

slorter
slorter
4 years ago

Listen to this interview it might help with the discussion around hyperinflation

discussion starts at 6:12 in
https://youtu.be/YnyDRwSqp2E

Frank Leigh-Sceptical
Frank Leigh-Sceptical
4 years ago
Reply to  slorter

Thanks Michael, This and your other comment below sound intrgiuing. I don’t like the sound of elites abusing power and so that’s something I want to understand better FL-S

slorter
slorter
4 years ago

Cheers and stay safe!!

Paul Ridley-Smith
Paul Ridley-Smith
4 years ago

Thomas makes it sound so easy. Any and all deficiencies in public services are the result of timid Government failure to do the obvious – print money through quantitative easing to pay for more doctors etc. Hasn’t been too successful in Venezuala, Zimbabwe and Japan. QE is always risky, and often doesn’t work. It certainly doesn’t work if money is printed to chase a constant level of goods and services. In extreme times, when the alternative is a severe contraction in the economy (like right now), it might work to keep people and capital assets active in the economy (here’s hoping). But as a day to day policy to achieve the social/political agenda of Thomas it’s doomed to fail and, instead, cause economic stagnation, inflation and no increase in output. Truly, if it was as simple as just printing money to reduce our troubles, even the loathed neo-liberals would have done it.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
4 years ago

Yes: the word missing from the piece (I did a search) is ‘inflation’. I lived through the 1970s, and it wasn’t fun at all.

slorter
slorter
4 years ago
Reply to  Sue Sims

And where is the inflation in the real economy at the moment!
The real revolution in central bank policy and, is part and parcel of the whole neoliberal trend in macroeconomic policy. The essential thing underlying this, is to try to reduce the power of government and social forces that might exercise some power within the political economy”workers and others”and put the power primarily in the hands of those dominating in the markets.

That’s often the financial system, the banks, but also other elites. The idea of neoliberal economists and policymakers being that you don’t want the government getting too involved in macroeconomic policy. You don’t want them promoting too much employment because that might lead to a raise in wages and, in turn, to a reduction in the profit share of the national income.

So, sure, this might increase inflation, but inflation is not really the key issue here. The problem, in their view, is letting the central bank support other kinds of policies that are going to enhance the power of workers, people who work, and even sometimes manufacturing interests. Instead, they want to put power in the hands of those who dominate the markets, often the financial elites.

Peter Dublin
Peter Dublin
3 years ago
Reply to  slorter

Also QE quantitative easing should not be confused with MMT
QE in practice inflates asset values
That is also helps why explain why standard inflation measures are staying low.
MMT can involve more public service spending, which raises government debt and has inflationary implications, but that can be monitored.
Basically the focus on government debt is replaced by watching inflation.
In that sense it rather involves a return to older practice.

mzeemartin8
mzeemartin8
4 years ago

Funny how this crisis has the remarkable ability to affirm everyone’s pet beliefs.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
4 years ago
Reply to  mzeemartin8

Came here to post TL;DR: “current situation proves my politics are correct (and this seeming disaster will make my wishes come true!)”
Elsewhere on Unherd, Tom Chivers said he was sceptical of the 120,000 deaths claim [he stated it as 130,000 if you’re doing a ‘find in page’] https://unherd.com/2020/04/

Simon Humphries
Simon Humphries
4 years ago

No country can avoid the fact that, within it, there is only a certain level of inherent wealth. I’m not aware that anyone has suggested that money cannot be created – it’s the consequences of that creation that need to be addressed. As for the suggestion that a command and control economy works better than a market one – let’s see a single piece of empirical data to support that. The Soviet Union? East Germany? Cuba? No. Korea? China prior to economic liberalization? There are none. And there are very goods reasons for that, as well. The author can spin words to his heart’s content on the subject, but they mean absolutely nothing in practice. The article is nothing but an attempt to fit facts to a preconceived political theory. A rather poor attempt at that.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago

This might as well be the The Guardian. Presumably they are already running six articles of this nature today and cannot squeeze another one in. Or perhaps the article features too much criticism of the EU.

Yes, there are certainly issues around supply chains etc, and Matt Stoller has been writing about this for some years. But his understanding of the left’s complete inability to understand or respect business and productivity is light years ahead of Thomas Fazi’s.

Apart from that, this is just a teenaged call for more government and more money printing, when in reality we a lot less of both.

nickhuntster
nickhuntster
4 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

He writes for the famously non-partisan Pluto Press

Norman Merry
Norman Merry
4 years ago

I really do worry when people quote statistics without reference. Where does 120,000 excess deaths from austerity come from for example ? As we have seen with the constant changes in ‘advice’ given to the Govt on Covid -19 someone’s expert is another mans bullshit artist. Although I don’t agree with a lot of the points raised it is a well written piece as always

Thomas Fazi
Thomas Fazi
4 years ago
Reply to  Norman Merry

There’s literally a link to the report 🙂

ropey72
ropey72
4 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Fazi

And it’s a number debunked by BBC’s More or Less. As soon as the author users emotive language, like ‘slash and burn’ I struggle to take him seriously.

ropey72
ropey72
4 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Fazi

A figure that was recently debunked on BBC’s More or Less. I’m afraid the emotive language (‘slash and burn’) and little or no historical perspective (see comments on Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe) rather undermine any useful points. At some point we will have to find a way of paying for the extra money we’re currently spending – printing money is not a long-term solution.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
4 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Fazi

That report doesn’t say “resulting in” though. Perhaps you were thinking of one that did?

Jerry W
Jerry W
4 years ago

Historically, when states have majored on “created money out of thin air” it has not ended well. The underlying economy must support the money supply in cashflow and size, or the result is inflation which is likely to become runaway, in our present situation, leading to the trashing of our currency and consequently, all of our liquid assets. You heard it here first 🙂

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
4 years ago

What does ‘mass mobilisation’ in the last sentence mean ?
Sinister…

John Smethurst
John Smethurst
4 years ago

Public Health England has hardly covered itself in glory. They have ignored several warnings, including a paper written a year ago by none other than Dominic Cummings that the UK was “totally unprepared for a pandemic”. I understand that it was the German Private Biotec companies which quickly swung into action, and may have saved thousands of German lives.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
4 years ago

“Massive deficits don’t pose a problem because they will most likely be ‘monetised’ by the countries’ respective central banks: simply put, the latter will buy up as many government bonds as necessary and keep them on their balance sheets for as long as they like (potentially forever).”

This slight of hand would work if the government didn’t actually spend any of the money it borrowed from the central bank, which of course it will, as that was why it borrowed the money in the first place.

If the central bank simply held the bonds forever, the result would be a massive increase in inflation, destroying the value of savings and collapsing the value of the currency.

David George
David George
4 years ago

I thought we were in the middle of a reasonably serious epidemic, how will that lead to a “a radical paradigm shift “.
While every nutter and his dog are using this as an excuse to pursue their unproven, unrealistic and downright dangerous Utopian fantasies I’ve never seen one as extensive as “popular sovereignty, democratic control over the economy, full employment, social justice, redistribution from the rich to the poor, relocalisation of production and the socio-ecological transformation of production and society”
Anything left out?
Of course there’s just a wee problem: it requires the imposition of an anti-human tyranny that people hate.

“Having come to doubt whether humanity can be combined with progress, most people, easily pleased, would have elected to abandon progress and remain with humanity. Mr. Fazi, not being easily pleased, decides to throw over humanity with all its limitations and go in for progress for its own sake. If man, as we know him, is incapable of the philosophy of progress, Mr. Fazi asks, not for a new kind of philosophy, but for a new kind of man. It is rather as if a nurse had tried a rather bitter food for some years on a baby, and on discovering that it was not suitable, should not throw away the food and ask for a new food, but throw the baby out of window, and ask for a new baby.”
G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, 1905.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
4 years ago

Oh dear. The buzzwords are all assembled in the familiar order, but wishes don’t make elephants. Even in Marxist paradise printing money will not create extra wealth. The new dollars or pounds are still only backed by the same amount of goods and services and capital objects. See Weimar and Venezuela and even UK post WW2. The only way to make more wealth is investment and hard work. That’s why free enterprise states are richer than socialist ones. And everything about liberty flows alongside that simple basic economic truth.

Back to the basic theory book, Mr Fazi

natalie
natalie
4 years ago

What a brilliant article, just pure brilliance re Globalisation and EU etc.. Jesus I literally feel sick for the poor Italians and Spaniards.. however the idea that we have no idea how we are going to pay for this fabulous open cheque book our government has found, is wide of the mark.. firstly its obvious to me anyway, and I am no Economist, but Income Tax is going to go sky high AND you almost have to admire Rishi on this one, they have at the same time as being incredibly generous, just closed another tax loop… most business owners pay themselves low wages and high dividends for tax purposes but as Govt only paying 80% of actual salary a) they have managed to keep payments down to business owners, whilst protecting their staff and b) will make owners think long and hard about how they pay themselves in the future IF these viruses are going to become a part of our future! Genius!

David George
David George
4 years ago

“Vanquish neoliberalism” “implement democratic control over the economy.”
Neoliberalism is democratic control over the economy; the decisions we, individually and collectively (the demos) make everyday about what to buy, what to produce and what to sell.
I suspect what Mr. we know whats best for you Fazi really intends is that he and his mates want to take control of the economy. And everything else by the sounds of it. No thanks.

andy.fisher22
andy.fisher22
4 years ago

How disappointing. Unherd usually hosts thought-provoking and well-argued articles from a wide variety of perspectives, which perhaps haven’t previously been given enough attention. You can certainly argue that there are dysfunctional and even unjust aspects of the modern Western economic system, especially in the US, UK and EU, with too many rewards perhaps accruing to finance services and too little to industry and the real economy. Regarding ‘austerity’ in the UK, many would argue that there was not really austerity on a macro-economic level (cf the Greek experience), but nonetheless too great a contribution might have been required of spending cuts, especially to local government, and not enough of tax rises.

However, this seems to be little more than an ultra-Left rant, whose author seems to have absolutely no idea economically what he is talking about. Basically, all we seemingly need to do is sit at home and the government can print money and create wealth for everyone! Maybe tax the “1%” to pay for everyone else. Genius! You do wonder if it was so easy, why politicians of the Left, indeed of the populist the Right, haven’t previously thought of this so they can be elected and stay in power for ever.

Andrew Devine
Andrew Devine
4 years ago

There are many conservatives such as myself that recognise neo-liberalism in the form of extreme globalisation has many negative aspects that we don’t support. That said history shows us that an over reliance on the state can create a whole host of economic problems too. Excessive money printing creates hyper inflation for instance. I am not an economic absolutist sometimes what is beneficial to the economy and the citizenry as a whole is a tilt to a more social democratic model e.g. Atlee’s Britain after the war, and at other times a tilt back to more free market policies e.g. Thatcher’s Britain as eventually too much statism prior to her eventually decimated the economy.

Gordon Pearson
Gordon Pearson
4 years ago

The term neoliberalism is misleading. It is generally construed as referring to the economic systems espoused by Reagan, Thatcher and their successors, its roots being as recent as the later twentieth century. The truth is it is not much changed from mid-19th century neoclassical microeconomics. It has been shown time and again to be utterly false.
The only major change since then has been the Friedman-led refocusing from businesses maximising company profit onto maximising shareholder take.
As far back as 1862, Ruskin had pointed out that the neoclassical model was deficient in ‘applicability’ (Ruskin, 1862, The Roots of Honour). Since then there have been repeated learning experiences which showed it to be completely unrealistic. The 1929 Wall Street Crash was followed by the austerity driven Great Depression broken only by Roosevelt’s New Deal employment creations. That learning experience was repeated by the 2008 crash followed again by a decade of ideologically driven austerity, which Covid-19 realities might help bring to an end.
Nevertheless, as at today, the neoclassical microeconomic modelling still rules. It dominates macroeconomic decision making, and justifies all manner of destructive effects, including frauds and criminality, unprecedented inequalities and unsustainable environmental impacts.
Why has that 19th century economic model survived despite its obvious failings? Back in the 1930s, Roosevelt suggested it was because it served the purposes of what he referred to as organised money. Today organised money comprises the financial sector, financialised business, supportive strands of academia, the media including social media, and the political sector itself. They are the beneficiaries of neoclassical microeconomics and they are the ones with economic power which will only be overcome by political decision.
It remains to be seen whether Covid-19 will prove a more effective learning experience than 1929 or 2008. Maybe the fact that the whole human race appears to be approaching the sustainability buffers will add to its effect. It is just possible that the quasi-criminal financial sector will no longer be allowed to ride rough-shod over the rest of humanity.

.

duncan.charles.mills
duncan.charles.mills
4 years ago

Take heart Thomas a good comprehensive article that certainly challenges National Budget dogma so loved by the self entitled in Modern society.

You have certainly drawn some of their ignorant anachronistic Trolls our of the scrub. Ignorant because none of them seem to have engaged the MMT methodology literature which is incredibly robust. Ref Keaton, Mitchell et al.

The EU dilemma could be explored more. It is quite simple for the European Central Bank to buy bonds from member States to finance necessary above budget expenditure, under agreed terms. I believe they have no choice, this situation is WW2 guite different from the GFC.

Member states are unlikely to ever find the funds at maturity of the bonds. Nor should they it was created out of thin air.

All it would mean is the EU has devalued its currency, but so what nearly all its trading partners have gone the MMT methodology too, so approximate parity remains.

The Self Entitled 1% holding bonds however do not like it as MMT devalues them, that’s why National Budget dogma has prevailed for so long. But they forget economics is literally household management and all members are entitled to humane care.

duncan.charles.mills
duncan.charles.mills
4 years ago

Underread anachronistic self entitled trolls need to read MMT to see how right Thomas is.

The fact that he cares about people should be unsurprising.

That is the meaning of economics, care of the house hold; not supporting freeloading narcissistists and rentseekers.

varvols
varvols
4 years ago

…good piece…and that ‘relocalisation of production’ for ecological/environmental reasons as much as economic/political, including the relocalisation of work (cp. employment) giving the lie to that EU shibboleth – one of the Four – <u>freedom of movement [of labour], which in effect was largely about enticing (no slave-ships!) the cheapest labour power to shift to wherever it was most profitable to employers, never mind familial/community/societal/cultural dislocations, disruptions and deprivations back home, as in the ‘host’ society…

David Booth
David Booth
4 years ago

Those who see big holes in Thomas’s argument or who are put off by the leftist rhetoric should read the rather good book he wrote with one of the gurus of modern monetary theory, Bill Mitchell. That deals with the inflation objection among others. What the article and the book fail to make clear, however, is that MMT is a set of technical insights that can be harnessed by any one of a range of political positions. It’s ideologically neutral. Fazi and Mitchell want to rescue the Left from its infatuation with identity politics and the EU. Good luck to them! I would see MMT as the right tool for governments like the present one in the UK that are looking for an approach to economic recovery that is markedly better than what the Cameron Tory leadership did after the 2008 meltdown. It’s the macroeconomics that One Nation, ‘red’ Tories need in 2020. Let’s hope Boris and co have the courage to recognise this.

Will D. Mann
Will D. Mann
4 years ago

All though the Eurozone countries do not have freedom to creat money individually, there is no reason why the ECB shouldn’t do so, apart from the deeply embedded neoliberal beliefs of some of the northern European finance ministries.

nickhuntster
nickhuntster
4 years ago

Can I post?

theoruss789
theoruss789
4 years ago

If cognitive learning was the only reason for education, sure, some of it might go online. But only for the middle classes who can afford the tutors, have high levels of parental support and whose intended vocation and style of learning is abstract. One of the things we will realise when this is all over is the imitations of online learning, how much harder, ineffective and unsatisfying. We are social and rational animals, to adapt MacIntyre.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
4 years ago

Teenage rant or something more sinister? I think what Mr Fazi wants is National Socialism. It was tried once before in the 30s and 40s in Europe. Didn’t work out too well.
Perhaps there’s a typo with his name!

thomasbcarver
thomasbcarver
4 years ago

The term neoliberalism is mostly used as an intellectual term of abuse, but the actual neoliberals in England all voted for Brexit; they certainly didn’t see the EU as a neoliberal organisation.

duncan.charles.mills
duncan.charles.mills
4 years ago

All you underread anachronistic self entitled trolls need to read MMT to see how right Thomas is.

The fact that he cares about people should be unsurprising. That is the meaning of economics, care of the house hold; not supporting freeloading narcissists and rentseekers.

Scott Allan
Scott Allan
4 years ago

“Real wealth increases consumption, shifting the IS curve out to the right, thus pushing up interest rates and increasing aggregate demand. A decrease in real wealth does the opposite.” This is the basis of the Pigou effect or a a real measure of improvement of wealth for the middle class. Sound familiar, it should this has been the OECD report for 2 decades.

This writer is a fool. Sorry to be harsh. “There is no shortage of money”. Shows me he doesn’t understand how money is made. He doesn’t understand GDP growth is not connected to real wealth. Printing money is not an answer to social problems such as education or health.

The entire structure of the modern society has been the “creep” of socialist dogma and we are all paying a terrible toll. There is no “Free” stuff. Period. Someone pays, always! Socialist/communists just don’t want it to be them, which is why they think they can “think” their way out of problems.

Real wealth increase is the byproduct of productivity being linked to real incomes of the middle class.

The proposal to “keep printing money” is so flawed and so stupid it cannot be measured with existing technology. New money is created by banks loaning it. A bank can loan 10 times it’s deposits, which it desperately wants to do. This is so very bad for the middle class because it is our taxes repaying the “new money”. Every dollar/pound paid this year reduces the capacity to build the next generations capacity in the form of infrastructure, education and social services.

I hope all of you understand uncontrolled borrowing is like buying bullets for Stalin.

Martyn Hole
Martyn Hole
4 years ago

Abba Lerner, Wynne Godley & Hyman Minsksy all rolled into one plus a large dose of Stephanie Kelton. A 3rd rate academic from a 4th rate university. God help us….

Howard Medwell
Howard Medwell
4 years ago

Surprising to read this article on the unheard.com site… less surprising to read the btl comments! “Socialism means spending other people’s money… what about Russia… blah blah bla” Personally, I’d love to believe that private enterprise will provide us and our children and grand children with endless economic security, but it has been growing ever more difficult to maintain this belief, since long before Coronavirus kicked in. OK, socialism doesn’t work… but does capitalism?

Martia Katz
Martia Katz
4 years ago

My favourite line in the book so far is “My parents stayed married for 70 years, mostly out of spite.”
Woody Allen has been cleared of sexual misconduct, why is he still treated like a convicted criminal by the press?

Mike Hall
Mike Hall
4 years ago

You’ll be delighted to know some of your views are in-line with the PM’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings, long an advocate of State solutions to intractable economic and development knots and a serious use of government funding to enact economic outcomes. Taxes might rise slightly. This tied in with a record of results, might explain why so many press barons and “‘liberal elites” have a total hatred for him and in Sept 2019 and February 2020 a concerted media effort led by the Daily Mail and The Times tried to pressure the government to get rid of him. Failed. Boris will not be moved on this.

Diarmuid Ó Sé
Diarmuid Ó Sé
4 years ago

In 1992 I was in Prague and visited a Holocaust memorial whose name or status I cannot now remember after all these years – specifically I cannot recall whether it was a separate museum or a component of a larger institution. What I do recall, vividly, was walls covered with photographs of Jews who perished. The most terrible was one which showed the faces of children. No abstract art could be more shocking, or more effective. In Lublin, Poland, I more recently saw some very thoughtful evocations of the destroyed and massacred ghetto. Not only were the inhabitants killed in Majdanek, not far away, but the entire site was levelled during the war and is now occuped by a dual carriageway, a large shopping centre, and two bus stations. Under the castle hill, on a wide pavement, there is a symbolic space representing a rabbi’s house. Low blocks of varying heights symbolize, on a smaller scale of course, the site of that building. The idea is that you stand in the middle and reflect. There are other such spaces nearby, including a general space of reflection on the Jews of Lublin, which I could not locate in the short time available but hope to find when I am next there. The Lublin spaces are abstract, but they are directly related to what was there before, and very moving.