Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Save Capitalism? Well, that depends…

...That depends on the kind of capitalism. Some kinds aren't worth saving.

Not the kind that, as a result of the current financial crises, is inflicting more than $2,000,000,000,000 in total losses on the United States and the world.

Not the kind that values the manipulation of money over the production of goods and services.

Not the kind that treats labor as a commodity, a thing like shipload of coal or garbage.

Not the kind that furiously opposes legislation such as the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, which would help give workers and their organizations a right now enjoyed by business people and their organizations.

Not the kind that uses free trade and investment agreements to grant global rights and privileges to business and business organizations without any commensurate responsibilities.

Not the kind that uses its money and muscle to acquire and exploit vast tracts of land in distant lands no matter the harm done to indigenous peoples.

Not the kind that generates unprecedented luxuries for the few while millions and millions live in misery.

“Greed Is Good (to a point)” is the title of an essay by Fareed Zakaria in the current Newsweek. That’s catchy but grossly misleading. It’s like writing an essay on teen-age pregnancy and titling it “Lust Is Good (to a point).”

But Zakaria wisely recognizes that “the fundamental crisis we face is of globalization itself.” He goes on to explain:

“Technology has created worldwide supply chains, companies, and customers. But our politics [i.e., policymaking] remains resolutely national. The tension is at the heart of the many crashes of this era – a mismatch between interconnected economies that are producing global problems but no matching political process that can effect global solutions.”

For the ful text of Zakaria’s essay, see News Week on line at

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