Ann Pettifor: 15th February 2009
The G7 group of finance ministers’ statement today is full of the usual hot air, and includes their new finding. That the financial crisis has “highlighted fundamental weaknesses in the international financial system.” Over the years many have tried to alert political leaders to these fundamental weaknesses. To no avail.
Perhaps even more naive is their protest against protectionism. My viewpoint on protectionism is taken straight from Karl Polanyi’s great work: The Great Transformation.
Namely that protectionism is the natural reaction of the people to the imposition by the finance sector of a ‘self-regulating market society’. In other words a society that hollows out democratic decision-making and relies entirely on the market to determine whether we have food, jobs, wages, care for the elderly and the sick or security from threats like global warming. When the ‘market society’ fails to protect the interests of the people – then the people naturally resort to protectionism or worse.
For those guardians of the nation’s finances to blame the people for trying to protect their jobs and their security – when the guardians have most blatantly failed in their duty to do so – shows just how out of touch they are.