Economic Futures of the West
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Economic Futures of the West

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.
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Chapter 6: The global financial crisis as an accelerator of damaging long-term trends

Jan Winiecki


There is a strong conviction among many believers in leftist, or more widely collectivist, ideas – so highly popular in the media, among anti-globalists, ecological warriors, sociologists, as well as politicians – that greedy bankers or financiers (modern Shakespearean Shylocks) caused the crisis and resultant recession. Moreover, this view is shared by a majority of the population in Western countries. Thus it is the bankers, as well as other financiers, that should be blamed for the fact that Western countries suffer from large public debt, with severe adverse socioeconomic consequences for their populations. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth! It has been rarely perceived that the proverbial Western camel has been moving ever more slowly under an increasingly heavy load since the late 1960s. The global financial crisis has only been the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Shifting from proverbs to reality, the most recent financial crisis did not derail Western economies from beneficial trends or brought anything radically different from the past.

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