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  • Save the Financial Post from Harper's

    Save Capitalism from Harper's
    November 06, 2008 (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

    As Barack Obama climbs that steep learning curve on the economy, let's hope aides of shielded him from the latest issue of Harper's. A series of articles on "How to Save Capitalism" in the latest edition of the magazine invites as much skepticism as would, say, a series on "How to Save Communism" in The Wall Street Journal. Still, at least it amounts to some kind of acknowledgment that capitalism is here to stay, even if Harper's ideas of salvation would be toxic.

    The reflexive liberal reaction to the current financial crisis has been to recommend lots of new regulations without considering either whether these regulations are now necessary, or bothering to reflect on why regulatory regimes have failed so conspicuously in the past.

    In its introduction, the magazine displays its misapprehension of the issue at hand by suggesting that "capitalists" have done a bad job of meeting their "responsibility" to save capitalism. However, as my colleague Terence Corcoran noted on this page earlier this week, capitalists are often the very last people who should be relied upon to defend capitalism. Neither is it the job of "eminent financiers" to "protect us from economic shocks." Meanwhile the "masters of our economy" identified by the magazine are not capitalists but politicians and bureaucrats, thus what has arguably been undermined is not the case for capitalism, but the case for "economic security."

    Such a way of thinking, however, is beyond most of Harper's contributors, with the sole exception of Eric Janszen, a businessman, who identifies the key role of the government in promoting bubbles, and is the single correspondent who even acknowledges the existence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mr. Janszen wants to end subsidies to industrial dinosaurs such as the auto sector, and recommends the greater use of public-private partnerships! How did this guy get in here? more...

    AntiSpin: The time for the niche we have carved out for ten years as non-fundamentalist libertarians has at last arrived.

    America lacks the style and refinement of a European country and the wisdom of an Asian nation with centuries of continuous cultural development, but we used to at least be practical. That was our charm. We need to stop pretending to be bankers and rentiers and get back to being who we are, a nation of inventors and business people.

    It's time for us to get back to our knitting. Read "Re-Industrialize" to learn more.
    Last edited by BDAdmin; 08-15-09, 07:33 PM.
    Ed.

  • #2
    Re: Save Capitalism from Harper's

    We need to stop pretending to be bankers and rentiers and get back to being who we are, a nation of inventors and business people.
    Uhhhh Fred, you want to take a stab at expanding or clarifying this?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Save Capitalism from Harper's

      I think Adam Smith called England as "a nation of shopkeepers" -- however it should be remembered that shopkeepers are merely middlemen, and do not produce anything -- they may provide a valuabel service, but that is all it is!

      The Wealth of Nations (1776) by Adam Smith, who wrote:

      "To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Save Capitalism from Harper's

        Originally posted by FRED View Post
        Save Capitalism from Harper's
        November 06, 2008 (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

        As Barack Obama climbs that steep learning curve on the economy, let's hope aides of shielded him from the latest issue of Harper's. A series of articles on "How to Save Capitalism" in the latest edition of the magazine invites as much skepticism as would, say, a series on "How to Save Communism" in The Wall Street Journal. Still, at least it amounts to some kind of acknowledgment that capitalism is here to stay, even if Harper's ideas of salvation would be toxic.

        The reflexive liberal reaction to the current financial crisis has been to recommend lots of new regulations without considering either whether these regulations are now necessary, or bothering to reflect on why regulatory regimes have failed so conspicuously in the past.

        In its introduction, the magazine displays its misapprehension of the issue at hand by suggesting that "capitalists" have done a bad job of meeting their "responsibility" to save capitalism. However, as my colleague Terence Corcoran noted on this page earlier this week, capitalists are often the very last people who should be relied upon to defend capitalism. Neither is it the job of "eminent financiers" to "protect us from economic shocks." Meanwhile the "masters of our economy" identified by the magazine are not capitalists but politicians and bureaucrats, thus what has arguably been undermined is not the case for capitalism, but the case for "economic security."

        Such a way of thinking, however, is beyond most of Harper's contributors, with the sole exception of Eric Janszen, a businessman, who identifies the key role of the government in promoting bubbles, and is the single correspondent who even acknowledges the existence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mr. Janszen wants to end subsidies to industrial dinosaurs such as the auto sector, and recommends the greater use of public-private partnerships! How did this guy get in here? more...

        AntiSpin: The time for the niche we have carved out for ten years as non-fundamentalist libertarians has at last arrived.

        America lacks the style and refinement of a European country and the wisdom of an Asian nation with centuries of continuous cultural development, but we used to at least be practical. That was our charm. We need to stop pretending to be bankers and rentiers and get back to being who we are, a nation of inventors and business people.
        Bored with reading Barrons and the WSJ? So desperate you've lowered yourself to reading stuff from that northern NAFTA neighbour?...

        I still think iTulip should try to arrange the interview EJ referenced in this post.

        Foster, as usual, is a rather lonely voice in our cosy little socialist haven up here. No surprise our idiot national government fell for the same "green energy" ethanol nonsense that's being promoted in the USA.
        "...Young JKG, again falling close to the tree, suggests that what is needed is a grand sense of "national purpose" built around energy and climate change. "Imagine," he writes, "a Federal Department of Energy and Climate with real independence. It could make an honest evaluation of ethanol."

        If only. But the absence of an honest evaluation of ethanol by government subsidizers surely indicates just one of the reasons why we should be eternally skeptical about wise and beneficent government..."

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Save Capitalism from Harper's

          fire econ is the ultimate gov't program. we'll be paying it off for a generation.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Save Capitalism from Harper's

            A 11 trillion in debt divided by a 50 billion surplus, which is a wet dream right now, comes out to 220 years, or ten generations!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Save the Financial Post from Harper's

              ...assuming we actually pay for it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Save the Financial Post from Harper's

                Originally posted by sn1p3r View Post
                ...assuming we actually pay for it.
                of course we'll pay 'em back!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Save the Financial Post from Harper's

                  I remember reading EJ's piece on the next bubble six or eight months ago and, as a Harper's subscriber, I was a bit disappointed and thought, "Gee, is Harper's losing its edge? This guy's a capitalist!."

                  I let my subscription expire in time, but eventually found my way back here and re-subscribed.

                  Comment

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