La tesi di Kalesky è che la politica di liberalismo economico che ha dominato le scelte del governo U.S.A. negli ultimi vent'anni sia da rivedere. La manipolazione su grande scala dello yen messa in opera dal Giappone segna il passaggio da un egemonia culturale occidentale a quella cinese e
In Asian politics, what you see is often the opposite of what you get. On Sept 14. Mr. Kan (il primo ministro giapponese), generally seen as favoring free markets, held on to his job in an intraparty election after a bitter challenge from his rival Ichiro Ozawa, who had loudly demanded a Chinese-style policy of currency intervention to keep the value of the yen low. Given Mr. Kan’s victory, investors assumed that currency intervention was off the agenda and piled into the yen, lifting it to a 15-year high against the dollar. It turns out, however, that Mr. Kan, in winning the election, may have tacitly ceded control of economic policy to Mr. Ozawa, known as the “shadow shogun” for his prowess in backroom dealing. Hence the ensuing sell-off of the yen. The decision to break with free-market ideology and spend government money to control the yen’s value against the dollar was mainly driven by Japan’s relationship with China, not America. Japanese companies including Sony and Toyota that had demanded government action devaluing the yen were not concerned primarily with their competitiveness against America rivals. The motivation was a fear of being undercut by exporters in China, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan — all countries that aggressively manage their exchange rates.
With Chinese economic policy now serving as a model for other Asian countries, Japan was faced with a stark choice: back United States criticisms that China is artificially keeping down the value of its currency, the renminbi, or emulate China’s approach. It is a sign of the times that Japan chose to follow China at the cost of irritating America.
Japan’s action suggests that, in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, the dominance of free-market thinking in international economic management is over. Washington must understand this, or find itself constantly outmaneuvered in dealings with the rest of the world.
Kalesky procede delineando a grandi linee un piano di intervento economico del governo che comprende il sostegno ai settori più esposti alla concorrenza internazionale:
If market forces cannot do something as simple as financing home mortgages, can markets be trusted to restore and maintain full employment, reduce global imbalances or prevent the destruction of the environment and prepare for a future without fossil fuels? This is the question that policymakers outside America, especially in Asia, are now asking. And the answer, as so often in economics, is “yes and no.”
Yes, because markets are the best mechanism for allocating scarce resources. No, because market investors are often short-sighted, fail to reflect widely held social objectives and sometimes make catastrophic mistakes. There are times, therefore, when governments must deliberately shape market incentives to achieve objectives that are determined by politics and not by the markets themselves, including financial stability, environmental protection, energy independence and poverty relief.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that governments get bigger. The new model of capitalism evolving in Asia and parts of Europe generally requires government to be smaller, but more effective. Many activities taken for granted in America as prerogatives of government have long since been privatized in foreign nations — even in what so many Americans view as socialistic Europe.
E conclude sottolineando la pressochè ineluttabilità di scelte interventiste nell'economia, cercando di renderle digeribili sottolineando il tradizonale pragmatismo della cultura U.S.A.:
What if America decides to ignore the global reinvention of capitalism and opts instead for a nostalgic rerun of the experiment in market fundamentalism? This would not prevent the rest of the world from changing course.
Rather, it would make it likely that the newly dominant economic model will not be a product of democratic capitalism, based on Western values and American leadership. Instead, it will be an authoritarian state-led capitalism inspired by Asian values. If America opts, for the first time in history, for nostalgia and ideology instead of pragmatism and progress, then the new model of capitalism will probably be made in China, like so much else in the world these days.