Neil Faulkner

Fixing Global Finance

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Martin Wolf, Yale University Press, £18.99

"To have had one crisis may have been a misfortune," says Martin Wolf, commenting on the financial meltdowns of the neoliberal era, "[but] to have had 112 was surely the result of extreme carelessness." For a top Financial Times journalist and a leading advocate of neoliberalism for two decades, he can be disarmingly honest: "The banking industry is evidently a disaster not merely waiting to happen, but in fact happening all the time, and all around us." Quite.

Citizens to Lords

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Ellen Meiksins Wood, Verso, £16.99

Greek democracy was traumatic for the ancient ruling class. Ellen Wood is right to root her analysis of western political thought in the context of this extraordinary historical experiment. For around 200 years, in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, Athens and many other Greek city-states were ruled by ordinary citizens. Major decisions - like whether to go to war - were made at mass meetings of thousands. The poorest hill farmer had the same rights as the richest landowner. While it lasted, it was impossible for rulers to screw their own people.

The Terms on Which Terror Takes Place

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John Molyneux provided an excellent summary of the Marxist view on terrorism ('Marxism on Terrorism', April SR). But a rather catch-all definition of terrorism is implied when he includes 'attacks by the Iraqi resistance'.

Small-scale terror organisations cut off from the majority of oppressed people cannot begin to match the power of mass strikes and demonstrations. In such cases, moreover, terrorist 'outrages' usually help the right, not the left, providing justifications for attacks on civil liberties and an erosion of hard-won democratic freedoms. That is why socialists are opposed to groups like the Red Brigades in Italy. John explained all this very clearly.

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