The dominance of finance, derivatives and a debt-fuelled growth model is in reality only a little over ten years old. Likewise, the global imbalances really took off only in the wake of the 1997 crisis. There is, in other words, nothing permanent, nor even well entrenched about the current shape of the global economy – still less should it be sacrosanct. It was build aggressively by visionaries who innovated their way into rule-free spaces. It could be radically reshaped by human action, and in the timescale of a decade, not a lifetime.
The task of finding a better model confronts us in a period of economic recession and rising social unrest, and with the ideology of neoliberalism now lying shattered alongside that of Stalinist Marxism, which has been dead for twenty years. The magnitude of the crisis is much bigger than most of us yet imagine.
The dynamics of growth and crisis in the information age are hardly guessed at: they will be shaped not just by the ending of the super-bubble, but by the long-term ageing of populations, by climate change, by the rise of Asia, and by the coming decline of the carbon economy. But above all they will be shaped by the willingness of ordinary people to impose limits, standards and sustainability on capital – and the willingness of the state to take control where market forces leads to disaster.
Paul Mason, Meltdown, Pg 172