Which is why the Icelandic example is interesting. The people, then the government, self organised and simply said: we don’t accept the bankers’ rules. “Why should they?” one might reasonably ask.
The Icelandic move is where we are heading. The rule makers in the financial system, who think they can make up rules as they go, are on a collision course with those who have to assent to the rules — the people and the governments they appoint. So far, it is mostly presented as a management problem — how can governments manage their fiscal and monetary levers — but it will become more than that. It will become a question about who has the right to set rules and possess power.
The outcome is not a foregone conclusion, even in democracies. Grantham argues that there needs to be more income distribution, a reversal of the money grab of the rich in the United States, in order to return to a more balanced form of economic growth. But that is by no means inevitable, indeed it is not even the norm. More normal is what happened in South America in the 60s, 70s and 80s where the middle classes were gutted and the rich ruled with increasing violence. As Grantham shows, America is heading the same way — its middle class has been progressively eviscerated for about 40 years, while corporations and the rich have thrived. The history of human behaviour tells us that, unless stopped, the powerful will enslave the weak and America is heading in that direction.
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