New Internationalist

The economic crash - by those who saw it coming

Photo by Jaap Steinvoorte

Why should we listen to the ‘economic experts’ and policymakers who got us into this mess in the first place? Let’s listen instead to people who saw the crash coming.

When an economic crash like the current one breaks upon us, we can be forgiven for not having unbounded trust in the ability of policymakers to chart a new way forward who presided over the unsustainable mess in the first place. In a climate in which the US Right and Britain’s New Labour Government alike have suddenly discovered that state ownership is not such a bad idea after all, perhaps some space should be given for the counsel of alternative critics who saw this crash coming a long time ago.

People like Ann Pettifor, formerly the head of the debt campaign Jubilee 2000 and now executive director of Advocacy International. Her regular articles for openDemocracy about the looming First World debt crisis over the last few years have been prescient and insightful. Her latest article, The week that changed everything contains recommendations for a way forward that go way beyond the short-term firefighting of today’s finance ministers.

People like Larry Elliott, economics editor of British newspaper The Guardian, who has consistently warned in his articles and books over the last couple of years that a crash was likely and who presents this as the end of an era in his recent column Big finance now faces a long spell on the naughty step.
The New Internationalist has been sounding its own warnings about the unsustainability of the current global economic system for many years and it’s well worth looking back at our special issue on Redesigning the Global Economy. In introducing it, editor Wayne Ellwood wrote: ‘The truth is the global economic system has broken down. Tired plans to dust it off and prop it up aren’t going to do the trick. This issue is an attempt, faltering and limited though it may be, to create a plan for an alternative world economy. An impossible task you might say - and you’d be right. But, as you will discover, I’m not the only one who’s taken it on.’

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About the author

Chris Brazier a New Internationalist contributor

Once a writer for the rock music weekly Melody Maker (1977-80), Chris Brazier has been a co-editor of New Internationalist magazine since 1984. He has covered myriad subjects from masculinity to maternal mortality, Panafricanism to the paranormal, and has edited country issues on South Africa, Burkina Faso, Western Sahara, Bangladesh, Iran, China and Vietnam. He edits the country profile section of the magazine as well as its puzzle page. Since 2010 he has focused primarily on commissioning and editing New Internationalist’s books and other publications. He has also written regularly for UNICEF’s annual The State of the World’s Children report since 1997.

Chris is the author of Vietnam: The Price of Peace (Oxfam, 1992), The No-Nonsense Guide to World History (2001, 2006 & 2010) and Trigger Issues: Football (2007). He also compiled the New Internationalist anthologies Raging Against the Machine (2003) and Brief Histories of Almost Anything (2008).

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