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We have to take their microphones away from them. Urgently.

Yes, precisely.  The time has come to call them what they are, charlatans, to denounce them, and to use this moment of crisis to strip them of their rheotorical power.

We stand witness to the opening battle of a war of ideas that will determine the shape of the global economy for as long as the rest of us are likely to live.  As wrote

Opportunity to change the economics ideas that are the blueprint for the construction of economic institutions. The destruction of the old order requires the a new order be built. The old order is destroyed by uncertainty, not risk.  

We live in uncertain times, the old economic ideas that said that pumping $700 billion into banks to recapitalize them would end the crash.  It did not.  The old ideas have thus been broken.  In an economy ordered by risk, the cost of given actions are calculable within a margin of error.  In an economy dominated by uncertainty, the result of any action is essentially unknown.  We live in an economy dominated by uncertainty, the last time this was true was during the 1970s, and resulted in the rise of neoliberalism.  The period of uncertainty during the 1930s resulted in the regulation of the economy by the national state, and the collapse of the network of international trade.

In looking to where we head now, I'd like to point to 5 hypotheses put forward by Blyth:

   1. In periods of economic crisis, ideas (not institutions) reduce uncertainty.

   2. Following uncertainty reduction, ideas make collective action and coalition building possible.

   3. In the struggle over existing institutions, ideas are weapons.

   4. Following the delegitimation of existing institutions, new ideas act as institutional blueprints.

   5. Following the delegitimation of existing institutions, ideas make institutional stability possible.  

These five simple statements say so damn much.  This is what is happening today.  We are in the midst of a process of change which will structure the way that the economy functions for the rest of all our natural lives.

They tell us a great truth.  Economic crises are both moments of great danger and great opportunity.

Where, Jerome, are the generals of the Left?  

What remains of the once great tradition of Keynes, Clement Atlee, and FDR?  

Yes, we must take away their microphones, but to whom shall we give voice?  

To what ideas shall we give support?

I know what I want.

Call up the craftsman, bring me the draughtsman, build me a path from cradle to grave
And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage
Go find the young men, never to fight again, bring up the banners from the days gone by
Cast moderation, heart of this nation, desert us not we are between the wars...

Billy Bragg- Between The Wars

Reflationary policies require counter-cyclical spending.  What is spent to prompt up cycle must be roughly equivalent what is falling down.  In these times we live, that's one hell of a lot of cash.

The last time around, the only activity that could be called upon to marshal that kind of mass consumption was war.......

I hope that we have the sense to see a path out that involves spending the money, yes.  But spending it on helping men and women, not killing them.


And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Oct 12th, 2008 at 04:35:10 PM EST

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