There’s a very simple interview with Steve Keen on BBC Hard Talk (link above). Steve is pushing for a very sensible approach to the depression we’re in – that of a modern debt jubilee in which private sector debt is largely forgiven. I can see a number of ways in which this could work, but all involve dealing with both widespread ignorance of what debt really is and the Jabberwock of speculative finance.
All we really need to realise is that we can do without the City toads around the world and their speculative lending and bubbles and that we need to replace them with fair banking as a utility. The US and UK get about 8 to 10% of the value added of their economies from the Jabberwock – but rather than seeing this as a ‘profit’ we should turn it on its head and regard it as a cost. In a scientific sense, it makes no sense for tossers ponsing about as they do in American Psycho to be making valuable social contribution.
What strikes me is that “work” has become something to be evaded in western societies and has been replaced by Ponzi speculation and a range of ‘professional’ non-jobs in accounting, banks, teaching and the rest that are all broadly parasitic on real work. I don’t envisage some lunatic ‘year zero’ approach sending us all back to the fields, but we do need some radical action on what work is to mean in our societies. We may well have already done vast damage to a generations of youngsters who have had almost no employment opportunities – and not realised this is just how we would have fared as the factories left for plantations abroad and workers flooded in if it had happened when we had no work experience.
We need some kind of review of the reasons for our behaviour and substantial changes in the way we organise work and money – and the way they are connected by reward. We are still easily conned by the old ways and are not being allowed to see how little work there is to do.