Monday, 28 November 2011

The Solution to the Financial Crisis

Just chanced upon this rather fascinating interview on BBC Hard Talk with an Economist called Steve Keen. I know that's a fairly unlikely sounding statement, the words 'fascinating' and 'economist' don't normally co-exist in the same sentence. But for once I think it is justifiable.

Steve is an Australian economist who predicted the financial crash and, in economic circles, shouted quite loudly about what was about to happen - before it actually did. In a world full of people who were wise after the event Steve deserves some credit and also deserves to be listened to.

When asked if we are in danger of a depression, Steve calmly explains that we have already entered one, it's just that people don't tend to recognise these sort of things until afterwards - hmm. He then goes on to talk of the economic miracle that Hitler achieved in the 1930's following the Great Depression. Again..hmm.

Steve then touches on a solution to the financial crisis that involves quite a radical rethink. He explains that the Bank bailouts were a complete mistake - 'Governments bailed out Banks and then expected them to lend to people and businesses. Instead they should have bailed out the debtors not the lenders'.. It's a stunningly simple point.

Steve basically points out that the debt crisis was created by banks lending ludicrous amounts of money to people based on raising asset prices - it was basically a dodgy 'ponzi' scheme. E.G. Property prices increase because banks start lending more money to people who buy property, which in turn leads them to lend more money as prices rise etc etc and the cycle continues. The banks created their own destruction and innocent people got caught up in it.

Steve's conclusion is that debts that were unreasonably imposed should not be paid off. His solution is mass default causing the banks to collapse. Then, the government takes over all the banks (temporarily) nationalising the whole system and then gives everyone a big bag of money.

Yes really, I am absolutely serious. That's what he proposes. Basically everyone gets a load of cash. Those people in debt have to use it to pay off debt and those who don't get to keep it and spend it on whatever they fancy..

I am no Economics Expert but...

Actually I have just thought. Given that I did an A-level economics course 20 odd years ago and I guess probably less than 5% of the population have ever done an economics course, I probably am, relatively speaking to 95% of the population, an economics expert! (That's a very scary thought) So, in my now 'expert' opinion I reckon Steve is on to something.

But bizarelly, the major stumbling block that Steve has come up against is that he doesn't think there are any politicians around who have the balls to do what he suggests.


I really cannot imagine a more electable manifesto pledge than 'We will give everyone a free bag of money'. It's an absolute guaranteed vote winner. Any politician would love it!

You really should watch the video.

Steve also has a blog here (a bit technical - I didn't understand a lot of it and I am an expert remember).


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