Tuesday, 23 December 2008

MONSTRA MIHI PECUNIAM


I'm taking a very short break from my Christmas glee to share with you a very eloquent article by Arianne Huffington on the origins of the current economic crisis and the state of global capitalism, where she explains why the so-called free market economy can't possibly heal itself. A quick quote:
"Wall Street got drunk," he says (G.W. Bush). Maybe so, but who made the last 8 years Happy Hour, and kept serving up the drinks?"

Well said indeed! It is a strange thing to watch conservatives all over the world defend a system that has clearly failed. Communism didn't work because people need incentive to push themselves, because completely leveling the playing field apparently robs people of their ambitions. But to make the whole game about that proverbial carrot on a stick is equally ludicrous. First of all, a completely free market does not exist. All governing bodies try to influence economic relations to some extent by taxing or subsidizing trade to their own benefit, thereby falsifying competition.

But secondly and more importantly, the whole theoretic construction behind free market capitalism is flawed. Huge profits can only be made based on exploitation. Big companies rely on corrupt governments to sell them their natural resources for peanuts, ensuring enormous turnovers and at the same time strengthening regimes that have to rely on mililtary force to remain in power. The current crisis may not be a direct result of these specific actions (because those victims live in countries that no-one gives a shit about anyway), but it's that same greed and focus on profit above all else that made our bankers take the risks that got us into this mess.

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