Ten years later
Ten years later
'The crisis is over'. I hear this often in The Hague. If you look at big corporations' profits, that's indeed the case. But if you look at the lives of ordinary people, you get a very different picture. Wages have hardly risen, more than half of young people have insecure work, and older people must continue working longer.
- By Lilian Marijnissen
On 15th September it will be exactly ten years ago that in the United States the Lehman Brothers bank went bankrupt. In the Netherlands in the wake of this, banks had to be saved, using billions in taxpayers' money. This turned out to be the starting signal for widespread distress. The bankers gambled, and society lost.
The system of ever more profits and ever greater risks led to a gigantic economic crisis. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appeared on the scene and decided to combat raw capitalism with yet more raw capitalism? It wasn't those who caused the crisis, the richest 10%, who were tackled, but ordinary people, the 90%.
Now we're ten years on. The question is whether the gentlemen and ladies in the government in The Hague have learnt anything. How great is the risk that we will once again have to pay the bill for the 'grab what you can' bosses? Why is it for the most part the shareholders and big corporations returning to prosperity while most people are scarcely noticing the recovery? What craters has the massive attack on our society left behind it?
We will be answering these questions in the near future. And of course we won't stop at that. It's also time for a new approach, one in which it isn't the interests of the richest 10% which take centre stage, but one where the 90% get to have their say – a new course in which we will see that the sacrosanct faith in raw capitalism serves only the interests of the few.
Lilian Marijnissen is leader of the SP.