Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is Capitalism Really Dead?

A little over a week ago, the Washington Post wrote an article called "The End of American Capitalism?" The substance of the article is encompassed within the title. Yet a couple days ago the Post was willing to challenge the ideas it had earlier posted and included a new editorial "Is Capitalism Dead?", which points out many of the non-capitalist elements of the system that led to the current financial crisis.

The beginning of the editorial provides a concise summary:
The deregulation of U.S. financial markets did not reflect only the narrow ideology of a particular party or administration. And the problem with the U.S. economy, more than lack of regulation, has been government's failure to control systemic risks that government itself helped to create. We are not witnessing a crisis of the free market but a crisis of distorted markets.
Other nice parts include a comparison of the U.S. system to Canada:
Contrast U.S. experience with that of Canada, where there is no mortgage interest deduction and the law requires insurance on any mortgage over 80 percent of a home's purchase price. Delinquency rates at Canada's seven largest banks are near historic lows.
And a solid ending:
Government-sponsored, upside-only capitalism is the kind that's in crisis today, and we say: Good riddance.

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