Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Otherwise engaged

Few posts at present because Jack is head-down in his recession book. And getting angrier by the day. At the weekend I watched a video record of a talk given by a fierce and witty Marxist academic in California, and read a good essay by Dan Hind (available on his page on the Verso website) called ‘Jump! You fuckers!’ And started reading James Buchan’s Frozen Desire, about money – which sounds a chore but isn’t, because he reads economists as literature and Dostoyevsky as an economist. It’s blindingly clear that many of the ‘experts’ had no idea what the convoluted financial products they were using our money to buy actually were. (And it’s been going on for years. James Buchan, in the late 1980s: ‘In London and New York I met people who invested fortunes in financial enterprises they simply could not describe or explain. No doubt quite soon, a bank would discover it had lost its capital in those obscure speculations; other banks would fail in sympathy . . .’) The politicians didn’t know either. It’s as if we’ve been going with our tummy-aches to doctors who don’t know the difference between the liver and the kidneys. No wonder we’re ill.

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