Economy

The Street Keynesians

January 05, 2014

But M. Chirac, the then-president, was the hero of the hour. He wisely decreed that the insurance companies, whose policies had hitherto excluded damage caused by civil riot, revolution, and war as grounds for claim, that henceforth (and retrospectively in this case) these exclusions should not hold; and he thereby spread the Keynesian benefits of the riots throughout the French economy and population. Equity and justice required no less; the costs and the benefits were spread equally. Furthermore, government debts were completely unaffected by this. No more perfect way of stimulating demand could be imagined. It was not only effective; it was the very instance of liberty, equality, and fraternity in action.

I regret to say, however, that the French government, completely lacking in imagination, has since taken no advantage of the method of stimulating the economy with which it was so selflessly provided by the idealistic youth of the banlieues in 2005. Instead of encouraging those youth, it has taken measures to dissuade them—for example, by posting policemen all around the country and arresting those whom they catch in the process of stimulating the economy. Some of them it even punishes, thus discouraging the very kind of entrepreneurial activity for which it should be thankful.

The British government made the same mistake in 2011 when riots broke out in London. Initially the police, Keynesian to a man, took the right attitude and did nothing. How the British economy would have benefited if only this laissez-faire approach had been continued! Instead, the street Keynesians were repressed and even sent to prison. This was as stupid an error as the failed attempts in socialist countries to suppress the black market without which they could not have functioned at all.

As Bakunin pointed out a long time ago, the destructive urge is a creative urge. It is also, in our present circumstances in Europe where governments cannot increase their indebtedness without the direst economic consequences, necessary. There is no real alternative. Well-directed civil commotion, destructive of private but not public property, is thus the way forward for the European economy. By means of looting, it will also serve to lessen the gulf that has opened up recently between the rich and the poor in Europe, thereby serving the end of social justice. And—need I add?—it will be fun for all the family.

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