On November 27th Wolfgang Münchau wrote an article entitled ‘The liberal elite’s Marie Antoinette moment', in which he said the following:
“Some revolutions could have been avoided if the old guard had only refrained from provocation. There is no proof of a “let them eat cake” incident. But this is the kind of thing Marie Antoinette could have said. It rings true. The Bourbons were hard to beat as the quintessential out-of-touch establishment.
They have competition now.
Our global liberal democratic establishment is behaving in much the same way. At a time when Britain has voted to leave the EU, when Donald Trump has been elected US president, and Marine Lee Pen is marching towards the Elysée Palace, we — the gatekeepers of the global liberal order — keep on doubling down…
The correct course of action would be to stop insulting voters and, more importantly, to solve the problems of an out-of-control financial sector, uncontrolled flows of people and capital, and unequal income distribution...
If you want to fight extremism, solve the problem...The gatekeepers of western capitalism, like the Bourbons before them, have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing" - Wolfgang Münchau
On Sunday he continued to challenge the status quo in his latest article ‘Reform the economic system now or the populists will do it’.
Whilst I suspect that Mr Münchau and I will never see eye to eye on the exact solutions to our economic and political insanity - at least he recognizes, and increasingly so, that the biggest barriers to moving forward are the financial, political and economic elites who prop up the system...and whilst he doesn’t yet dare to broach this – benefit from it.
For that I applaud him…also for standing aside from the herd of mediocre scribblers that he is surrounded by. Anyway, here it is, ‘Reform the economic system now or the populists will do it’:
“Mr Romer portrays modern macroeconomics as a racket held together by people who protect their influence…With an establishment refusing to draw any lessons from its defeats of 2016, our system is far more at risk of being demolished by the populists from the outside than reformed from within” - Wolfgang Münchau
Hurrah, bravo, at last, and thank you Mr Münchau
We can argue about the specifics, but you have hit the nail on the head re the fundamental point - we do not have the luxury for the economics paradigm to change ‘one funeral at a time’. The mountains of unsustainable debt and off balance sheet entitlements that have built up during Mr Romer's 30 years of regression, will not hang around politely until Professors Dumb and Dumber shuffle off the mortal coil.
Populists or no populists, we are heading for a much bigger crisis than the one that was delayed, but not solved, 8 years ago. The sad thing is that it takes incumbents to have their own survival threatened before they get the point – the livelihoods of millions of people they represent is clearly insufficient to wake them up. Even sadder is the likelihood that the politicians won’t be the last to see the need for change – the aforementioned professors will claim that spot.
Great start Mr Münchau – I hope you are ready for a battle – it isn’t knowledge that resists it’s own development - it’s the egos of the tired old fools who think they already have it.