Sunday, 9 December 2007
David McWilliams and Money
by Paddy Hackett
David McWilliams: Far from committing too much money to public projects, (as
much of the typically predictable commentary suggested this morning), he
didn't commit enough. He told us he was going to be ambitious, but he
bottled it (against his political instincts).
Yesterday was the day to tell the cautious mandarins of the Department of
Finance where to go. It was time to borrow heavily. This is particularly
logical given his view that the housing recession will not spill over into
the real economy in any worrying way. If that is the case, than now is the
best time to borrow to fund desperately needed new infrastructure...
Paddy Hackett: David has repeatedly made claims that the national economy of
the Irish Republic will suffer a hard landing yet he appears to be ironically
claiming in this current piece of his that the choices made by the Minister for
Finance can make a difference to the future state of the economy --hard or
It is questionable as to whether the Government should have taken up the
slack, as David would have it, by borrowing money on a significantly larger
scale to pour into the economy for capital projects. At the moment it is not
clear as to what the condition of the world economy is. Furthermore even if
this were clear the world economy (including here the Irish economy) may not
have progressed along its cycle sufficiently to render appropriate a very
large injection of funds into the national economy. Timing is of the utmost
importance here. If the economic downturn is far from bottoming out then a
mega injection of capital may not create the conditions for recovery. Then
too there are the constraints that the European Commission may impose
on the small Irish economy.
Generally it is just not clear as to what is the current condition of the
world economy particularly its more powerful components (the US). How then
can it be said what kind of interventionism is appropriate by the Irish
state? Given the uncertainities prevailing the present budget was probably
the best action the Irish bourgeois state could take as a means of coping
with the current economic contraction.
If it was a matter of throwing copious volumes of money at the problem of
economic downturns, recessions and depressions then it would follow
that they need never, in effect, exist anywhere in the capitalist world. But
this cannot be since the nature of economic downturn has a deeper and
more complex cause located in the contradictory nature of the valorisation
process of capital itself.
Overall the coalition government has probably done, budgetwise, as best
a job as they could concerning the immediate present in expressing the
interests of the capitalist class and capitalism itself.