Tuesday, 3 November 2009

No Way to Run an Economy

I've just got back from the launch of Graham Turner's new book No Way to Run an Economy at Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop.

Thanks to getting an advanced copy I had read all but the last two pages before the launch began (I read the last two pages on the tube back to Charing Cross - like the rest of the book they were excellent).

Graham says he wrote the book - the follow up to The Credit Crunch - out of frustration at the inept handling of the economic crisis (the book is subtitled 'why the system failed and how to put it right') in the UK and US in particular - the book is scathing about the incompetence of the Obama Administration's response.

Turner highlights the misinterpretation and ignorance of Keynes that has exacerbated the current crisis, but also uses Marx to highlight the systemic failings and contradictions in modern capitalism. As Graham joked, "I've heard me be described as a Keynesian because I sometimes use Keynes to demonstrate what's wrong. I've also cited Friedman, does that make me a monetarist? I'm an economist: Marx is useful at looking at the structural problems".

The book does indeed look at the failings of central banks in the US, UK and EU - and invokes Keynes to highlight their mistakes. Likewise though the strength of this book is the more in-depth look at the structural failings and a Marxist critique of neoliberalism. In utilising these two analyses Turner demonstrates an understanding of today's globalised economy that few policymakers have grasped - and it highlights not only what a superb analyst Graham has been throughout this crisis, but how such a thorough understanding of the economy has informed that analysis.

This highly readable book is a comprehensive overview - packed into under 200 pages - of our economy and its current malaise by the most astute chronicler of this economic crisis. Buy it now - and do so from Bookmarks.

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