The Voice of Experience

Now here’s something you don’t see every day. Vladimir Putin gives a speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland and *doesn’t* take the opportunity to poke America in the eye over dragging the world into a monetary quagmire.

So what *does* he do? He gives us the father talk. You know, the one where your Dad sits you down and says, “Hey, I’ve been where you are right now and you don’t want to end up like me.”

True, the state’s increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent.

The concentration of surplus assets in the hands of the state is a negative aspect of anti-crisis measures in virtually every nation.

In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.

Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.

Pretty solid advice I’d say. Based on experience and all that. For all of McCain’s talk of looking into Putin’s eyes and seeing “KGB” or the fact that he’s managed to orchestrate himself into being the puppet-master of Mother Russia, you have to admit that Putin is one smart mother. You don’t do the things he has done without being quick on the uptake. Plus, the KGB side of him comes out every now and again and he lays some smack down, like this:

I just want to remind you that, just a year ago, American delegates speaking from this rostrum emphasised the US economy’s fundamental stability and its cloudless prospects. Today, investment banks, the pride of Wall Street, have virtually ceased to exist. In just 12 months, they have posted losses exceeding the profits they made in the last 25 years. This example alone reflects the real situation better than any criticism.

Like all arguements based in fact, there’s not much you can say. Just gotta stand there and take it.

In the face.

and hope it doesn’t leave a mark.

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