An interesting article by the always enlightening Robert Samuelson laying out the broader economic picture.
The problems we have are not failures of capitalism, they are failure of overburdened capitalism. Free market economies are invariably rational and highly productive. But if you burden the productive elements of these economies to the extent the western welfare democracies have, what do you expect to happen? The name of the game is productivity, and when the end product is siphoned off, all kinds are artificial negative incentives are introduced. As a result, markets are no longer rational and productivity suffers.
We do have a crisis, but the economic component is just a symptom. We have a political crisis in that we have leaders who either prefer another system or don't understand the system. We have an ignorance crisis in that the populace has been led to believe property rights are fungible and "human rights" include food, housing, transportation, entertainment and pocket money.
When property rights, the most basic of legitimate human rights, are not protected, we have a free for all. A Texas Cage Match where anything goes and the referee is as corrupt as everyone else. If everybody owns it, nobody owns it. This kind of system in unsustainable (thank God!).
This crisis we're in was inevitable, and necessary. If we're lucky, maybe, just maybe the American people will wake up and realize we're at a crossroads. Otherwise Obama may just get that "fundamental transformation" he wants.
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