Email of the day (3)
Comment of the Day

April 25 2012

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day (3)

More on the "wrenching change" right versus left debate from Clive Crooks:
"In case you might miss it, here is Clive Crook's first part response (what the Right should do) to his earlier piece that you posted on "wrenching change"."

David Fuller's view Many thanks, as I could have all too easily missed this important column. Here is the opening:

The first priority for governments in the U.S. and Europe is to engineer the fastest possible recovery from the Great Recession -- a job that the European Union, in particular, is bungling. Despite it all, recovery will come, and when it does the world economy is going to look different.

As I explained last week, recessions accelerate structural transformations, and this unusually severe recession will do so with unusual force. Without losing sight of the here and now, politicians in Europe and the U.S. need to examine their ideas to make sure they fit this new world.

Neither the left nor the right needs to abandon its basic worldview: The creative tension between conservatives' trust in individual initiative and market forces and the left's concern for fairness and solidarity will never be resolved, and trying to resolve it would be a mistake. But both sides have some rethinking to do.

Let's start with the right. I'll have something to say about the left next week.

Living With Risk

Conservatives need to recognize three crucial shifts. First, globalization and information technology are increasing the rate of industrial change. This is great for incomes in the aggregate -- in that respect, the right's instinctive optimism about economic progress is as correct as ever. But faster change makes our economic lives riskier, and conservatives must not close their eyes to that.

Second, without new government interventions, the gap between winners and losers may continue to widen. The skillful, the adaptable and the lucky will do better than ever before. But there will be more losers -- and in relative terms, at least, they will have further to fall.

Third, the new economy will put different demands on infrastructure and other public services. Conservatives think that blunting market forces and trying to slow the rate of change would be a mistake -- and they're right. But they should recognize that market forces can be blunted by neglect as well as deliberate action. To make the most of the new economic opportunities, governments need to augment market forces with, among other things, new kinds of public investment.

My view - Overall, Clive Crook offers a very thoughtful and constructive perspective on today's economic challenges. Of course 'the devil is in the detail' and individual countries have to be competitive in a number of spheres, including taxation, in order to attract and retain both talent and capital.

I look forward to seeing Clive Crook's third column on this subject.

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