Den anerkendte journalist ved Financial Times, Martin Wolf, skrev et fremragende indlæg i den britiske avis onsdag, hvor han i klare toner angriber europas politiske og økonomiske elite for at svigte sit ansvar over for folket. Han skriver, at der altid har været en implicit kontrakt mellem eliten og den almene borger, hvor førstnævnte lever privilegeret med magt og rigdom, mod til gengæld at sikre en tryg og rimelig velstand for alle. Eliten svigter nu denne kontrakt, siger Wolf.
“First, the economic, financial, intellectual and political elites mostly misunderstood the consequences of headlong financial liberalisation. Lulled by fantasies of self-stabilising financial markets, they not only permitted but encouraged a huge and, for the financial sector, profitable bet on the expansion of debt.”
“Second, in the past three decades we have seen the emergence of a globalised economic and financial elite. Its members have become ever more detached from the countries that produced them. Thus, the glue that binds any democracy – the notion of citizenship – has weakened.The narrow distribution of the gains of economic growth greatly enhances this development. This, then, is ever more a plutocracy. A degree of plutocracy is inevitable in democracies built, as they must be, on market economies. But it is always a matter of degree. If the mass of the people view their economic elite as richly rewarded for mediocre performance and interested only in themselves, yet expecting rescue when things go badly, the bonds snap. We may be just at the beginning of this long-term decay.
“Third, in creating the euro, the Europeans took their project beyond the practical into something far more important to people: the fate of their money. The probably inevitable financial crisis has now spawned a host of still unresolved difficulties. The economic difficulties of crisis-hit economies are evident: huge recessions, extraordinarily high unemployment, mass emigration and heavy debt overhangs (…) Power is now concentrated in the hands of the governments of the creditor countries, principally Germany, and a trio of unelected bureaucracies – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The peoples of adversely affected countries have no influence upon them. The politicians accountable to them are powerless.”
Wolf sammenligner den nuværende situation, hvor eliten fejler, med de begivenheder, der ledte os ind i to verdenskrige. Wolf ser ingen krig i horisonten men advarer kraftigt om, at eliten har et ansvar for at sikre demokratiet, beskæftigelsen og skabe økonomisk velstand. Hvis ikke eliten lever op til sit ansvar, vil vi se stigende fremmedfjendskhed og øget politisk populisme overalt i den vestlige verden.
“Complex societies rely on their elites to get things, if not right, at least not grotesquely wrong. When elites fail, the political order is likely to collapse, as happened to the defeated powers after first World War (…) If elites continue to fail, we will go on watching the rise of angry populists. The elites need to do better. If they do not, rage may overwhelm us all.”