What have governments learnt from the financial crisis? I could write a column spelling it out. Or I could do the same job with one word. Nothing.
Actually, that’s too generous. The lessons learned are counter-lessons, anti-knowledge, new policies that could scarcely be better designed to ensure the crisis recurs, this time with added momentum and fewer remedies. And the financial crisis is just one of multiple crises – in tax collection, public spending, public health, above all ecology – that the same counter-lessons accelerate. Step back a pace and you see that all these crises arise from the same cause. Players with huge power and global reach are released from democratic restraint. This happens because of a fundamental corruption at the core of politics. In almost every nation, the interests of economic elites tend to weigh more heavily with governments than those of the electorate. Banks, corporations and land owners wield an unaccountable power, that works with a nod and a wink within the political class. Global governance is beginning to look like a never-endingBilderburg meeting.