Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is the Depression Near?

There was a lot of action this last week that was plastered all over every newspaper on earth, so I won't repeat it here. Suffice to say that everyone is deeply upset. Most people hated the Paulson bailout plan. Most people hated its rejection by Congress. The modified plan had accountability and ownership. The real problem is nobody thinks that it will work. The markets in most things are gyrating in a way that makes them a joke. The Euro lost 3 cents in 3 hours this afternoon, while the NYSE was going up, having lost 777 points the day before. Krugman denounced McCain's flipflops, and why not? But everything is flipflopping.

Naomi Klein was on the radio a few times saying the crisis is an example of the "shock doctrine," in which unpopular and radically anti-populist policies are rammed through because everyone is paralyzed with fear. It's not quite happening that way. She's generally right, but it's also worth remembering shock works best when it's genuine in people like Paulson.

A fairly sober End of the World column is Martin Wolf's. For the End of American Power, see ye olde British conservative John Gray.

We were joking over the weekend that the FT is the New Left of anti-finance. It's not literally true, but close enough to be the scariest part of this. As of yet, there is no alternative. Amy Good man did a sequence yesterday on FDR, just to show you how backward things are.

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