Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Global capitalism - the Gray view

The triumphalism has thoroughly passed. In the past twenty years there has been some period when stark, global capitalism was cherished with unconditional belief. But the trust has cracked, especially since economic crisis set in. Since then, the likes of Keynes are back in vogue. And also, one who never shared the excitement, London School of Economics professor John Gray.

It is always a pleasure to hear Gray on podcast (though you have to get used to his careful, toned down and understated speaking style) and on Global Capitalism he was invited to speak at the LSE podcast just recently. Gray reports of many 'unfruitful' discussions he has had with Francis Fukuyama who resembled part of the capitalist triumphalism with his famous book The End of History (1992). Gray's point was and is in this podcast: history never ends. This means that there will always be crises. No system, no ideology, no empire ever vanquishes for ever. Gray was proven right when he argued that old dormant conflicts would awaken again after the old conflict of the Cold War had gone.

So, with this prophetic power appearing in hindsight, he is challenged to look ahead. And even though he quotes Woody Allen that predictions are generally hard to make, especially when they are about the future, he gives it a try. Climate Change figures dominantly in his predictions as well as a continuation of the current economic crisis. Not only does he forecast, he also explains how he arrives at his ideas about where we are going - and that is what makes this lecture tantalizing.

More LSE:
Israeli at the London School of Economics,
Michael Sandel,
Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung,
Natural Resource Management,
The Iran power struggle.