Behind the deaths, military repression and violence that has flared up on the streets of Bangkok lies another story of a country following the dictates of the IMF and the markets, which increased inequalities and unemployment for many Thais and created the resentment that will continue to fuel conflict in Thailand.
"The banks are ours!" Public money was used to bail out the banks, and now they are lending back to the public at interest, while governments ignore the social and environmental crises that confront society. It is time to demand real solutions that will work not only for the sake of the economy but for the lives and conditions of people on whom it depends.
Susan George appeared on the major French radio network France Inter to debate the financial crisis and regulation. Her most recent book "Their Crises, Our Solutions" has been published in French ("Leurs Crises, Nos Solutions"); the English version is due to be published in September.
What we saw in the UK election campaign and the recent coalition deal is the level of opportunism amongst the political parties, and the real absence of politics and ideas on how to deal with major crises in the economy, over climate change and of our political institutions.
The “corruption-causes-poverty” narrative has become a standard tool in the hegemonic discourse kit for leaders in some developing countries - where in fact, Waldon Bello argues, it is neoliberal economic policies that are really to blame for poverty. Thailand’s “Red Shirts” are not, however, being distracted by the “corruption” line the World Bank and IMF are pushing, choosing instead to keep their eyes on the prize - the real answer to poverty - replacing neoliberalism with pro-people economic policies.
Recently invited to an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Boris Kagarlitsky laments the disillusionment of Russian liberals, who think “real capitalism” doesn’t produce crises, while as the crisis deepens, critical voices draw increasing attention among audiences in the West.
The term crisis implies a short lived period of uncertainty - suggesting there is something temporary or anomalous about the current state of the global economy. On the contrary, our global economy, from the financial clouds (or bubbles) to the real roots - where men and women work, live and survive - is suffering from systemic flaws based on an ever expanding void between rich and poor.