Monday, November 9, 2009

Is Capitalism Working?

Dissatisfaction with capitalism is widespread around the globe 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall that heralded the demise of European communism, a poll released Monday showed.

Only 11 percent of people surveyed across 27 countries thought free market capitalism is working well, while nearly a quarter -- 23 percent -- said the system is "fatally flawed." A bare majority, 51 percent, believed its problems can be solved with more regulation and reform, the poll said.

I think I fall in with the 51 percent thinking that regulation and reform can solve capitalism's woes. But that has to also come with enforcement -- all the regulation in the world would not help if it cannot be enforced!



Capitalism doesn't need saving, We The People need saving.


An interesting statement was uttered yesterday on NPR(I didn't catch the name of the utterer, but it was on the Diane Rheim show)and it went kinda like this(I paraphrase)...

There has never been a financial crisis in this country which has been averted by a regulatory agency. Regulations come after the damage has been done, not before.

Now I am on record as stating we actually need a certain amount of regulation of financial markets and that the instrument of regulation should be the federal government in most cases. But think about that statement. In our society we relish and generally approve of innovation. This innovation happens in all of our economy's segments. We find new and better(in most cases, experimentation is always necessary)ways to do things.

The problem, as I see it, is we have a government which, though not opposed to innovation, is slow to adopt it and is sometimes down-right digging their heels in the dirt until we have certainty it is the right way to go. My question is, "Is this the best way to regulate?". With the barest amount(we just have way too many laws, folks) of well thought out and tested regulations and people with gonads(Yeah you, Mr Greenspan!), willing to take the "punchbowl" away when it is needed(the real reason we have tough times now) and not when the political time is right, we can have a market economy which will help most of the people get what they really need and want most of the time. It will never be perfect and some will always need help, but this is the best system yet devised my man.

Lots of people were saying right after Obama was elected that things were going to be different. Obama's mantra was change. But I don't know how many times I have heard(and witnessed)lately that Obama is just taking the same path as his predecessor. We don't really have the transparency we were promised, we don't have the chipping away of the Patriot Act, we may not be torturing now, but aren't the detainees at Gitmo still being tortured(really, if you think about it), we still have the inertia of the Bush bailout in full bloom, the unsustainable spending started with the Republicans has not abated(how many vetos has Obama penned?) and our adventurous footprint on the world is still with us. Maybe Obama would have been more accurate if he had told us when campaigning he would institute incremental change. I guess I shouldn't be complaining, but there is no doubt in my mind the changes we need to make aren't small tinkerings, we need to get back to an earlier chapter, our defining chapter, and that ain't no small task.

Long live the individual! That is our salvation.