I had begun to feel that keeping two public blogs updated was too much after several days in hospital in mid-April. Hospitals are very stressful places, which makes long periods of convalescence necessary, especially for those of us who are well past retirement age.
I considered the option of not continuing my ordoliberalism blog and in fact wrote the 1st June post in such a way as to terminate it. But the more I thought about it the more I felt that it was right to continue. A prime reason for this has been the Subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. Because I had been first and foremost a housing researcher, this vindicated many of my gloomy predictions made in the late 1970s regarding monotenural home ownership policies.
But it also underlined my conviction that the experience of Sweden in the EU has importantly contributed to my arguments. That despite a half century of neoliberalism and the gradual abandonment of ordoliberalism during this period, Sweden’s housing market and its policy-management remained strong enough to shelter Sweden from the worst of the storm. It was a change that the switch from the Persson Government of 1996/2006 to the Reinfeldt Government of 2008/2014 did nothing to undermine. And this – despite the headlong race to privatisation and neoliberal reforms like the centralisation of power in Sweden’s main urban centres – was embraced on both sides of politics, Reinfeldt was well as Löfven – much of the power of ordoliberalism remains: as indeed does the ordoliberalism of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, probably also the Netherlands.
And so the fate of the ramshackle empire that is the European Union is intimately tied up with the ordoliberal/neoliberal divide, as my post on the strength of ordoliberalism (2) summarises. This is made more acute by the fundamentally flawed design of the Euro, such that when crisis does strike it will compel change the EU to a decentralised political alliance between independent states.
I don’t like to predict the future but the two leading neoliberal powers – the USA and the UK – will likely once again lead the lemming rush over the subprime mortgage cliff, and that this may happen sooner rather than later. House prices in both countries are already showing signs of beginning to rise dangerously fast.
So because the substantive issues of both blogs interact with each other, I will try to keep both going, though probably at a much slower rate of post publications, at worst every 2 to 3 weeks.