Letter: Russian extremes
Monday 31 August 1998
Few people would advocate a return to the oppressive command and control economy of the former Soviet Union. On the other hand, would someone please tell me why the Russian people should be asked to embrace a system which deifies greed and the individual and, in so doing, encourages the lawlessness, inequality and insecurity now widespread in that country?
Too many people, pundits and politicians, keep telling us that the only alternative to the unfettered free market is old-fashioned socialism. Fortunately, the world is not black and white. There are many attractive permutations between these extremes, and none of them need be predicated on the myth that reliance on the invisible hand of the market is the best way of conducting human affairs.
It might be helpful to consider giving social policy higher priority than economic policy. Rather than working for money alone, we would be working for a better world. Imagine a government in which the pre-eminence of the Treasury and the Budget was replaced by their social policy equivalents.
Globalisation died this week somewhere in Russia, but I suspect that all of us will have to endure its death throes for some time until we decide to behave as if we really were the most intelligent species on the planet.
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