The Real News Network has the final part of this series in the interview Confronting Financialization on Steroids – Costas Lapavitsas on Reality Asserts Itself (8/8).
LAPAVITSAS: Yes. We need regulation. We need regulation with teeth for sure. There’s no question about it. The point there is that this isn’t enough. And if I were to ask–if I were asked to put it in a single word, I would also say that we need to consider ownership, of course, not just regulation. Ownership matters very much, ownership of finance, but also ownership of other sectors of the economy, because ownership allows (A) private owners to bypass regulation, (B) allows public owners of whatever assets they might be to do some things about the economy that regulation doesn’t allow.
In addition to that, I would argue it isn’t just a matter of ownership or of regulation; it’s also a matter of provision, mechanisms of provision, of basic goods and services that households need. This isn’t just a matter of ownership, of the ways to produce and the ways to do finance; it’s also of how we organize social life more generally and allow people access to basic goods and services, which is, as we’ve discussed, a fundamental to financialization.
So if you asked me, then, for a broad picture, I can give you nothing other than a broad picture, because I don’t know the situation in Baltimore or another similar city in the United States.
I would say that to reverse financialization, we need to think first of all of what we’re going to do at the level of the productive enterprise in the first place. We need productive enterprises that actually focus on production rather than on financial profits, that actually take a long-term perspective, that invest to create productive capacity and to create jobs and to provide employment for people, and we need to think of productive capacity that detaches itself from finance, doesn’t have financial motives and financial profit-making in mind, and organizes investment on a systematic basis, as I’ve indicated. That’s the first thing we need to do.
Were it not for the interference of the interviewer, I would have been able to say that this is the most successful attempt to discuss solutions that I have seen coming at the end of a very good exposition of what the problem is.
I try to imagine what Lapavitsas might have said, if he had only been allowed to speak without interruption. I haven’t found these ideas in Lapavitsas’s book yet in a way that I think he was about to explain them in the interview.
Ironically, it may have been Paul Jay’s direction that got him to the threshold while it was Paul Jay’s direction that prevented him from getting over the threshold.
In this interview Costas Lapavitsas showed many times over that he is a far deeper thinker than Paul Jay can imagine at this point. Paul Jay was constantly trying to redirect the answers so that they would fit into what Paul Jay could imagine. Costas Lapavitsas kept trying to raise Paul Jay’s horizons, mainly to no avail.
Lapavitsas tried over and over again to redirect Jay’s thinking away from government control to what he called public control. Because Paul Jay could not get his mind around what Lapavitsas was trying to tell him, Jay kept interrupting at every point where Lapavitsas was about to explain more of what he meant by public control.
The Real News Network needs to give Paul Jay a bit of a rest. Perhaps bringing in another interviewer to complete the series, and let Lapavitsas dive deeper into saying what he is trying to say.
It is time for Paul Jay to get his ego out of these interviews. He needs to let deep thinkers explain their deep thoughts. Rather than constantly trying to refocus the interview into Jay’s narrow perspective, he needs to work harder to bring out the ideas the invterviewee is trying to explain.
Now to demonstrate my narrowness of mind, I kept hoping that someone would mention the idea of the Social Security Trust Fund as a source finance for moving the private sector to have more of a public interest.
You need to read my many previous posts on this web site to see what I mean by this. One place to start would be at my previous post Saving Social Security: A Better Approach. I also had more comments about this post in the subsequent post Elizabeth Warren: We should be talking about expanding Social Security benefits.
Imagine the Social Security Trust Fund having investments in private companies throughout the economy. Just like large private investors, the Trust Fund could think beyond the narrow interests of an individual company, and pay some attention to the needs of the entire portfolio. Unlike large private investors, the Trust Fund would not concentrate solely on the direct financial return of its investments, but it could also think about the broad social impact of what the investment could accomplish. The Trust Fund would not be optimizing the performance of one company, nor of one investor’s portfolio, but it could try to optimize the results for the beneficiaries of the Trust Fund. Need I remind you that those present and future beneficiaries are just about the entire population of the country?