Doug Henwood interview by Christian Parenti

Henwood is an economist / author who regularly gets quoted on economic matters in Alan Ableson’s column in Barron’s and also runs the hard left LBO-Talk listserv.

Excerpts from the interview in The Brooklyn Rail.

Henwood: I didn’t expect a massive transformation from Obama. I knew he had a lot of support in Wall Street and is not the kind of guy to rock the boat. He’s not going to expropriate the expropriators. But, with Wall Street in such disgrace, people around the world and across the political spectrum think that Wall Street and its allies in other countries had a lot to do with wrecking the economy. Obama could have moved aggressively to re-regulate and create a more stable, public-spirited financial sector… So the bankers walked all over Obama. I didn’t expect much, but I did expect a little more.

Rail: Why do you think the bankers won?

Henwood: There are two parts to that. The longer term structural issue is that Wall Street, the financial system, is basically a mechanism for the creation and exercise of ruling class power. It is the heart of the capitalist economic and social system. So taking on Wall Street is very, very complicated.

Rail: What is your take on the role of the green economy, or green technology, green investment, a re-tooling of capitalism within the possibilities and parameters of American and global capitalism?

Henwood: If we don’t have some sort of new leading sector, we have a long period of a very stagnant and troubled economy ahead of us. And I think there’s very good reason to believe that some sort of green technology could do that. It could preserve life on earth, presuming that we want to do that, but it could also generate a long term economic boom that would transform daily life and create whole new dynamic economic sectors, dynamic technologies that would lead to long-term growth in incomes and employment. Without that, I don’t see what’s going to do that, and it’s going to take a dynamic public sector to encourage that.