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BBC NEWS | Robert Peston >> “How to solve the crisis”

BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Robert Peston

interesting article and also intriguing how so many thought-provoking radical solutions play at the borders of capitalism and socialism or collectivism.

I’ve long been intrigued as to why the labour/socialist/union/cooperative movements haven’t been more active in appropriating the mechanisms of capitalsm to increase or spread wealth. Our pensions depend upon growth in share values, and pension funds acting in concert are a powerful shareholder force.

Working so much in retail and ecommerce I also see the inverse – where the collective rentrenchment of consumers can humble great retailers.

Peston’s point is that the already cash-rich can capitalise upon these short-term ‘bargains’. By ‘bargain’ I mean sensible assets, at risk due to confidence-driven speculation or short-term cashflow, rather than leverage speculation.

These assets (the homes in which people live, profitable businesses in need of mid-term cashflow, some banks) have value in a 10-100yr time-frame, but could fail entirely in the short term.

It’d be galling to have the state pick up the costs of the death spiral and have those cash-rich (also focused, brave and capable of action) folk yet again transfer national (small “n”) wealth to their pockets.

I’ve heard a couple of suggestions in the last week of mechanisms to treat government intervention as a preferred warrant holder, sharing in the eventual upside, and I hope to see these explored. This could increase voter/citizen/consumer confidence and mean that we have a period of austerity, lack of blingflation, and “sustainable recovery” rather than a self-perpetuating quagmire of despondency and gangrenous economics.

The optimist in me hopes we could forge a better foundation for public participation in the growth of the financial markets and the national asset base, without this debt-driven feel-good frenzy that’s been clearly unsustainable for a couple of years (I first called ‘recession’ on 19 January 2007 in a speech in Manchester).

It’ll be interesting to see the firming of confidence, allied to an adjustment of people’s expectations of growth, meeting movements like “enoughism”, sustainability and even the more jingoism-tinged aspects of energy-independence possibly coming together to create a qualitatively different feel o the ‘twenteens’: more than just a hangover from the Noughties.

I hope.