In the early 30 Europe - and the world - went through a financial and economic crisis of immeasurable dimensions.
What had begun in New York, an innocent Tuesday of October 1929, had spread rapidly in industrialized economies and tearing political systems in their way, causing mass unemployment, hyper-inflation (in some countries) and intense social and political upheaval.
It was understood that the basis of the capitalist system was behind this crisis, and people sought solutions to two new types of political regime, emerging in the 20’s: communism and fascism, especially the latter. The attraction of Fascism happened - also – because of its ability to respond to the crisis and, while providing a formula for stable government, of authoritarian character, to guarantee a degree of social peace (this in a time when many democratic governments were accused of not providing stability in government and where still supporting the capitalist model that had originated the "debacle of '29). This scenario interested many political scientists who were delighted with the division in the Old Continent between liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes.
Of course the big question was which political and ideological model could better resolve the international world crisis, and much of the subsequent discussion involved the definition of the state's role in economics, regulation of financial markets and the scope of the power of governments. It was an intense conflict, initially dominated by the fascist paradigm, and the effective democratic response only came after the election of Roosevelt in 1932, and the application of his "New Deal" (curiously, a program that many accused of being a socialist and statist).
80 years ago the struggle for the end of the crisis had clear ideological beacons. The pillars of the liberal model had been tattered and its hegemony was threatened by an authoritarian set of new proposals. The solution to the solvency of the capitalist model was opening the door to state intervention and a series of public policies inspired by social democrats (in the European sense of the term).
Today we live in a world post-liberal hegemony and we live in a new world crisis created by blind application of a set of neo-liberal policies. It doesn’t help to feel strange, then, that the solutions for our crises are been drawn almost exclusively from the liberal books. Until when? Do we have to see a new fascist threat (already existing in some countries of our Europe) to challenge again the liberal hegemony? Even more when we know that there are proposals of the socialist family ready to be put into practice, as a better and more effective regulation of international financial markets.
We know that 2010 is far from 1930, but we seem to have learned little from history. We need more policies of progressive inspiration to get out of the crisis, not obsessions with fighting the 'deficit' and liberal austerity plans.