We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Finance, capitalism and imperial power

Click here to access this book review by Tom Haines-Doran of The City by Tony Norfield from Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21). [Some additional comments were made at 4:40 PM Seattle time.]
Want to reform finance but maintain capitalism? Then you may have a problem.
I have seen many critics of capitalism, most notably Michael Hudson, focus exclusively on the finance sector and its need for drastic reforms in order to make capitalism function smoothly. In this book Norfield examines the City of London, which is one of two major capitalist financial centers of the world, to conclude that "finance is unreformable because it is an essential feature of capitalism".

Haines-Doran in this review writes:
...all too often these arguments take on a reformist hue, suggesting that if only we could moderate the excesses of the financial sector then the type of collapse that the banking system went through in 2008, and the social disaster known as ‘austerity’ that followed, could in future be averted, leaving a nicer and crisis-free form of capitalism. Accompanying these analyses have been feeble attempts by international institutions and national governments to introduce financial regulation.

With great skill, Norfield demonstrates that the financial sector is unreformable.
This insight is precisely why Hudson is allowed so frequently to write and talk about the destructive role that finance (also insurance and real estate) is playing in today's economies. By limiting his critique to finance (I grant that he has shed much light on its corrosive influence), he is ultimately heading toward a dead-end. Hudson is leading people nowhere that threatens our ruling class's beloved system of capitalism. If his critiques did threaten their system, he would no longer have his job at the University of Missouri.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated causing a little delay in being posted. Should you wish to communicate with me privately, please contact me through "About Me" on this blog.