By William Pfaff
Is it a case of murder, or has the Western economy deliberately, if unwittingly, attempted suicide and nearly succeeded?
John Maynard Keynes was not just talking about defunct economists when he wrote that the world is commonly ruled by dead ideas, its leaders the slaves of the past. He said, “Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” If he were alive today, he could name management consultants and business gurus among those responsible for the economic crisis of the present day.
As 2011 begins, people still talk about the crisis of the Western economy as though we have been the victims of a blight from nowhere, like Haitians in a hurricane or blackbirds in Arkansas. No individual is held guilty for anything – certainly none of the leaders of finance or business who insisted that markets know best, or the political leaders who empowered them.