Monday, 8 September 2008
The Gods that Failed
I have just finished reading a great book entitled The Gods that Failed: How Blind Faith in Markets Has Cost Us Our Future (2008, The Bodley Head) by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson. I strongly believe that all true left-wing thinkers should read this book. The book, however, also offers a great deal of food for thought for all those individuals who support the free-market economy.
The "gods" referred to in the aforementioned book are a number of ideas that have been and are still predominant in several capitalist countries such as the UK. To mention some examples, the authors talk about the effects of "gods" such as liberalisation, competition, and privatisation.
I will end this post with some quotations that will hopefully encourage the readers to purchase a copy:
"In Britain and the United States a very strange sect has seized power. They believe that we can all reach financial paradise. If only certain sacrifices are made. There must be deregulation, there must be privatisation, and markets must be left unmolested, the better to perform their magic. Democratic governments, unions and professionals will all have to accept that there is no alternative. Meanwhile job security, affordable houses and decent public services wither away in the white heat of financial engineering." (taken from the book's blurb)
"The New Olympians are unconcerned with - in fact, hostile to - job security (other than their own), social tranquillity, and the traditional middle-class aspiration for both the good life and the quiet life. Our modern day Olympians sit in judgement in their central banks, their skyscraper blocks in the financial districts and in the headquarters of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. In these houses of the holy, they roll their eyes in despair when they hear that the Detroit car worker, the Argentinian shopkeeper or the Cornish fisherman is complaining that their way of life is under threat. Like it or lump it, that's just the way it is and has to be, the New Olympians say." (p. 5)