Hatchuel on the new waves of statism
Romain Hatchuel, who is “managing partner of Square Advisors LLC, a New York-based asset-management firm”, had a very good op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “The World-Wide Undermining of Free Markets“.
Mr Hatchuel’s points will not sound new to EconLog’s readers, but I think it is important they are made. He carefully reminds the reader that we are now witnessing a new surge of interventionism all over the world (from the Chinese “getting creative” in making sure stock prices can’t but go up to the EU’s stubborn efforts to prevent Greece paying the full price of her fiscal folly). The dominant narrative, as you know, is very different, and tends to stress the need for governments to bring back peace in unfettered, chaotic, crisis-prone markets. I think Mr Hatchuel’s narrative is better grounded in reality than the prevailing one.
We are still in a “discoursive battle”, as Marianna Mazzucato likes to say, on the role of government in society. I found this observation by Mr Hatchuel on the anti-austerity movement in Europe particularly profound:
More people need to question the anti austerity camp’s real motives, which clearly stem from a distrust of markets. This is especially obvious when their attacks on fiscal discipline ignore the progress made by countries where austerity measures have been successfully implemented, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland or Portugal.
Do these fiscal doves care that much about unemployed Spaniards or Greek pensioners? Perhaps, but their ultimate goal, it seems, is to ensure that extraordinary post-crisis measures become permanent policy.
“Never let a good crisis go to waste” is a popular political strategy.