What about tomorrow?

This week's editorial looks at changes needed in big government.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper could probably use some good news about now. We’ll remind him that the ongoing Senate expense scandal has at least knocked that whole business of spying on the Brazilian mining industry off the top of the Canadian news cycle.

Hey, at least he’s not Barack Obama, who has some ‘splaining to do to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and, oh, 30-odd other “allies” about why his country’s security agency is tapped into their communications.

Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is out flogging a new book, in which he admits to a flaw in the deregulated “free market” ideology he promoted for the better part of three decades. Namely, that the West’s capitalists would always act in their long-term best interest, and that “irrational” or “emotional” behaviour would be harmlessly subsumed long before it could upset the steady-as-she-goes apple cart.

Now, though, Greenspan cites the role “animal spirit” played in driving the global economy over a cliff in 2008-09. To illustrate, he describes investors as a “herd” inclined to follow when others of their group establish a trading pattern. That term, however, sounds rather pastoral for behaviour more suited to a feral pack of dogs.

It seems many captains of finance and elected officials, who more and more seem to consist of the same members, share that predatory drive.

In the same way bankers have tossed the long-term health of the economy — and the planet — under the bus in favour of short-term profit, so do our leaders seem focussed more on their immediate short-term hold on power over any good they might do for their citizens over the long term.

In a democracy, the people would have the power to change this.