‘ I started a joke
Which started the whole world crying
But if I’d only seen
The joke was on me ‘
Robin, Barry and Maurice Gibb
The Neoliberalism virus mantra that a society arranged as though it were a market would be free and happy was never anything other than a bad joke told by a third rate stand-up comedian . That comedian was Lewis Powell who we started off this blog with as the original source of the Neoliberalism virus. Powell held the naive belief that businessmen could be relied upon to act with integrity and that making money was never their sole objective . His firmly held belief that ‘ the American free enterprise system ‘ was superior to all other systems for the organisation of society including the system in place in England at the time he wrote his memorandum in 1971. That system was usually defined as a ‘ mixed economy ‘ – a combination of economic activity by both the private and public sectors . In fact Powell regarded that system as ‘ socialist ‘ . Powell never saw fit to revise his belief despite the fact that in the twenty seven years between the publication of his memo and his death in 1998 fraud after fraud took place in the American free enterprise system he promoted .The largest of these frauds – the sub-prime mortgage fraud which collapsed in 2008 – would have brought about the collapse of the western banking system had the biggest banks not been bailed out by governments of all the countries involved.
So now when we hear the phrase ‘ free markets ‘ let’s make the correction that Powell failed to make and call them what they are ‘ rigged markets’ which they continue to be because not one top banker was prosecuted after the fraud was exposed in 2008 and the frauds continue in different forms.
Will the Coronavirus be able to penetrate this fraudulent structure ?