Saturday, October 11, 2008

The future of capitalism and the EU

Some chap called David Marquand has written the most sensible article on the recent economic troubles I've seen so far:

It is not fashionable to say so at the moment, but that makes it all the more important to remind ourselves that globalisation has made it possible for the governments of India and China to lift millions out of the most appalling poverty - and that, as Churchill said of democracy, the capitalist market economy is the worst economic system ever invented, apart from all the others.

In truth, the fundamentalisms of right and left mirror each other. One says, "markets good, states bad". The other says, "states good, markets bad". The truth is that they are both good and bad - at the same time.

He goes on to say:

The need now is for clever regulation, on a global scale.

In the EU, there is an equal need for much stronger political institutions to complement the central bank. But the greatest need of all is for a new theory of the mixed economy, framed for the global marketplace of today, as the now-defunct Keynesian system was framed for the national post-war economies.

This reference to the EU is in line with my own thoughts: the EU can only be fit-for-purpose if it is made stronger, or it should be reduced in influence and importance. The situation we have now is a half-way house that benefits no one.

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