Made In The U.S.A.

A Capitalist Manifesto: Greed Is Good

In Adventures on October 12, 2009 at 12:06 am

I toted this Newsweek around for six weeks, knowing I’d desperately want to blog about it. So let me try to get out of my own, and its, way with a brief list of points.

– You should see it in print. The illustrations by Mark Wagner are gorgeous. (Magazines are still way cooler than screens.)

– Fareed Zakaria is a really smart guy. He’s writing about the economy as a whole, and the collapse/recession/depression/bubble, but I think it pertains to MITUSA. And he really is smart.

“The simple truth is that with all its flaws, capitalism remains the most productive economic engine we have yet invented. Like Churchill’s line about democracy, it is the worst of all economic systems, except for the others. Its chief vindication today has come halfway across the world, in countries like China and India, which have been able to grow and pull hundreds of millions of people out of poverty by supporting markets and free trade. Last month India held elections during the worst of this crisis. Its powerful left-wing parties campaigned against liberalization and got their worst drubbing at the polls in 40 years.”

– See? Sharp dude.

“More broadly, the fundamental crisis we face is of globalization itself. We have globalized the economies of nations. Trade, travel and tourism are bringing people together. Technology has created worldwide supply chains, companies and customers. But our politics remains resolutely national. This 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. Without better international coordination, there will be more crashes, and eventually there may be a retreat from globalization toward the safety—and slow growth—of protected national economies.”

“We are in the midst of a vast crisis, and there is enough blame to go around and many fixes to make, from the international system to national governments to private firms. But at heart, there needs to be a deeper fix within all of us, a simple gut check. If it doesn’t feel right, we shouldn’t be doing it. That’s not going to restore growth or mend globalization or save capitalism, but it might be a small start to sanity.”

– I should point out that I once photographed a huge convention at which Zakaria was the keynote speaker. Based on the salary-sized $xx,xxx paycheck I was told he received for that hour-long speech, I should say it comes as no surprise that he’s a fan of capitalism. (The first x in that number ain’t nearly as low as you’d think. But now I’m just being catty. More power to him.) But seriously, he’s a smart guy with a good point. If it doesn’t feel right, we shouldn’t be doing it. That can apply to a helluva lot of things.

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