Peston says there's talk in the City that the government is buying the wrong stuff with all this new money it has just printed: it ought to buy up the productive economy and put the cheaply acquired shares in a national pension fund. That would allow companies direct access to new money and be an investment for the national future.
Well, yes. & combined with this sort of thing it might well make life very interesting. Because it would mean that what we used to call the 'commanding heights' would be under (indirect) social control. We've got those peaks which are called banks anyway, so why not the manufacturing and other sectors as well? It raises the prospect, albeit at the far reaches of my current hopes,of the sort of social fund reformism that Robin Blackburn now advocates.
Let me quote from Andrew Glyn's 2006 'Capitalism Unleashed':
"Old certainties, which I shared, that economic problems would be readily solved once free market logic was supplanted by a planned economy operating according to production for need, now seem far too abstract to carry much conviction or political credibility."
It seems whoever Peston has been talking too in the City didn't get the same memo.
What's truly mind-boggling about this, at least for a 'once-upon-a-time-but-now-ex-ish' Marxist like myself, is that none of it is being discussed because of social pressure from below. The left is as weak and irrelevant as it was at the start of the crisis. These ideas are not being debated because of class struggle: they are being aired because the basic Anglo-American market driven, finance-dominated model of running an economy has fallen apart both practically and intellectually. But my theory - or rather, the rag-tag and bobtail of ideas I unconsciously carry around with me in place of having any claim to a Grand Unified Theory of Everything - didn't help me identify this current situation either.
The pigs are genuinely flying and we're in a New World with no obvious compass.