It has been ten long years since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the gigantic North American investment bank, shook the pillars of the system and began to talk about what was the mantra of the great financial crisis of 2008, the need to « refound capitalism ».
Neither this has happened nor will we come out better from the pandemic, as was also repeated in the hardest days of confinement, for the simple reason that the human species is not usually characterized by learning from its mistakes.
More than 230 years ago we left the Old Regime behind and the French Revolution proclaimed that of Freedom, equality, fraternity to mark the beginning of the Contemporary Age and the foundations of modern democracy.
Now, however, there are those who cry out only for unlimited freedom precisely so as not to put restrictions on the enrichment of a few, also without limits and regardless of the equality and fraternity that dignity and social peace represent in any democratic system.
This is looting? No, it’s the market, my friend. This is how a cocky and bravado Rodrigo Rato justified in the Congress of Deputies his enrichment and that of others who, like him, ended up behind bars after the case of the black cards.
That same Rodrigo Rato, with his “it’s the market, friend”, was the one who promoted the largest financial rescue in the history of Spain, with an injection of more than 22,000 million euros of public money to Bankia after its collapse on the stock market. The usual: do not distribute benefits, but socialize losses from minute one.
For this reason, after everything lived in the last decade and after an Olympic summer and autumn in Spain, in which the true “pulverization of records” has corresponded to the price of electricity, which has runaway to the IPC to punish even more to families, it cannot fail to surprise me that a deputy from the Extremadura Assembly, however liberal, recently argued that “intervening in the market is nothing more than applying communist techniques.”
He said it, to criticize, that the Government has drawn up a law that prioritizes social rent in a country in which the right to decent housing is included in the Constitution, but in which young people are not able to become emancipated simply because they cannot allow it even if they work.
But, apart from this specific law, the debate is much more complex than the simple dichotomy capitalism-communism, on the other hand already invalidated in economics after China, the communist giant is also the main commercial giant on the globe and is in gates of becoming the first economic superpower, with 324 of its fellow citizens among the billionaires recognized by Forbes magazine.
The debate is on whether a government democratically elected by its citizens can stop the abuses of that untouchable market for some, when its excesses can even empty swamps in times of drought just to protect the «sacred benefit »of a few.
In Spain this has happened this summer and it is that in Spain, until now, the governments more prone to interventionism have been characterized by being more liberal than they proclaimed and the reverse has happened with the followers of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, although the political debate seems that it is polarized right in some differences that, at the moment of the truth, are not so great.
In this mess, one and the other now applaud that return to the Keynesian model to which the pandemic has led us again, when after the austerity or rather austericide policies, Europe and the United States are once again betting on public spending to intervene in economics.
Welcome all to that life insurance that these policies suppose for a humanitarian and sustainable capitalism, despite the fact that its detractors also see the communist ghost in Keynes’s theories of full employment or the Welfare State.
The United States is preparing to regulate big technology and Canadian David Card has been one of the winners this year with the Nobel Prize in Economics for analyzing the effects of the minimum wage, immigration and education on the labor market.
These are steps in the face of some changes that are seen as urgent due to the survival of the system itself, because the impoverished do not consume and because the law of the jungle is not valid for inequality to reign at ease without any shame. Politics must regain its regulatory authority to protect us all as the only way to also preserve democracy.
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“It’s the market, my friend.”