Oh what a tangled web it weaves, when first it practises to deceive. Anyone with blind faith in the self-correcting nature of markets is invariably left dumbfounded by their serial misbehaviour. So it takes someone with the penetrating gaze of Graham Turner to untangle the web, reveal the thing for what it is, explain what ails it, where it’s been, where it’s liable to head next – and sometimes to be proved right, as he famously was by his previous book, The Credit Crunch.
Anyone taking comfort from the soothing notes currently issuing from the very policy-makers that landed us in this mess should hasten to the pages of Turner’s new book No Way To Run An Economy before it’s too late – again. Among other things, the ‘zero bound’ of interest rates that’s now been reached means that there is nothing left in the policy locker. Corporate globalization has wrecked itself, and the earth with it, by unduly favouring capital over labour, money over people, reason and nature. That’s untamed capitalism for you.
Turner deploys a subtle mix of Marx and Keynes to reach conclusions of his own. The one policy most likely to work in the end, he suggests, entails a change no less profound than the blood-soaked war economy that was the eventual escape route from the Great Depression of the 1930s. This time around it has to tackle environmental collapse as well. It can only do so with the engagement of the public whose interests any economy is supposed to serve, thereby bringing an end to the venal ‘shareholder model’ of ownership and control.