Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Sound Of Schadenfreude

If you listen carefully along the eastern shores of the North Atlantic, you will hear the sound of crows-a-cawing. This is the sound of schadenfreude (the satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone's misfortune). For decades, European nations were berated by successive administrations in the US for not organising their affairs the way that America does. Indeed, it is often claimed that one of the causes of European indifference over the Iraq War was the way in which Secretary of State Albright swaggered around the European capitals during the Clinton administration, bragging about the superiority of the way in which the US organised its economy.

And now the boot is on the other foot. The US economy is heading for ruins and is having to adopt the European model in order to save itself. Indeed, The Times claims that the Bush Administration is set to follow the British example of taking some of the US banks into public ownership (see article). In a recent post, we asked if we are now seeing the end of 'capitalism' as we know it (see post). When a neo-con president adopts a socialist policy of public ownership, who could argue against the end of capitalism as we know it?

© The European Futures Observatory 2008

2 comments:

Chris said...

If the government is going to apply pressure to businesses to behave a certain way (i.e lend money to bad prospects), then the government should step in and cover those debts when the bottom falls out.
While I'm no fan of the bailout plan that was approved, I don't see why it should represent the end of capitalism. Not that the US has been a pure capitalist economy for a very long time.

Stephen Aguilar-Millan said...

Dear Chris,

I think that we were pointing to the irony of the Bush Administration resorting to a socialist solution (public ownership) as a way out of the current situation.