Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Trotskyist Outburst in Financial Times

As the Eurozone debt crisis deepens (Italy? Belgium? France?), and the full measure of the Irish 'resolution' begins to take hold in our imaginations (state pensions used to securitize continental bank loans?!), Martin Wolf is not alone when, writing in yesterday's Financial Times, he raises doubts about the whole arrangement. But one particular sentence caught my eye:

Bank debt simply cannot be public debt. If bank debt is to be such debt, bankers should be viewed as civil servants and banks as government departments.

An interesting proposal, but it sounds oddly familiar. Where ...? Oh yes, two years ago, as the Nouveau Parti Anti-capitaliste was forming, wasn't it Olivier Besancenot who called for a public financial service to replace the discredited private-sector one? And yet when Besancenot offered his proposal, it was widely viewed as proof of how absurdly out-of-phase the Trotskyist position was with reality.

Now in fairness, Martin Wolf isn't exactly advocating for such a thing--he just says it would be logical, much more logical than offering public securitization to private, hugely exploitative banks for any and all of their high-risk, socially useless investments. So no, Martin Wolf hasn't turned Trotskyist on behalf of the financial establishment--he only wishes he could.


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