This Week’s Mtg: Future of Capitalism & Socialism (4/29/10)

I’ll limit my opening to 15 minutes on TH so that we can have a full discussion.  See my two earlier posts for links.  [update:  Also, try this expert who says broken political systems all over the world –not just here — are our biggest challenge.] 

In my remarks I will try to get across a few key ideas.

  1. Both socialism and capitalism are inherently political systems, because, like all  social systems, they are run by human beings.  Neither is just about how to organize the means of production.  Both are fundamentally about who exercises power over others through markets and politics and what limits should be placed on their power.  Politics and economics really are like space-time: different sides of the same coin.  Think “political economy.”
  2. This is good news.  If our economy and our markets are above us then we are helpless to shape the future.  But, since they’re not, we can.  We just have to be really careful (and humble) because government power can be even more dangerous than unaccountable corporate power.
  3. The world already has several different economic/political models that have worked pretty well, at least for awhile and for most of the people who live under them.  There is a U.S. model, a Scandinavian one, the EU, the mercantilist “Asian” model (Korea, Taiwan, Japan), and, of course, a new and kind of frightening hybrid and undemocratic Chinese model.  There doesn’t necessarily have to be any convergence towards one way of doing things. 
  4. The core of our debate is probably less about who will own big parts of the economy outright than it will be about the who gets to bear the risks: those who take them vs. those they can offload the risks onto.  Health care reform socializes more of individuals’ financial risks of getting sick; the Wall street bailouts socialized the risk of private companies’ failures.  Which is best/dumbest?  Let’s discuss it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: