This is Part 2 of a three part discussion with James K. Galbraith and Leo Panitch on whether any sort of New Deal is now possible in America. This segment crystallizes for me the difference between Keynesian reformers like Galbraith and Krugman, say, and revolutionaries like Panitch. Galbraith continues to have faith in regulation and the government institutions that are capable of controlling economic and financial policies, claiming in effect it’s just a question of reform, of having the right personnel in those institutions and a reasonable government in power. Panitch recognizes that the problem isn’t a mere issue of personnel or government. It’s a structural problem because these institutions are embedded in Wall Street, maintaining the financialization of the economy and undermining thereby a real industrial economy based on supply and demand. These institutions in fact serve Wall Street.
What we need, Panitch argues - and I could’t agree more - is to begin the process of aggressively democratizing the economy. The first step would be to restore banks to their status as public utilities, for it is the oligarchical control of banking corporations with their destructive neoliberal policies that is the root cause of all our social and economic malaise.