Capitalism Under Attack
In 2009, Minyans must defend against free market's many detractors.
Housing bubbles and bear markets. Foreclosures and evictions. Recession and layoffs. Soaring energy and food prices. Bernard Madoff. Events of 2008 have conspired to expose the darker side of the greatest economic system in world history.
We can easily trace the sources of these disasters to excess, ineptitude and self-dealing, but that's no relief to the innocent who suffer the consequences of generally poor policy decisions. All economic systems have darker sides. The better systems like capitalism have brighter sides that usually absorb the darker consequences. But, man, those darker sides - even capitalism's staunchest cheerleaders acknowledge them.
And now, more than ever, capitalism's staunchest cheerleaders must reinforce an understanding of those brighter sides. Like a slot machine, occasionally the economy's wheels turn such that they all come up lemons. This is one of those times. But unlike a slot machine, capitalism pays out much better over time.
With faith in capitalism shaken, its detractors are seizing the opportunity to manipulate the system. Some are well-intentioned and seek intervention out of concern for the innocent. Others are motivated to shore up their own power - or to preserve their own decaying industry.
The economic slowdown and stock market drop is shedding light on uncompetitive industries, bad business practices and scams. That's the place where capitalistic forces would normally abandon these useless entities and not rehire their incompetent managers. The affected innocents would be assisted by private agencies - and by public agencies that were formed with private citizens' consent.
But not as 2009 comes into view. Instead, politicians opposed to bailouts are being ignored by government agencies on track to spend trillions keeping alive what nature would have already killed.
Minyans know better. We know that capitalism isn't the problem today. No, the problem is impatience with the natural course of events.
It's incumbent on market experts who possess an historical expertise to share it - and shout it if need be. Mainstream media, with its wider audience, has a proven expertise in sound bites. It's therefore our responsibility as Minyans to direct efforts at drowning out these often inaccurate oversimplifications with cold hard facts.
Throughout 2009, I pledge to file a defense of capitalism whenever it's exposed to fresh attack. Admittedly, I'm no more qualified than any other to carry the torch (and capitalism is too vast for any single person to reach out as widely as the system itself), so I hope that others will join me -- here on Minyanville and elsewhere -- in conversations.
Defend against the intellectual dishonesty that would suggest one rogue trader, or a single bad business practice, is proof of a rotten system. Call out the proposals and solutions that threaten to dilute free market forces - free market forces we know are best equipped to cure our economic ills.
I'll follow this bipartisan call to arms with thoughts on why so many daily participants in the capitalistic system are so unable to defend it - and how to help change that.
Minyans know better, and 2009 is the time to prove it.
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