It’s a leeetle bit hidebound it has to be said. Archaic Marxism of the Janet and John type perhaps:
Listening to economics being discussed in the media is like being read a fairy story. In any fairy story you need a monster, and in this case it’s “the markets”: unseen, but seemingly all-powerful. Job losses, public service cuts, wage freezes, privatisation, even cuts to benefits for disabled people can be justified by saying “the markets” demand it.
But what are the markets? Who comprises them and why are they so powerful? I didn’t vote for them and I doubt you did either – yet they apparently have the power to dictate policies to elected governments and, in the case of Italy, to even select the government.
This is not an abstract debate. If we are to understand the economic system we live under, what went wrong to cause the crash, and how we are to change it, we need to deal with facts, not myths. At the height of the crash the curtain was pulled back, Wizard of Oz-like, to reveal the markets as nothing more than a cabal of rich men serving their own interests.
Strangely, that’s not actually what markets are.
What markets actually are is the summed average of the actions of all us little human beings.
When what we really need is to assert our democracy over the tyranny of the markets, in the interests of the many.
And that’s rather problematic. For democracy is based on what people say. Markets on what people do. And it’s one of these little bits of that very economics that we’re discussing, an idea called revealed preferences, that what people do is a much better indication of what they think, feel and desire than what people say is.
The markets are us freely expressing our desires in our actions each and every day and hour in each and every one of our actions. Democracy is failing to vote once every five years because they’re all thieving loons. Which is a better guide to what the citizenry really want then?
Please do note that Mr. Serwotka owes his position and income to union politics rather than to the actions of any markets.