OPINION

After the oracle

Each day that passes might be worse than the previous one, at least economically speaking. Not for the banks, but for countries and their citizens: citizens who are now being asked, in the form of national wealth and real money earned from work, to close the gap left by the golden boys of the unregulated markets. The New York Times has dredged up theories about the architects of the unregulated market, and are castigating Alan Greenspan, head of the Federal Reserve during the free-for-all years. Meanwhile, the leaders of Britain, Germany and France rail against the incompetent managers. Market gurus? Never before have so few people, so incompetent and unrestrained, had so much influence over the fates of billions of people. Better late than never. But the belated anger on the part of political leaders should have contained an equal dose of self-criticism. For it is they who linked the political operation of their democracies with the uncontrolled growth of markets; it is they who tolerated the golden boys’ «toxic» financial instruments; they who made market neo-liberalism a universal ideological force, imposing it as a state ideology with the strength of religious doctrine. Politicians dizzy from the roar of the avalanche have reacted spasmodically, canceling plans and channeling state funds to salvage whatever they can, particularly nations and countries. Ideologies are being swept away by reality. Whether right-wing demagogues, neo-conservatives, neo-liberals, reformist social democrats or dogmatic leftists, they are seeing their cliches and shallow certainties collapse along with once respected credit institutions. «… the well-wrought hall has fallen in the dust; Phoebus Apollo no longer has a home or laurel, or a murmuring spring. Even the talkative spring has dried up and is no more.» We are now trying to understand how things will look in the future in the context of the oracle that has already been fulfilled.