Sunday 19 October 2008

After the crisis: the social democratic case.

Just back in London after speaking to the SP.a - the Flemish Social Democratic party - at their conference this morning. I was the international speaker and warm-up act ahead of party leader Caroline Gennez's keynote.

You can read my speech here. (There is a slightly extended version of the argument on the Fabian website).

The right intervened despite its principles in this crisis. I argue that Social Democrats must now make the political argument to get the right international and national response to have the markets we need.

what happened to the argument that government is always the problem, and that whoever governs least governs best? That market fundamentalist argument has been very prominent in western politics in the last 25 years. In this crisis, that view went missing in action, rejected even by its friends in the White House. The ideology of leaving everything to the ‘hidden hand’ of the market provided no more useful practical advice than the equally discredited Marxist fringe view that there is nothing to do but wait for the collapse of capitalism – whatever the pain caused – to see what new utopian possibilities might arise.

This was the first SP.a conference to include a 'fringe' with several other European and US speakers, and I will write more about the debates

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