PRIME's Summer Quiz: whose speech, and were they right?

By Jeremy Smith

Summer time and the livin' is easy, consumers are jumpin', and the FTSE is high...

OK, folks, it's time for our summertime quiz while you've nothin' better to do these long hot nights. Here we go.

From which major public figure's speech is the following extract taken, and when and in what circumstances was the speech made? (Clue: within the last 2 years). Answers please to info@primeeconomics.org .

The first prize goes to the person who gets the answer right and gives us the best short critique of the speech. The prize is (drumroll) that we publish your critique.

"The truth is that the crisis is not at an end and that there can be no political project that does not start out from a diagnosis of the crisis and its sheer scale. To deny the crisis is to close off every prospect for the future.

The so-called sovereign debt crisis, of which Europe is bearing the full brunt, is a continuation of the same crisis. It is the crisis of private-sector debt that has spilled over into a crisis of public debt. It is the same crisis, one that, having hit the banks, is now hitting states.

That crisis is hitting every major developed country, whether they have been governed by left-wing or right-wing majorities, and whatever their policies have been in recent decades.

We need to look for the common causes that have led the world into the situation in which it finds itself today.

It is in the institution, beginning in the late 1970s, of a form of globalization that knows no rules, other than those guaranteeing freedom of trade, that we can find the source of our current difficulties.

In the late 1970s, rather like a returning pendulum swing, the ideology of laissez-faire triumphed to the point that the world forgot every lesson it had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s. Financial globalization became embedded as a way of artificially compensating for the ravages caused in the developed countries by a globalization without rules.

It was necessary to enable the surpluses of some to finance the deficits of others.

It was necessary to enable increased debt to offset the unacceptable decline in the living standards of households in the developed countries.

It was necessary to fund a social model that was straining under the burden of its deficits.

It was inevitable to ensure that financial capital could seek elsewhere the profits it could no longer hope to obtain in the developed countries.

And thus there came into being a gigantic debt production machine.

The developed countries thus sought salvation down the only road left to them: flight into ever greater debt....

The extravagant growth in the financial sector that spread quite incredible amounts of debt had as a consequence the financialization of the economy. It placed the economy under the exclusive domination of an approach geared to speculation and obsession with the short term. We have now seen the dramatic consequences for industry, for the environment, for inequality and for the decline in the value of work.

Once the flight into greater debt becomes impossible because the lenders no longer want to lend, because the enormous pyramid of debt, hitherto hidden by the complexity and the sophistication of global finance, becomes apparent to all as an enormous risk, a new economic cycle can begin.

The new cycle will be very different from the one that preceded it. The cycle that is now at hand will be a cycle of debt reduction that will make the economic pendulum swing back towards work and production, which the developed countries had tended to sacrifice excessively."

 The Grand Jury = PRIME's Jeremy Smith, Ann Pettifor, Anne Henow. There could be more than one winner (or none, in which case there will be a rollover..)