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Sunday, 16 October 2011
The anti-capitalists have been occupying London in their Fawkes-off masks, railing against banking and "usury", in sympathy with other such gatherings around the world - a glocalist rallying of the usual anarchists, left-leaners, and rabble-rousers. So far so good, you might say - except what are they protesting against, precisely? The global financial system? Clearly, the GFS has problems. We are seeing that now, with the turbulent, sometimes rather faltering, markets, and Western economies of Europe and America. But - and this I think is key: what should we replace it with? Sudden removal of the GFS, like oxygen for a patient, would kill us all. The utter chaos of a world without banking, or commerce, or indeed, money, is almost unthinkable. It is true that we may need to gradually move to a less-growth-intensive model, or a feudal-agrarian model, or an anarcho-syndicalist one; whatever. It has to be gradual, and it has to be well-founded and argued for. I don't think Communism has proved itself capable of filling the void, as even China and Russia have recognised. Mixed economy, like Sweden, or Canada, perhaps. It is impressive, and democratic, and no doubt satisfying, to show contempt for the fat cats of Wall Street and the City, but after the chants and the banners fade, what will keep the world's 7+ billion people working, exchanging goods and services, and managing to share out scarce resources? Some form of economy. Time to build it then.