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Capitalism isn’t dead – not even crippled

Posted by Richard D North in Money / Society / The Good Corporation on 28 October 2008

Why we posted this: The extraordinary hiatus in the world economy may well produce a mid-Atlantic capitalism. Not as European as the European mainland would like and not as gungho as Wall Street has been promoting.

The original stories:
Statism and laisser faire: the new transatlantic trade
by John Thornhill
The Financial Times
25/26 October 2008

Summary of the stories:
Mr Thornhill argues rather elegantly that sensible Europeans don’t really believe some of their own anti-capitalist rhetoric. Their economies still mostly need to become more lean and competitive. More capitalistic, in short. That’s how they’ll weather the storm. But the US will find itself developing regulations which look quite European.

In short, he says, “Both sides can learn some sanity from each other.”

livingissues comment:
The important point here is that capitalism is far from dead, and the state’s not suddenly going to run, make and provide everything. Right now, over-regulation is almost as much a danger as the mis-regulation which got us to this point. But the state will get more involved, because it can’t afford to let capitalists fail too often.

Indeed, this episode will remind us that capitalism is deeply fallible, amoral, unruly, and as prone to panic as it is to exuberance. It is also sociable, a product of freedom, vigorous, creative. But not cosy – never that. It is also various. It differs from place to place, according to custom and practice. Even within countries, it has many faces. It can harbour institutions which are quite boring and pretty safe, and others which are hair-raisingly unstable. All this will become more obvious as time goes by.


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