We live in an era in which the culture and values of big business are dominant. The riptides of capital swirl around the globe ruining entire economies overnight. Directors and chief executives cash in stock options for unimaginable fortunes while whole workforces are “downsized” as companies relocate at a whim. Environmental degradation escalates as the earth’s resources are looted. The dream of worldwide prosperity and peace is given the lie from Kosovo to the Congo, from the drug baronies of South America to the criminal empires of the former Soviet Union. Welcome to the Age of Insecurity.
In the face of this slow-motion global coup d’etat by untrammelled finance, traditionally left leaning parties now in power have abandoned their concern with regulating business for a compulsive and self-righteous moralism; the Blair government stands as a perfect exemplar in this trend. In the coruscating argument the authors make a plea for government to turn strictures concerning ethics away from the citizen and on to a financial system that is making our society ever more precarious.
Since the publication of the hardback of The Age of Insecurity in May 1998 events have conspired to validate the author’s argument. In a new preface and afterword Elliott and Atkinson draw out the lessons to be learned from the hedge-fund crisis, the disintegration of the rouble and the spreading of economic turmoil in Latin America.
The Age of Insecurity is, more than ever, a vital and radical tract for our times.