Economic Futures of the West

Economic Futures of the West

New Thinking in Political Economy series

Jan Winiecki

Jan Winiecki explores the various problems that the West must deal with in order to remain an efficient competitor in the world economy. These, he argues, are primarily consequences of the ever-expanding welfare state; consequences that are not only economic but also socio-psychological and, therefore, political. The author also considers the evolution of Western Europe and the USA from a new perspective, noting the ‘Europeanization’ of US economic policies and regulation and the ‘Americanization’ of polices and regulation in some European countries. The book concludes that the main challengers to the West – Brazil, Russia, India and China (the so-called BRIC group of countries) – are unlikely to gain economic supremacy over the West any time soon, given that they have to contend with their own difficulties.

Chapter 1: Anti-globalists: funny children of Marx and Coca-Cola

Jan Winiecki

Subjects: economics and finance, austrian economics, political economy, politics and public policy, international relations, political economy

Extract

The press all over the world presented pictures of demonstrations in London on the occasion of the meeting of the G20. It showed, for example, a large banner saying: ‘Abolish money!!’ It is all too easy to poke fun at idealistic youth. The nonsensical nature of their recommendations is not made more justifiable by the fact that they had been tabled many times during the 2500 years of Western civilization by Plato, Thomas More, Campanella and other idealistic moralists. After all, over the last three to four hundred years humanity may have learned something. Or, at the very least, it should have learned, since listening recently to ‘The Indignant’ or the ‘99%’ crowds makes me less optimistic about actual learning. Over the last century communism failed abysmally both in its classical Marxian and more realpolitik versions. We should realize that the so-called ‘war communism’, practiced in the 1917–21 period by the Soviets in Russia, included among its measures the abolition of money, with disastrous consequences.

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