February 13, 2009

What Rudd did with his Xmas holidays

Kev Rudd wasted his Xmas holidays writing a 7000 word essay. We touched on this a little while ago. "Social capitalism". "New World Order". Remember?

It was one very indulgent, yet utterly wasted holiday. Maybe next year he should play golf.

The Victorian fires have obliterated much, including the normal drone of our quite uninspiring politics, but that should not deter us. Rudd should not be let off so easily, we should keep his intellectual follies front and centre, lest we have cause to later kick ourselves in the butt for not taking this seriously.

Rudd's essay has been marketed by its publishers as a unique and lucid insight into the present financial crisis.

Rudd's essay displays his superficial reading of economic history. Even in areas where he has a purported expertise such as foreign policy, he fails to comprehend key political distinctions.

All the way through his essay Rudd tries to have it both ways, cherry picking economic history to support his political prejudices.

If Rudd is to be believed, all the present problems can be traced back to the "neo-liberal orthodoxy" that dominates economic policy making. And the solution is a return to social democratic Keynesian policies that existed prior to the mid-70s.

In Rudd's version "the current crisis is the culmination of a 30-year domination of economic policy by a free-market ideology that has been variously called 'neo-liberalism', economic liberalism, economic fundamentalism, Thatcherism or the Washington consensus." The political ideology of neoliberals has been "that government activity should be constrained, and ultimately replaced, by market forces".

Ultimately, Rudd resorts to the usual interventionist myths to justify his position. The greatest of these, of course, is the myth that Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal policies saved the US from the Depression.

The effectiveness of New Deal policies is a controversial area of economic theory and history. In a recent analysis, historian Burton Folsom Jr points out that while unemployment fluctuated throughout the '30s, average unemployment in 1939 was higher than in 1931, the year before Roosevelt became president. "

What this critique doesn't mention is that the Great Depression was only knocked off its perch by WWII.

It's important to remember that it took a global catastrophe of an even greater scale to end the Depression. I suppose a world war is government intervention of sorts.

Given that we are in the midst of a global recession, there's not much comfort in any of this, and no comfort at all from Kev's ideology barrow-pushing.

Rudd on dangerous, ill-informed crusade

1 comment:

  1. Your Rudd sounds about as rudderless as our Obama. Jesus Christ!!! Lately I feel like we've fallen down a rabbit hole.