Our’s is an interesting period. Everything has grown too bigand complex to be understood except by a few very intelligent people who areinterested enough to examine events and what has led up to them, and most ofthose are rogues who are looking for a what to take advantage of a world thatis not understood by those in authority, who only follow events long after theyhave occurred, and are wildly casting around for a cure which they will never find, because their thinking is only to go back to the past. They cannot imagine any other future.
But, there have always been a few honest gurus able tounderstand what is happening, able to describe it and prescient enough to guess at what is coming next — even to suggest solutions. They are usually unlistenedto until long after, when history has proved them right, and then it is toolate to relieve the present.
One thinks immediately of Karl Marx, Maynard Keynes and a single contemporary voice, Vince Cable, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats,who’s just-published The Storm, which might well become one of the mostimportant books of our time.
I intend to contribute a detailed review of Cable’s analysis of what is happening and why to the next issue of ONE, but for the purpose of thisshort comment – other than recommending it to every concerned individual able to follow a brilliant but concentration-needing chronicle of what has happened, I can only say that it shows much erudition, background knowledge of economic history, and an open-mindedness not known to the doctrinaire, fundamentalist or prejudiced mind. The book had to be written in a hurry when the current crisis was still in it its infancy, day-by-day events occurring during the writing, which makes it even more remarkable, especially as he accurately guesses or intuits the next catastrophe on the way. The solutions Cable suggests, are similar to those I suggested in the previous blogs in this series sponsored by ONE Magazine.
Marx’s dead-on predication of what capitalist activity would lead to is quoted near the beginning and the bibliography proves that the author has read as much right-wing pro-capitalist literature as left or liberal writing on the subject, but what is most important about The Storm: The World Economic Crisis &What It Means (Atlantic Books, £14.99) is the detailed history of events, the greed and recklessness that lead to this inevitable collapse, the blind faith of an unthinking public looking for wealth, and the even greater blindness ofpoliticians – of which the Bush neo-cons Blair and Brown stand out in particular. They should not be forgiven and history will certainly not honour them.
John Calder 6/4/09
editors note: Yes, it is a 90-word sentence. Who else but friend of Beckett? Old-School sounds rather fresh at the moment…