Too dodgy to fail

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It happened by stealth mainly. And now we’re at a complete loss at how to deal with it. The financialization of the world economy, coupled with massive deregulation and a raft of other “–ations” (globalization, commodification, liberalization et al.) means that it’s more than ever

about the money. Mauritius is no exception of course. If anything, the delayed reaction that often typifies the decision-making process here means that it hasn’t yet occurred to our political and business leaders to question the wisdom of gawking at a naked emperor’s splendid garb. They present us with figures that ring increasingly hollow in the context of deteriorating social stability and environmental health. This disconnect is breeding uncertainty, which, in turn, provides fertile ground for religiosity and communalism. It’s often said that when an economy does well, everything else follows.

The trouble is that MruInc. has been subsumed into WorldCorp, which means that our fortunes are largely tied to those of a faceless, global body corporate. No island is an island, not anymore. Consequently, in order to comprehend what’s going on here we have to understand some of the aforementioned processes that are shaping the world economy. Thankfully, there’s been one flipside to the planet’s transformation into an accountant’s paradise: the exhilarating liberation of information from the shackles of time and space. Here a few useful places to start. Matt Taibbi’s no-holds-barred articles in Rolling Stone magazine offer perhaps the most pertinent insight into the financial crisis that got us where we are. Punchy, irreverent and eminently readable, he shows up the unrepentant financial institutions for the greed machines they really are.

His pieces, which are all freely available on the Internet, are rendered all the more relevant by the fact that not much has changed since the crisis, except of course for austerity, unemployment and the unabated transfer of wealth from poor and middle classes to the rich. Alternatively, pick up The Big Short, Michael Lewis’s superb account of the monumental balls-up. Those are just the appetizers though. For those of you wanting to sink your teeth into something truly substantial then visit the New Economic Perspectives website, which seeks to explain, in the simplest terms possible, complex issues such as macroeconomics (a favourite theme of our minister of Finance), Modern Monetary Theory, fiscal policy and other similarly racy topics.

On a more local level, you can do far worse than visit Kozelidir, Sanjay Jagatsingh’s blog in which he pithily comments on a broad range of issues. His succinct appraisals of government’s economic policies, which are often accompanied by readerfriendly graphics, offer a refreshing break from a lot of the newspeak that usually passes for analysis in Mauritius. And this is just the tip of the empowerment iceberg. Make the most of it; to understand how the economy works is increasingly synonymous with understanding how the world functions.

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