The debate that gave us the cold war was basically this: What works best – a liberal free market world (capitalist) or a controlled economy of shared good (communist)? Well, it was that and the ancillary question of who will nuke who first, but that is a minor detail.
A comment by the blogger formerly known as Xifer on a previous post got me wondering as to whether the debate is really dead and buried or whether the wishy washy commies (excuse the very politically incorrect words but this blog is posting in break mode) are hanging around like some latter day Fausto’s hoping to be able to jump out from behind the bush and point their fingers shouting “You see you were wrong too”.
At who exactly the finger pointing will be aimed is quite a mystery to me. Maybe at some CEO’s of the big fat companies who according to some red conspiracy theories really run the world while leaders of nations just run around at their request. The issue really comes up right now because of the current Credit Crunch, Financial Failure or Problematic Predicament that we are in. It is not just Mark asking the questions about capitalism to be fair… it’s many many people who are tempted to say that someone somewhere has been proven right and that capitalism (like communism) is for losers.
Christine Lagarde, a woman I am fast falling in love with, has obviously given thought to this question and has stated without reservations that the present crisis is not a manifestation of the fact that capitalism does not work but rather proves that when someone (or many ones) flaunt the basic rules of capitalism and the free market then the system is bound to have some problems. When that someone is overspeculative banks and investment companies and insurance companies gambling with the investors money then it is not capitalism that is not working, it is not the financial market that is not working… it’s the economists, stupid.
Of course we now know that the same argument applies to the supposed Failure of Communism. It is not communism as Marx did not conceive it that does not work but rather Castro’s, Chavez’s and Kim-Il Sung’s that doesn’t. The Chinese seem to have understood that and have set about on a Policy for Gradual Change and Adaptation to the Principles of the Liberal Market without releasing too much Control over Information and without being too Nice to People (read Human Rights).
All this to say that the present crisis will not solve the question of communism vs capitalism. Reading between the lines however – and suggesting ways to ensure that capitalism does not choke by becoming too greedy – can be more helpful. Which is where the greens, and alternative ways of thinking and reasoning about our future can help. Obama has wasted no time and in his address to Senate yesterday as it discussed the Salvation Bill he reminded his colleagues that it is not just about investing money in energy now but also investing in alternative modes of energy for the future.
Liberal free markets yes. Stupid greedy free markets no. Sounds easy no? Now to save the World Economy.
This has been j’accuse… blogging on a break so you don’t have to.