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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

as in film so in... « Previous | |Next »
September 30, 2008

It is high drama in Washington these days and who better to express the public mood than Hollywood.

bushcassidy.jpg Martin Rowson

The House Republicans are willing to play Russian roulette with fragile financial markets. So what now in terms of this political crisis? Bush couldn't deliver his own party for a bill he wanted. So he doesn't really have much credibility with them. He doesn't have credibility with the public either. Will the Republicans "standing up for Main Street against Wall Street" convince the public?

Schumpeter would have called the chaos on Wall Street 'creative destruction'.

Megan McArdle at The Atlantic is critical of the use of metaphor in making sense of the financial crisis. She says:

Metaphors, comparative situations, are useful when you have a firm grasp of the underlying principles which make the important features of what you are discuss fundamentally akin to the important principles of whatever metaphor you wish to employ.....If you cannot explain in clear English exactly what all the salient questions and facts are about the bailout, then please do not attempt to convince others that it is best understood in terms of Dirty Harry movies or the time your Aunt Mavis lost her car keys in the garbage disposal.

Fair enough. We do resort to all kinds metaphors to disguise murky our thinking. But we are watching the disintegration of the financial system. It is difficult to understand what the financial system ceasing to function properly, a range of financial institutions collapsing, and the investment-banking industry disappearing in a couple of weeks means. It is difficult to comprehend what happens next.

What is the significance of the US ’experiencing a huge financial crisis, and the political system still doesn’t seem to work? The Americans are doing this to themselves--it’s their own failure to regulate their financial system and to legislate the proper remedy. They are shooting themselves in the foot.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:18 AM | | Comments (10)


One thing that is certain is the US is operating without a president Bush has absolutely no credibility to get anything done and his administration is so discredited that they can't rally the public.

The Republicans are hoping to some tight wing people out there in voterland know who the real enemy is and will smite them --- Big Government and Wall Street. The strategy is that the Republicans are a party out of power and the they need to rebuild the party after being discredited. So they can't afford to be associated with the Paulson bailout. That's why they moved against it. They are going on strike.

It looks as if leadership on the Wall street bailout is left to the Democrats.

Seeing you mentioned Hollywood. Russell Crowe seems interested to head the U.S treasury and has said on Jay Leno that his solution is rather than give Wall st 7 billion he will give every American $1,000,000.
Now thats a saving. And sure to be popular. Perhaps he would make a good P.M

It looks rather like the Republicans are going through a similar phase to the one the Liberals went through when they lost Howard. They've lost Bush but can't get behind McCain.

who is cool hand Luke in this film? Or have I got the wrong movie?

the legitimacy of the market economy is in question.

In the New York Times David Brookes, the conservative commentator, calls it the Revolt of the Nihilists. He adds:

The Congressional plan was nobody’s darling, but it was an effort to assert some authority. It was an effort to alter the psychology of the markets. People don’t trust the banks; the bankers don’t trust each other. It was an effort to address the crisis of authority in Washington. At least it might have stabilized the situation so fundamental reforms of the world’s financial architecture could be undertaken later.

But the 228 House members who voted no have exacerbated the global psychological free fall, and now we have a crisis of political authority on top of the crisis of financial authority.

Well that's true. Don't know about 'the revolt of the nihilists'.

what are the underlying fundamental principles that McArdle is referring to? She doesn't say in her post.

McArdle is a libertarian--of sorts--and so, presumably, McArdle would be referring to the principles of the free market economy ie., laissez-faire principles as understood by a classical liberal.

Connecting these to the crisis would mean insisting on allowing market reorganization of the financial sector to continue unimpeded... even if that is at a high risk to the economy over the next few months----with minimal government intervention.

"creative destruction", eh.
I seem to recall just recently a figure offered of nearly three hundred million people in India (alone) living on thirty cents a day.
Given the likelihood that the current antics are likely to make life for the starving billions even more precarious, I suppose "creative destruction" could be seen in some quarters as somewhat euphemistic in a fertiliser sort of way.

"now we have a crisis of political authority on top of the crisis of financial authority"

And thus, a cultural crisis for a nation such as the US. The only other authority is military. And God, but he seems to be busy elsewhere at the moment.