Progressive Governance Conference

Chile ’09

PGC blog – Beyond old recipes, by Rene Cuperus and Frans Becker

Posted by progressivegovernance09 on March 27, 2009

At the seashore of the Pacific, in Chilean Viña del Mar, progressives from all over the world have gathered to discuss the financial and economic crisis. New words are coming back to the modernizers’ discourse, like ´egalitarian capitalism’, `state regulation’, the `failure of markets’.


Is the financial crisis the golden opportunity for center-left politics to become the driving and dominant political force – as our political fathers and grandmothers were in the post-war golden years of social-democracy?


The opening session of the Progressive Governance Conference in Chile today both created hope and left a shadow of doubt. It won’t come to us naturally, that’s for sure. Only if we find the right answers and policies, exert trustworthy leadership, and find the way back to politics, we’ll have a good chance of succeeding. But we have to be aware of the threat of a populist backlash.


We have to go beyond old recipes, as Carolina Tohá said. But how trustworthy are the social-democrats in Europe? Don’t stand the old recipes in the way, as Frans Timmermans suggested. Shouldn’t the center-left also look at its own mistakes, as Loukas Tsoukalis framed the question?


Yes, we are at the end of an era, of an episode of capitalism. Structural reforms will be needed, as Robert Reich pointed. This conference will have to address old kitchen failures as well as the new recipes for the center-left. Later this day , we’ll report about it.


Frans Becker and René Cuperus, Wiardi Beckman Foundation, Amsterdam

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