Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Thursday, September 18, 2008

end of capitalism

after a thought provoking 'socialism redux' post, my further research (aka google search) shows that many thinkers on the blogosphere have espoused similar thoughts.

here are some samples (these are not examples of great economic writing, but just some samples)
American Capitalism has been offered as a solution around the world since the 1960s, but hasn’t gained much traction for one simple reason – it doesn’t work. It does not offer any solution for those market failures that arise on a regular basis. It certainly offers no hope for the largest market failure facing humanity today – that of Climate Change. We now see, through the nationalisation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, an admission from the US Federal government that American Capitalism does not work. We ought not to celebrate too much just yet. The Keynesians came to the rescue in the 1930s and 1940s, but there is no parallel school of thought today. Perhaps necessity will generate it? Perhaps it is time for China, or India, to take the intellectual lead? full article here
the above view is about the failure of the capitalistic theory. which is certainly plausible, but i am not fully bought in.
the below view is about the failure of the practioners of capitalistic theory. this i have some sympathy for.
The recent request by US Treasury Secretary—and more importantly former Chairman and CEO of investment bank Goldman Sachs— Henry Paulson to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac with US taxpayer dollars is but another indication of this destructive and parasitic relationship between bankers, government and the economy.

That a private banker from a large Wall Street investment bank is also Secretary of the US Treasury is no coincidence. It is also no coincidence that once again, public monies from the US Treasury are being used to rescue private bankers and to indemnify their losses.

Receiving taxpayer dollars from the US Treasury for their private benefit is not new to Goldman Sachs. In 1990s, when the Mexican government defaulted on its bonds, investors at Goldman Sachs' stood to lose billions of dollars. They didn't.

Buried deep in the subsequent $40 billion US bailout of Mexico was a $4 billion payment to Goldman Sachs, gratis of the US Treasury indemnifying Goldman Sachs against any losses on their investment in Mexican bonds.

The fact that current US Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson also recently used US funds to underwrite JP Morgan Chase's private buyout of investment bank Bear Stearns and is now proposing to do the same with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is to be expected. For investment bankers, using public money to privately profit is business as usual. full article is here.

the times of india seems to have followed the lead.
they have a lead story on 'USA to USSR' and the 'end of capitalism'.


Ludwig said...

Which is all fine, but it is not clear how a non-capitalist system with entities the size and influence of Fanie Mae/AIG whatever will behave any differently.

Or is the answer that the system should be such that

(i) it never lets influence/money/whatever concentrate in the hands of the few big financial institutions (state owned or otherwise)

(ii) it should keep its financial institutions isolated from each other and the world at large, so that fires don't spread.

Am no economist, but wondering what the consequences of that are and what life in such a world would be. Like 1985?

Vanessa said...

My knowledge of economy is limited to monthly expenses- groceries, bills, insurance...and of course the dollar-rupee conversion rate. :)
Economy is now the hot topic for presidential candidates, needless to say. And to quote Barack Obama - "This is not 9/11. We know exactly how we got into this mess!"

csm said...

l - (i) is interesting while (ii) looks unrealistic.
i personally do not have any problem with a capitalistic approach as long as there are brakes on greed.
in most cases. the market is a superb mechanism to 'correct the wrongs'.
i think one of the underlying causes of the sub-prime related crisis is the rampant greed which led to such a high level of cronyism within the financial system, which even befuddled the market.

what is wrong with the 1985 or even 1945 as long we are assured of our daily dose of broadband chai and internet biscuit :-)

v - this is of course not enough, as you will need to understand a little bit more in depth as your money is certainly somewhere out there and may be in trouble!
suggest an advanced course in "retro-applicated heuristics in derivated juriprudence" from the university of venkatanarasimharajuvaripetta.

Vanessa said...

I would love to do this course. Do they have a branch in San Francisco Bay Area?

Ludwig said...

> what is wrong with the 1985

Absolutely nothing :P Life was good!

csm said...

hey l - you are closest to U of V, plis to check their correspondence courses/distance learning for vanessa.

v - l is checking.