Good Riddance to Free Markets

Will the current financial crisis discredit free-market policies in your country? Is socialism an echo of the past or a preview of the future?

Posted by Fareed Zakaria & David Ignatius on September 23, 2008 11:24 AM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (62)

moonpenn Author Profile Page :

"preview of the future"
The Post numbers looked good today. The market numbers looked bad and could be looking a lot worse in the future. The danger of an unstable market is that it takes performers down with nonperformers. With the risk of the crash, the safe place to be is private. It has always been safer and it looks like things are going to get real rough real soon. Buy low and play for keeps. This is a wealth destroying public market. Stay safe or get help.

marchino Author Profile Page :

There are several stark and difficult-to-solve problems with America's ability to drive prosperity and remain capitalistic. Although they can be remedied, inherent and problematic changes to our country that have exacerbated the economic and financial crisis, frankly, are not going to be resolved in the immediate future.

First: America is becoming a country that no longer manufactures goods. This is evidenced by the huge quantity of imported Chinese goods in our ports and stores and our trade deficit. Free market principles only work for a country if they compete in the manufacturing environment. We are a country of consumers, and as such, consumption without manufacturing in a manufacturing-driven world economy will eventually cause a country to collapse.

Second: Our reliance on energy sources from abroad is contributing to our deficits and spending in one area or sector--transportation and logistics costs are eating away our assets and wealth. We must reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy to remain a bastion of capitalism.

Third: We are becoming a society that allows government to control our destiny, politically, financially, culturally and socially. Government is becoming a central focus of our existence. We have lost the "grass roots" mentality of our founders, and our founders relied much less on government to sustain them and their posterity.

Fourth: Because of government's increasing influence in our lives, we allow the politician to legislate our lives more than ever, and to spend and overspend our incomes.

Fifth: The wealth of America has been stratified and the distribution of wealth is no longer distributed evenly throughout the social classes. The wealthy are wealthier than ever, and hold the lion's share of the wealth. Although there is a middle class, because of the disappearance of buying power (the historic artificial inflation of real estate and housing, and rising fuel and energy costs) the middle class has degraded into the poor, and the lower middle class are now poor, and quality of life has dwindled and are sustained and subsidized with government subsidies.

Sixth: The average American wage earner now spends nearly one-half of his/her wages paying taxes to the Federal, State and Local franchises. That certainly classifies America as a blend of socialism and capitalism economically, albeit we remain democratic politically.

Seven: On November 12, 1999, Bill Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that allowed commercial banks to offer investments and securities, and investment banks to make loans, accept deposits and sell insurance and render the protective 1933 law invalid which kept our savings and retirements safe from speculation and risk. Government and politicians ushered in the financial crisis we are seeing this week.

So, the answer to your question is, "Yes," the current financial crisis has already discredited the free-market system in America, and socialism is already present in America.

yeolds Author Profile Page :


Sorry my comment was blocked last night.
The bailout, while still faulty [per senate version], is necessary to buy time.
Probably after Jan 20 there will be new measures enacted, in consultation with experts, and creditors[China, Opec, russia, Japan, Singapore, Norwqay and the EU]

Most but not all above got bitten by the toxis effluence from Wall Street -Uncle Sam needs them to save herself. end of story.

The biggest worry now : systemaqtic bank run {a la Dr Roubini], complete seizure of interbank loans [at present] effect on main street [pensions, jobs, and consumer credit -- cards, student loans, credit cards]. House prices will drop further til they reach the balance between price and sustaainable mortgage paymments - that is income of the working man.

Receession is inevitable in the short term, hopefully not too long [eg year +], Depression is certain if T-bills get dumped by any major holder [see list above]. This excersize of bailout is to prevent the big D

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page :


I appreciate your comment, tamroi. Let me simply repeat what I said in the past: I have nothing to sell. I therefore never meant to market Professor Gray's book, only to reproduce those two informative lines on the man given by the Globe.

In all fairness to the author, though, may I refresh your memory on some of what he wrote under "The Americanization of the Apocalypse" (chapter 4)? After quoting (p. 108) Herman Melville ("We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people -- the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world"), Gray writes (pp. 114 and 118):

"If the American sense of secular mission is not exceptional, neither is the conviction of being a nation chosen by God. The Dutch Afrikaners in South Africa, Protestant communities in Ulster in Northern Ireland and some Zionists have had similar beliefs...

Believing that God revealed his will in a succession of events, or dispensations, Darby (minister of the Church of Ireland 1800-1882) introduced two of the most important ideas of American premillennialism -- the idea of the Rapture, when believers will ascend into the heavens to meet Christ, and the idea that the final battle between Christ and the hosts of Antichrist will occur on the plain of Armageddon in modern Israel. The latter is a belief held by many of those who are now called Christian Zionists -- ardent supporters of Israel who believe its destruction is to be welcomed as a sign of the millennium. Fundamentalists who accepted Darby's prophecies were far from being a marginal group. As Michael Lind ("Made in Texas") has written, "To dismiss these Americans as members of the lunatic fringe was mistaken. They were the political base of the Bush administration and the contemporary, Southernized Republican party.""

I understand apocalyptic religion is, with the death of utopia, one of the two central themes of the book given in its subtitle.

tamroi Author Profile Page :

Regarding Citizenofthepost-Americanworld who says:

"Today, John Gray, emeritus professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and author of "Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia" analyzes, for the Toronto Globe and Mail, "America's Global Fall from Grace", pointing out that "the financial crisis has seen an entire model of government and the economy collapse."

I bought Gray's book with its glowing cover bites in Pearson airport.

It is not very good.
For example it never mentions Israel, Zionism, or the tv-evangelist nuts who believe that supporting Israel supports god coming back and ending it all.

tamroi Author Profile Page :

The answer to both of your questions is Yes of course.

For the past 24 hours "The Trickle-Up Bailout" by Jonathan G.S. Koppell and William N. Goetzmann
and its 200 or so collection of comments
has been an island of intelligence on dealing with the problem in the U.S.

For me its URL is

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

Yeolds! I did get it the first time that you explained the rescue plan. That is why I asked whose money is it and not that what the money is for. Since you agree with MikeB that the sky is falling, using your metaphors, do you believe that the Wall street’s daddy should be spending my money on him? It does not matter if dad is putting my money in the kid's pocket (liquidity) or perhaps is paying his credit card payment (solvency) if eventually the kid will lose his shirt.

If both the $700B and the $1.5+T are coming out of my pocket (no matter how differently they are spent) why his daddy is asking me if he can use the $700B but not about the $1.5T that he is passing to his kid and is there a limit to how much of my money he can pass on to his kid without my permission?

OK this is becoming ridicules! But I thought you might want to help me with the answer.

yeolds Author Profile Page :


up to now the Federal Bank was trying to increase LIQIDIDTY - means availability of money.

Unfortunately the problem is not liquidity, but solvency -- e.g does the bank has positive value on the street or not. The Federal takeover Fed Deposit insurance efforts was either bankrupcy [lehman,Freddie and Fannie ] or evading bankrupcy - where the federal moneys were used to underwrite some or most of losses while another bank "purchased " the failing bank washington Mutual& Wach...

the 700 billion new bail out will address the solvency issue. If the banks do not have level 3 assets [aka toxic financial instruments] then some could be solvent.

In everyday language you have money in the bank - you have liquidity;
you have mortgage, car payment etc of 100 0000 and you own 5000 dollars - and the house is worth 50 000 dollars - effectively you are bankrupt.

if you have time to rearrange your finances your dad assumes the debt, [uncle sam assumes the debt] then you are solvent.
Another way you can be solvent if some one gives you money to cover your debts [and takes interest in the value of your house/ car /pension plan etc] Do you see it now?


a., read my comment on Henry ford -ere you answered. I clearly indicate that wages should make life affordable [not the case now] minimum wage should be around $20 / hour to compensate for inlation in last 20 odd years.

b., I am familiar only with canada's oversupply of educated bums [a.k.a as party going graduates of third class universities etc] they are not worth hiring. University education is not for 30-40 % of age cohort , when you do this then you waste money on one hand and come out with mediocre products [a la Toyota Vs GM/Ford etc]\

I am of the opinion that your "forcast " is lot closer to what is coming then what the politician talks about. It is unfortunate. Were the $ to self-distruct as the world's reserve [fiat ] currency that is the end of decent standard of living for all of USA. I fervently hope that it does not happen.

During the presidential/congressional election cycle in next 5-6 weeks no one will mentioon the problems. That is the reason that there was NO SELL JOB ON THE BAILOUT -CLEAR INDICATION OF THE CAUSES AND PROBABLE RESULTS are far too frightening for the REpublicans. The Democrats can not mentione it, lest they loose the election.

The quarterly profit/income concentration of GOD [aka the MARKET] was the cause of outsourcing. complemented by the nonsese that SERVICE CAN BE THE PRODUCTION IN GDP. The production of financial crooks with the help of high cost lawyers [falsely] indicated the raise in productivity. We see the results.
Compare Germany, they kept their industry and to large extent declined to follow the USA laize faire economic mirage. While they are also suffering now [courtesy of USA SUPPLIED TOXIC WASTE] they are not in the mess as the USA. The Euro might replace the $ as major component of reserve currency [with Russian Ruble and Chinese Japanese currencies [as a basket]

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

“Investors Pulling Billions Out of U.S. Stock Markets” -

This is the first step. Not in the headline is a panicky flight of foreign capital from Treasury notes and government bonds. Early next week the dollar begins it's death spiral. OPEC will be meeting and will switch to the Euro from the dollar. That is going to make this weeks crash look like a minor correction. And, I might note, if Congress votes a bailout package now, it will exacerbate the crash. The mathematical model is quite clear, all of this, every bit of it, is due to "free trade": outsourcing jobs and guest workers, especially all of those Indian and Chinese technology sector jobs and knowledge gone. From now on, we get a series of crashes, followed by delussional stock market recoveries until January, when it all falls apart.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

Thanks for the help Yeolds. I have very little knowledge of macro-economics, so I’ll need your help a little more on this issue.

I understand your description of the market vulnerabilities and the need to save ourselves from a prolonged market decline. What I do not understand is that why basic rules of economy do not apply in this situation. Let me explain: banks are in business to lend money - it is a profitable business so there are many banks and they have been making a lot of money. In last few years some of the banks made bad decisions which caused huge losses and they are going bankrupt because of it. Other banks (B of A for example) acted more rationally and are in the position to benefit now or in near future. After bankruptcy of the damaged banks makes the market open to more competition, more banking institutions will be started by wealthy people because it is a profitable business and banks will loan money because that is what they do. This used to be called healthy market correction.

As you estimated in your post, we in the USA have used 1.5 trillion dollars so far and are using more at an accelerating pace to fight this market correction (or to control? Influence? Save ourselves from? Or, save the wealth of people who run the people that run this country? - I do not know.) At the same time our government is playing with the idea of spending around $700B to take the poison out of the system.

Please help me understand what is the difference between that $1.5 Trillion which is growing rapidly and this $700 billion that government is asking, if this whole thing tanks? Is our government trying to have our blessing to spend this $700 Billion because we will be responsible for it but not responsible for that $1.5 Trillion (and rapidly growing) amount if market goes through needed correction after all? If not and if it is all payable by our money - or the money we do not have - then how can we stop it? Because I think at the end of the day the Wall street might be saved but my family’s long term prosperity will not! But what do I know?!

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :


“It is undeniable that neither Canada nor the US nor UK produce enough highly educated people for the most technically demanding areas”. Nope! There are 1.5 out of work U.S. engineers and computer programs or every position advertised (DOL statistic). Basically, this means we could end the H1-B visa and round up every one of those over here on that and similar visas and there would STILL exist a huge number of talented and unemployed or underemployed U.S. citizens that could fill their jobs.

As for investors demanding ever higher profits, are you so blind that you cannot see what their “demands” have resulted in? Given the economic disaster they have created, at the very least we need to pass a tax on them when they invest in any enterprise that results in the net loss of jobs or the net loss in average salary, and flat out punish them for anything to do with outsourcing or guest workers.

The bailout current being discussed has placed the cart before the horse. Everyone keep blathering about a credit freeze and mortgage crisis. These exist because there aren’t enough people making enough money to pay the bills! We have experienced a drastic decline in disposable income here, completely due to outsourcing and disasters like the H1-B visa! If we ended outsourcing and ended displacing our own workers with foreign workers, if we FORCED companies to be good citizens and hire and retain their U.S. workers, why, then, the entire “meltdown” would pretty quickly fade away until it was not much more than a bad dream.

yeolds Author Profile Page :


I am not a resident of the USA, nor do I have any connection with HB-1 [orwhatever] immigration/work visa issues.

It is undeniable that neither Canada nor the USa nor UK produce enough highly educated people for the most technically demanding areas. All three countries [and some others] debase their moral standing [if it were possible for Bush] by raiding underdeveloped nations for immigrant high value employees at a great cost to the source country [Dr-s NR-s Engeneers etc].
It is also true that many corporations [USA, UK, Canada etc] sublet their dataprocessing, software tech support, etc to underdeveloped nations.

There are two sides to this story: in many fields UK USa Canada etc do not produce enough qulified employyes willing to put up with odorous tech support abuse and or odorous data entry for hours upon hours. That is not to say that there are non in Canada, UK, USA who would do these jobs, just not enough.
The other problem is the philosophy demamded by "INVESTORS" to maximize profit by quarters, regardless of the socisl cost. BEST EXAMPLE IS MR GATES OF MICROSOT: this is one of the richest monoppolies, where programs on a $1.00 DED sell for hundreds of dollars, yet this multibillionair company can not afford to pay tech support in Canada/USA Perhaps for such patritic business practice such companies should be rewarded with 70% or higher tax rate, and use the funds to help society [not for war, not for armaments and not to increase the wealth of Wall Street jokers/fraud artists].

When I met my wife [teacher] in Yukon territory she woked in a town where 90% of the employees were from other countries, for Canadians did not like the working condiitions [very cold -50-60 Celsius in winter, dark as hell wrong side of mountain, etc -the money was good!] Similarly when I had a small construction firm in Whitehorse [YT] we worked 12-14 houras a day with 10 days off in a year, but we got ahead. Some employees were from other lands, some were Canadians- we had government health insurance and no other benefit. My competitors shut down for winter and cried not enough money! Too Cold!!! Too dark [4-5 hours of sunshine]

as long as the USA maintains interest in quarterly income, wastes 20-30% of healthcare on insurance companies and demands low taxes, there is no way that there will be any change in education standards and i n work habits, The USa has to follow Mr Ford's notion pay your employees well and they will buy your products [for they can afford it]. Else you will get financial storms as today, where debt growth was judged to be GDP growth, and the fees of Wall street and related lawyers were judged to be productivity growth, no we know that was BS.

But aside from this topic, I do enjoy your contribution to this site for over 2 years. Gl

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

yeolds - I'm gathering you are one of those H1-B workers or somehow connected with them, otherwise you wouildn't spout such patent nonsense. First, hguest workers are completel morons if they go about spouting these sorts of comments. I, for one, have been busily fporwarding them to every COngressman and Senator I can think of, begging them to attach legislation ending the H1-B visa to any bailout legislation. Rep Frank is actually doing this!

Socond, it is nothing more than a smear and has flat out no basis in reality. 90% of new engineering hires are H1-B workers. At the same time, nearly half of our own engineers cannot get jobs in the technology sector. The reason has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with the Indian's selling themselves into indentured servitude for two to five years. The *averagte* work week for one of those Indian workers is 70 hous. They work six days a week, 10 to 12 hours per day. No overtime, no family, and don't even think about using self insured health benefits. The average American worker they displaced was married with a child - higher benefit costs! - and they usually tried to make time to go home see their children and wife, to maintain some sort of family life. Their average work week was 50 hours. Add to the work week length differential the fac that the Indian worker was paid roughly half of their Amercian counterpart ($37,5000 vs. $55,000) and you have the completre and genujne and HONEST explanation. It was nothing whatsoever to with talent or ability, other than the minimum ability brought by the H1-B worker, and everything to do with cheap, cheap, cheap! Worse, we have a whole generation of U.S. college students who have witnessed this, bright kids who would make excellent engineers or computer programmers, who are going into business or economics, environmental science, becasue they have witnessed and read about the fate of American workers in the technology sector. THAT, I might add, is so dangerous, so insane, that it begs for a bailout on the part of the government. Where do people suppose the new technologies, the new jobs, the very ability of this country to dig itself out of the current economic mess, is supposed to come from? It wont come from India or CHina or guest workers! 85% of them oeave within 5 years and return home. They don't like it here and they think f Amercia and American's as "...a greedy, war loving, pompus bunch of gluttons".

Nope. If we are serious about even surviving, much less ending, the current economic meltdown, we WILL end the H1-B and similar guest worker programs and we will do so with some haste...immediately!

yeolds Author Profile Page :


to your question: since the start of this issue, with the various bailouts, natinalizations, underwrtiong losses on forced mergers, and the 690 billion $ currency swap [which artificiaqlly raised the value of the USA$] the probale total is over 1.5 Trillion.

The point on the currency swap is to bail out wall street, lestthe foreign holders threaten the USA government [as China did with respect to freddeie and fannie].
THE EXCLUSION OF FOREIGN ENTITIES HOLDING USA DESIGNED/MANUFACTURED TOXIC FINANCIAL WASTE in the federal bailout package is that EU countries and other other nations who allowed purchase of these toxic products have another MAJOR BONE to pick with USA. These major amounts will not be cancelled by fancy politicking - as opposed by possible legal exclusions of turture, secret prisons, etc in the moral/legal field.

MIKEB - or whatever other name WP gives you:

Stricktly referring to the USA k-12 ed system [mirrored by UK, Canada and others] in general terms you Indian citation is VALID criticism.

Due to the poor quality of math/sci ed in lower grades, no home work, no need to exert effort to excell by the time Canadians/USA students go to university they decline to partake in hard studies, easier to be in commerce, in education, law etc than hard sciences/medicine. Thus overwhelming numbers of your of the phd come from foreign lands, where they learned to study hard in K-12.

while it may be true that some of these temporary workers do cause some harm to some USA graduates, overall it is the USA who exploits the world, 5% of populaion uses 30% of world's resources, while busy exporting armaments and toxic finacial products.

So take five from your constant ranting on this issue, for it is known on this site that you do have many commendable ideas and vast knowledge on diverse fields, which ability is greatly welcomed.

mibrooks27 Author Profile Page :

The Post changed my post name from MikeB to this (*#$)(*&#$)(*!!!!! Why can't I have MikeB?

Oh well, my reason for posting was an aside from one of our Indian guest workers in a discussion on ending the H1-B worker visa. I trsut this will remove any reservations people have about ending it immediately:
"The real problem is: without an Indian programmer, Americans can't add, nor can they count beyond 9.
Posted by: Indian Programmer"

another one of those friendly guest workers called us "...a greedy, war loving, pompus bunch of gluttons".

And you wonder why they feel free to steal us blind, code back doors into security projects and computer code they write here. I think it's time to end the H1-B and L-1 visas, ship them home, and force companies to hire back the American's they displaced. We can start recovering from our economic disaster when Amercian compoanies hire American's and pay them so they can pay their mortgages!

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page :

Today, John Gray, emeritus professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and author of "Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia" analyzes, for the Toronto Globe and Mail, "America's Global Fall from Grace", pointing out that "the financial crisis has seen an entire model of government and the economy collapse."

Readers may wish to read what Professor Gray has to say at:

Shiveh Author Profile Page :


Thanks for the reply. One simple question - how much money are we betting on Wall Street through the Feds while our representative decide if they should pay off $700Bs?

yeolds Author Profile Page :


yes, printing money wholesale seems to be the modus operandi of the attempted "saving" of the Wall Street Con Artists.
Unfortunately. it does not seem to ADD SOLVENCY [WHat they lack] to the banks, only "liquidity" is supplied. Unfortunately due to mark to market rules [necessaqry for transperency] the banks are forced to keep the cash to bolster their capital requirements, thus remaiing impaired regarding lending [though very credit worthy companies/individuals still have access to loans, but strickter rules - the lack of these rules created the mess].

HAVING SO MANY BANKS UNINTENTIONALLY AFFECTEd by the CANCELLATION POF THE PREFERED SHARES OF fREDDIE and Fannie, these banks do not have choice, lest they be bankrupted or forcefully merged. [This indicates that Paulson and Bernadke did not analyse the situation correctly before NATIONALIZATION Of Freddie and Fannie].

The banks need immediately to write down all toxic products, and be nationalized or partially nationalized while uncle Sam figures out which will be bankrupt, and which maybe saved via re=capitalization against present shareholders' equity t o be held by the Treasury.

necessary correlatives: no more bonuses, no more multimillion dollar wages allowed; no more dividends on common shares; no more securization until new rules.

The above steps to be taken immediately, and leave the rules for the next congress/president.

Shiveh Author Profile Page :

While everybody is watching the 700 billion dollar show, Fed is loaning hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street firms with no guaranty that they can pay it back.

Who is kidding who?!

moonpenn Author Profile Page :

The chart had a line going straight up. You can't starve us out and you can't make us run. If oil goes down, the day could get better still. I'm going shooting with my own shotgun. I need another box of shells, so I better get shopping. The President is working on a compromise with Congress. This could take more time than we thought. Don't compromise on quality because without quality, you get junk. Keep your steel sharp and work it out. Keep thinking!

moonpenn Author Profile Page :

Shopping always works and somebody went shopping today. Post Global is growing with

I was just thinking before I logged on, how the world seems to be getting smaller and what does that mean for the future. Then I click here and there and Post Global is getting larger. What does that mean? Growth is still possible and good things keep growing as they always have. I'll drink to that.

moonpenn Author Profile Page :

Last week we took it to the brink. This week we go to the next level, beyond the brink. The Dow hit -777.68. I told people the bailout wasn't bailfast. WPO hit 540.00 so it's a better bargain now. The S & P fell the most since 1987. I was still pumping gas in 1987, full service. "We need to work as quickly as possible; we need to get something done," Paulson told reporters at the White House.

I don't know about you, but I love the Pub. The worse things get, the better the Pub is looking.

moonpenn Author Profile Page :

People were on TV earlier pushing cars down the street, out of gasoline. No gasoline today again. The positive thing is that it's good exercise and look at the money being saved. More gasoline shortages are a sure thing, so I am well heeled and ready to go. If your day is done and you want to run, propane. She don't lie, propane.

yeolds Author Profile Page :


The powers to Adam be are opposed to Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith.

The powers to be in Washington [FDIC Federal Reserve and Mr. Pailson] much prefer to gamble with the view of concentrating financial power in fewer and fewer hands such as that the largest banks are allowed to grow to "TOO BIG TO FAIL" such as CITIGROUP [swallows other bank of large size], Bank of America [ibid] and JP Morgan [chase ibid]. Further, to hide the problems of USA finance, the Federal Reserve is artificially keeping the dollar "high" by using currency swaps of some 630 billion $ to keep the corpse on artificial life preserve.

It appears to me that these government measures are aimed at three things:
1., postpone the blow-up past January 20th, if not possible, at least to NOv. 4 election date.
2., keep the dollar and interest rates at today's rate to the period noted above
3., To hide the problems from the uninformed AND uninformable section of USA electorate, which still thinks that Sadam had something to do with 9/11.

5 weeks is a long time in politics and in economic collapse, we'll see if the plan succeeds [will not if today's DOW is any indication]

good luck USA

Citizenofthepost-Americanworld Author Profile Page :

Today, the American people is getting $.....d right, left and centre "from both sides of the aisle", as the expression goes, but what an exceptional dog and pony show those lots are giving us, with full support and the substantial contribution from the media! It may not be worth $750 billions... but what a performance!! What a performance just the same!!!

Abraham Lincoln (1864): "As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." (in "What Is America? A Short History of the New World Order", by Ronald Wright, 2008)

Yesterday, answering one of Fareed Zakaria's questions on socialism, China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao turned to teaching Adam Smith:

"If you are familiar with the classical works of Adam Smith, you know that there are two famous works of his. One is "The Wealth of Nations." The other is the book on the morality and ethics. And "The Wealth of Nations" deals more with the invisible hand, that is, there are the market forces. And the other book deals with social equity and justice. And in the other book he wrote, he stressed the importance of playing the regulatory role of the government to fairly distribute the wealth among the people.

If in a country most of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, then this country can hardly witness harmony and stability.

The same approach also applies to the current U.S. economy. To address the current economic and financial problems in this country, we need to apply not only the visible hand, but also the invisible hand." ***

Prime Minister Jiabao did prove Fareed Zakaria right, yesterday: "China's rise to power is probably the single most important trend of our lifetime. It's changing the world."

"May you live in interesting times" is reputed to be the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb... and curse.


Robert Hughes - Ohio :

Solution to Kick-starting the economy again. Why bail out financial instutions that won't solve the long range problem. There are about 300 million people in this country. Let's take that $700 billion, that each tax payer will pay for, and distribute that cash to every person over 21 years of age and making less than $250,000 yearly. This is similar to the tax stimulus program last Spring, but this will actually make a difference in all aspects of life especially getting us back to a booming economy.

Baron :

"They are throwing billions around, but things seem to be getting worse," said one trader. Things will get better and they always do, simply because somebody can make a buck. Things keep getting more deer, oops I mean dear. I need a box of shells. Keep your shotguns loaded and ready guys and gals. It's getting sporty out there. I need to go make some money. Have a nice day and watch out for those flying billions, they could crash. There are still ships on the water and subs under the water. Look up, they are looking down and ready to fire. Shoot to thrill and play to kill.

Baron :

Remember Russia did not get two of its goals, to destroy our government or to shut off the pipeline which is the main energy bloodline for Europe. We can never outwit Russia with tanks," he observed, "but we can compete on principles.

When I get tanked, there's always a bottle involved and then there are ships in the bottle so save your bottles for me. The tables keep turning and she keeps turning too. The Russians have tanks on a ship. The tanks could end up on the ocean floor. Ships do sink and tables do turn. The Navy has White Cloud watching this mess from space. It's a ship to shore matter. Amen.

Baron :

L.L. Bean has a snow tube with a superslick base. It's on sale and the next thing you know, it will be snowing. Beats a super oil slick I suppose. Rock salt is going up this year. The salt is still the same, while the cost of moving it around is going through the roof.
It could get so bad we won't need to plow the roads. I'm thinking horse and open sleigh myself.

Baron :

Don't forget blankets for the kids!
Sun washed and what a concept and only $29.50. Good deal.

Baron :

The market is plunging on fear and the debate on a compromise bailout is just starting. Never compromise on quality. Everybody was worried about the glass ceiling crack and back at the ranch the whole global financial system was cracking. I always trust the women with the money myself. You give a guy $500.00 and he comes home with a new TV, a woman comes home with groceries, something nice for the kids and money left over just in case.

The weather is nice today. Get a Weather Challenger Jacket, just in case. You just never know. You do know it's $169.00. That's capitalism for you. Under socialism the jacket would still cost you and nobody would make any money. The weather is what it's going to be and things cost what things cost. When all else fails, shop!

Baron :

Socialism for the well connected
WPO 547.66 and dropping fast. It's looking like a down Monday.
The upside is that the markets are open and everybody is a decider, so break out the apple cider, here is a huge "moral hazard" problem here, says I. The press is still free, but the paper has costs and costs must be carried. Somebody has to carry the water. This bailout keeps getting bigger and some costs are greater than others. If the Post goes socialist, picture the headlines. The morning paper could make up thoughts and the U.S. could be like China. God help the babies, we could have bad milk in on the bargain too. Capitalism may be hazardous, it's moral though. Let the good times roll and let the fire burn out of control. We'll see what gets burned and how hot it burns. Keep your head cool. There is always Tuesday and things can always go up. I'm going out to do some work, so it always works out. Happiness is positive cash flow, so try to be happy and let your profits run on and cut your losses short and never refuse an option when you can get it.

Baron :

"I think you definitely lose money on this $700 billion structure," Whitney said. "There's no idea where house prices bottom, and as a result how can you make money on this transaction?"
Oppenheimer analyst Meredith Whitney

All five big investment banks have disappeared or morphed into regular banks. Is this bailout still necessary? The Washington Post seems to think so.

The market will vote and the bailer will go to the bottom. The Post is heads down this morning at 554.06. There's no idea where prices bottom. I have a few ideas where prices top. Drink top shelf stuff and avoid a hang-over. I'm going to make a buck, so good luck. Maybe it will go bottoms up for the Post. I sure hope so. They can print a correction.

Baron :

""The capital markets are already challenged," said Larry Tabb, founder of financial research firm Tabb Group. "If bank credit stops, the result is borrowing stops; credit cards stop; mortgages stop; building stops; business stops; jobs evaporate; and we head straight into a U.S, if not a global, recession like one that we have not seen since the Great Depression."

A government bailout is supposed to prevent this doomsday scenario. By purchasing $700 billion of bad debt from banks, the government would theoretically free those institutions to resume lending, improving companies' access to cash."

Bush urges quick passage. I'd pass on it and ride it out until he's finally out of office. Bush knows how to save the economy like I know how to do dental work. People will all want a quick root canal next. Bush would sell the fillings out of your teeth if he thought he could turn a quick buck on you. My gold filling was $800.00 and nobody gave me the $800.00. Keep it Up!

baron :

Morning Amusements
Financial WMD's
Six Flags is trading at 66 cents a share.
"The Six Flags chain began in 1961 with the creation of Six Flags Over Texas by Angus G. Wynne of Arlington, Texas, which initially featured a Native American village, a gondola ride, a railroad, some Wild West shows, a stagecoach ride, and "Skull Island", a pirate-themed adventure attraction.

Six Flags and China signed a deal to allow new Six Flags Properties in China. On April 15th, it was announced it has entered into a one-year, multi-million dollar exclusivity agreement with Gulf Finance House B.S.C., a publicly traded Islamic Investment Bank in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Under the agreement, Gulf Finance will pay for the exclusive right to license the Six Flags brand and related intellectual property for theme park development in the People's Republic of China. Additionally, the two parties may collaborate on the future construction of a Six Flags-themed luxury resort. The deal was unveiled April 15th, 2008 by Six Flags President and CEO Mark Shapiro and Gulf Finance House Acting CEO Peter Panayiotou. "This partnership underscores the renewed health of our brand and the opportunities that now lie ahead for our unique thrill park experience," said Shapiro. "We're excited about the potential of collaborating with Gulf Finance House to bring the new Six Flags and its recharged product to an entirely new audience."" gruntnet

We have gone from Skull Island to Numb Skull Island. Different time, different Texans, same old same old machine and Paddy whacking. Buy a newspaper and have coffee.

We wrecked the place.
Six Flags over Hell is being planned with Iranian bond financing.

Nicolo' Pignatelli :


Europe has a quite favourable position today and in the foreseeable future as regards oil and gas supplies.
But there should be no room for complacency.
Europe should commit itself to follow the example of France (which produces 80% of its energy with nuclear power) and concentrate it's efforts toward developing alternative sources of energy supplies.
The attached map shows the existing oil and gas pipeline grid in Europe. The map is not too clear but one gets the gist of it.
Oil and gas pipelines will eventually link Europe also to major gas fields of Iran via Turkey.
Moreover, the EU has recently announced the grant of a big loan for the building of a pipeline from Nigeria via the Chad, Libya, and/or Algeria to Europe, probably via Sicily or Spain.
Also Angola has important oil and gas reserves which have close access to Europe across the Mediterranean.
Europe is already connected in the north with the huge gas fields of Norway and in the East with the existing pipelines from Russia and from the former Soviet states lying to the south of Russia, a system referred to as Northstream and Southstream.
Consequently, the foreign policies of the EU and of it's member states do reflect and will most probably continue to reflect this reality that will not change tangibly in the foreseeable future.
Europe has options: it does not depend on only one source of supply: consequently, it has some bargaining flexibility with all present and future suppliers which at times it can and should handle diplomatically.
The US position as regards energy supplies is objectively quite different.
In 1948 - when I joined the oil business - the US imported about 6% of it's oil requirements.
Most of it's oil requirements were covered by domestic production.
Oklahoma City was then referred to as "The world's oil capital". In the late 1950.s Houston inherited that title.
Today, US imports amount to over 67% of it's oil supplies.
The principal sources were then, and are still today:
* Venezuela - because it's high density oils which are quite suitable for lube oils and asphalt - and it's geographical proximity to the USA,
* Saudi Arabia as the main supplier since 1946,
* Iran until the fall of the Shah in 1979, and
* Iraq since the war of 2003.
Hence, the US has a vital but rather sensitive exposure especially in the Middle East. This region is and will probably remain for the foreseeable future the most important source of oil supplies for the US while being the most volatile region in the world.

Nicolo' Pignatelli :


Europe has a quite favourable position today and in the foreseeable future as regards oil and gas supplies.
But there should be no room for complacency.
Europe should commit itself to follow the example of France (which produces 80% of its energy with nuclear power) and concentrate it's efforts toward developing alternative sources of energy supplies.
The attached map shows the existing oil and gas pipeline grid in Europe. The map is not too clear but one gets the gist of it.
Oil and gas pipelines will eventually link Europe also to major gas fields of Iran via Turkey.
Moreover, the EU has recently announced the grant of a big loan for the building of a pipeline from Nigeria via the Chad, Libya, and/or Algeria to Europe, probably via Sicily or Spain.
Also Angola has important oil and gas reserves which have close access to Europe across the Mediterranean.
Europe is already connected in the north with the huge gas fields of Norway and in the East with the existing pipelines from Russia and from the former Soviet states lying to the south of Russia, a system referred to as Northstream and Southstream.
Consequently, the foreign policies of the EU and of it's member states do reflect and will most probably continue to reflect this reality that will not change tangibly in the foreseeable future.
Europe has options: it does not depend on only one source of supply: consequently, it has some bargaining flexibility with all present and future suppliers which at times it can and should handle diplomatically.
The US position as regards energy supplies is objectively quite different.
In 1948 - when I joined the oil business - the US imported about 6% of it's oil requirements.
Most of it's o

rotten-world :

If the Wall Street will be blown away then what or where will be the next one?

If the USA will crawl in the influence of economy devastation, then what will happen to the rest of the world?
If Americans will become homeless and jobless, then what will happen to the world citizens in other continents?


How can you guess for your own tomorrow?

berrymonster :

I agree with other posters. The question is really ill-worded.

Scam is not capitalism.

We all know the Nigerian scam is just a trap for fools. Hey, you need money, I got money for you; just tell me you bank account number, and transfer some of your own money to this account as proof of your friendship.

We all know megachurches are scams. Hey, you need peace and hapiness, I can give you peace and hapiness, as long as you accept Jesus -or Allah, or whatever- as your savior, make a generous contribution to your church, and obey the will of your church leaders.

We all know politics is a scam. Hey, you need hope, change, experience, leadership, whatever; I can give you all that, just click here and send some of your money to this account.

And we all know Wall Street is a scam, big time. See, give me your money and I will turn you into a millionaire. Or, just sign this mortgage contract, and you can move into your new home tomorrow.

But we want to believe. So, we exchange emails with those Nigerian fellows, and we attend those megachurch events, and we show up for political rallies, and we sign those subprime mortgage contracts, and we use our retirement funds to buy some exotic derivatives ... because the broker was "trustworthy".

Until, one day, we wake up and realize those fellows have ran away with our money. That's not capitalism. That's human nature.

Anonymous :

I think that you may want to read this:

for-worldconscience wrote:




With above approaches then the nation will have best chance to grab a right man for the important job! This is due to the job as a president must be handled by a very well-trained and well-experienced with years of working in the fields of economics, political sciences, and policies/strategies researches/developing domains!
Else, then all least reliable persons continue showing up to be act as the "most valuable folks" and self-manipulating themselves to be given the mighty job of a national leader!

In summary, a strategist, a economist, a political scientist that they have much more capabilities and intelligent and visionary strenght to be a national leader than a "political amateur" or the alikes as the two non-qualified folks!

MikeB :

People are being downright delusional right now. Go read some foreign newspapers! First, he dollar is going to drop like a rock next week. That is going to result in two very nasty things that will have impact before the election (1) foreign investment capital is going to exit in a panic. That money underpins our government debt and private debt. The result is going to be an inflationary and unemployment spiral the likes of which this country has never experienced before (2) the international commodities market, especially the price of oil, is going to be pegged to the Euro. Both of these feed off each other, oil and other raw materials will get increasingly expensive, which will fuel more inflation, more unemployment, an even lower dollar. We have begun a death spiral that may mark the end of this country - at least as we know it. No one knows where it will end, but the bailout merely treats a symptom, not the underlying disease of "free trade" and the loss of jobs, technology, and production capacity. Enjoy the ride to hell - it's going to be fast and VERY unpleasant.

Mike McLean :

Great article on the AIG situation and the on going Federal Reserve disaster at a site called This guy knows what he is talking about.

baron :

A man is only as good as his tools. I'd start making more tools and importing less to create more jobs in the United States. The opportunity in real estate is rehabilitation of existing stock. Basically this old house needs some work. You need tools for that and you need capital. I can show you houses that need knocked down all over the place. Those are bigger tools and you don't need capital because you rent those tools. Nobody gives you tools unless they are dead. I have some of those and the work goes on.

tom e. :

An excess trade deficit in the US causes excess money flows in Asia which are recycled back into the US in the form of debt.

The result was bankers throwing money at people in the form of easy mortgages, credit cards etc. Wall Street made money by skimming off some of this money flow.

I do not think that these global imbalances are sustainable.

baron :

"HONG KONG (AP) -- Hong Kong police have arrested a man for allegedly spreading rumors on the Internet about a bank run amid anxiety in the Chinese territory about the U.S. financial crisis, police said Sunday."

"PITTSBURGH (AP) -- H.J. Heinz Co. on Friday recalled baby food in Hong Kong that had trace amounts of melamine, the industrial chemical involved in the tainted milk scandal in China that is now spreading."

You can't be sure what's going to spread faster, the killer baby food or the killer banks. In any case it's a safe bet that capitalism will solve the problem faster than the police can simply because there are more investors than police and police are also investors. China is one toxic mess after another. I doubt this was Heinz making a mess, it's just made to look that way. As for the banking rogue, well he might of been right about it and if wrong thats life. Now being wrong is a crime. With markets being wrong only cost you money. With totalitarianism you get tossed into jail for rumors. BS is still BS. Maybe if all the BSers are jailed we won't have an election this year. Make some money, you can be sure you'll need that.

mohammad allam :

In my country,the capitalism is not so developed that people will feel free market burn so easily.The socilaism is still alive by the pseudo leftist.the chance of socialism is strong in coming days when the Nepali maoist will give a new sound goverment and economic policies.This can effect our country other wise rest is ok.
the free market palyers smashing huge wealth.

baron :

Quality pays for itself. Not much different than ever before and ever after the goal is to raise quality to raise profits and benefits. People want a Caddy, but settle for a Chevy. You get what you need and the more you get the more you can afford. We're all chasing the same thing, a better quality of life and there's enough to go around. There's too much cheap money and junk debt floating, so it sinks and is all-gone. The U.S. Navy stays afloat because of quality. The rest of it's piracy and politics. Then there's subs and satellites you don't even see, but they can see you and before you know what happened you are all-gone. That kind of stuff costs real money and protects real money. All for victory and none for loss. It's like the good old days, the all or nothing days and all is better. I'm all for quality and open markets. I wrote the free market article in around '98 and now we're ten years down the road and still rolling. The market for quality never closes and the presses never stop rolling.

Citizen of the post-American world :

New world order in the making: a further example.

Linked to the current US financial crisis is the looming world food crisis. It affects, as a matter of life and death, nearly one billion people.

Too little has yet been said publicly, in the West, about the role and responsibility of international institutions like, among others, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as of "Wall Street" speculators, in this crisis. Too little has yet been said publicly, in the West, about seeds management and the control of world food production under the old world order. Jacques Diouf, Director-General Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is particularly critical.

While the international debate rages on in poor, developing countries, as to how to avoid mass starvation, the latest paradigm shifts seems to be toward “agricultural sovereignty and self-sufficiency”, “national seeds management”, etc. It has indeed been observed, generally, that in the circumstances China more particularly, and India, were doing relatively better than nations that still believed in the old world order and in its agricultural Terminator.

D.H. :

Capitalis - Socialism really mean nothing. What is important is how our governments - all over the world - respond to their responsibility to manage their country in favor of the general interests, and not for their personal interests, the interests of their party or the interests of the powerful.
The present financial crisis results from the greed of the financial world which preferred to go after immediate gratification out of the invention of financial instruments which allowed making money out of money with an absence of all productivity. One has only to observe the huge profits made by the few intelligent financial manipulators and their gullible investors, whilst the financial state of so many industries and manufacturers were goin down the drain. This was done whils government, government agencies and rating companies seemed not to realize the consequences. We can now see the result.
Finally, we have to admit that, across time, human behavior towards their evident responsibilities, is the real culprit.

AdrianUK :

This is just the right question for today. During the past 30 years in the UK we have seen a dawning understanding of how we, an island state, relate economically to the rest of the world. When Margaret Thatcher was our prime minister we were like people in a fortress fighting off our economic competitors. Socialism was out of fashion, free-market capitalism was in. We had the benefit of North Sea oil to boost our country's income. With it came a change in our outlook - banks made it easy to borrow money, a big stimulus to businesses and to personal spending.

The financial crisis, which started in the US, has made the economic success of the UK look to some people like one big bubble. We are not an island, we are linked to all the economies of the world. When we talk about energy (particularly, of course, about oil) we are talking about a finite resource which ought to be apportioned justly among the peoples of the world. The more we fight over energy, the more we withdraw into our primitive isolated positions.

With this understanding came a realization that our environment, too, is shared. Our power stations can not emit carbon dioxide into the air indefinitely without affecting the global climate. So the environment and human economic activity all fit into a wider system that includes the plants and animals.

If we accept this model and, further, we accept that the world should be managed towards the survival and welfare of all, we have a kind of socialism. One might say socialism enters not by the red door but by the green door.

So, yes, I think socialism is a preview of the future.

Writing Frontier :

I don't believe we are headed down a socialist path, no matter how tough this financial crisis gets. But I do think Writing Frontier's recent piece "The Europeanization of America" has a real point about how what's going on will help change America forever. See for a unique viewpoint on the topic.

BobL-VA :

Strangely worded question.

We're all aware the US was the recipient of billions of dollars worth of foreign investment. Our markets were seen as stable and our returns on investments made us a good choice on where to put your money. Considering both Russia and China along with Japan, India, Germany, England, France, Italy.....the list just goes on, invested money in the US markets it had nothing to do with Socialism.

The US Governments failure to act 2 years ago and stand behind our economy is the issue both foreign as well as domestic investors are struggling with today. Sinply put, investors have lost confidence in our markets. Internationally and domestically this leads to investors to look elsewhere to place their money where they feel they can get the best rate of return and still have a high probability of security. Again, this has nothing to do with a countries political ideology.

Today there is a lot of spin and finger pointing going on. Neither of which is productive. To be productive we need to return confidence in our markets. In order to return this confidence we need to stabilize them first. The "bail out" in one form or another is an attempt at doing exactly that.

Being an optimist when it comes to US markets I believe we will stabilize our markets and over a period of a couple of years earn investors confidence back. This problem wasn't created in a day, a week, a month or even a year. It took 6-8 years to be where we are today and it will take at least 2-3 years to fix it.

Under the heading of pet peeve is the term "free market economy." Does anybody know what it means? I've never seen one. The US eonomy is a lot of things, but it isn't free market. The US, in many cases, has less restrictions then some other economies (the EU), but in other cases we have more restrictions. The US has rules, laws and regulations in place for just about everything. How free are we? We might have had something that looked like a free market economy at the time of the founding of our country, but those days are long gone. At best you could say the US has a restricted market economy today.


Issue #3: Consumer Vital Information Sharing

Regulators at US congress have to come up with some sort of plan, to prevent sharing of consumer's vital information.

The $700 billion bailout and more such bailout to come are useless, if consumer's vital information is available for exploitation.

Financial and stock markets had seized to function as free markets more than a decade ago, so is it not too late to bring up a stale topic such as "End of free markets" today.

Shahryar Saigol :

This is not socialism. This is like handing baling buckets to the passengers while the crew grabs the lifeboats on the Titanic.

Anju Chandel :

Not in India at least as financial markets are regulated here.

Absolute "freedom" in hands of financial sharks - who love to call themselves as "wizards" - is a prescription for doom: the root cause of the current economic crisis in America.

Observer :

Amounts of contributions to representatives, in recent days, by just the finance industry, to pass the "bailout" and remove the last pro-consumer provision that would allow for bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages. The amounts of these outroight bribes are obwscenely large, but the $700 billion these vermin expect to get ain't peanuts! Your tax pollars at work...
Dodd, Chris $13,163,356
Shelby, Richard C. $4,240,502
Johnson, Tim $2,782,143
Hagel, Chuck $1,610,616
Schumer, Charles $12,793,446
Crapo, Mike $1,278,842
Bayh, Evan $3,971,396
Martinez, Mel $2,896,435
Reed, Jack $2,686,232
Allard, Wayne $1,447,500
Carper, Tom $2,097,718
Bunning, Jim $2,417,585
Menendez, Robert $3,820,822
Akaka, Daniel $549,095
Brown, Sherrod $1,432,581
Bennett, Robert F. $1,864,292
Enzi, Mike $943,894
Dole, Elizabeth $3,285,529
Corker, Bob $2,422,829
Frank, Barney $2,430,361
Bacchus, Spencer $3,579,199
Kanjorksi, Paul $2,718,472
Pryce, Deborah $2,805,109
Maloney, Carolyn $2,390,461
Biggert, Judy $1,300,677
Waters, Maxine $359,445
Capito, Shelley Moore $1,442,572
Gutierrez, Luis V. $661,907
Paul, Ron $1,659,559
Watt, Melvin $780,278
Miller, Gary G. $690,788
Velazquez, Nydia M. $1,165,525
Ackerman, Gary L. $1,504,140
Sherman, Brad $1,462,636
Meeks, Gregory W. $1,015,432
Moore, Dennis $1,934,779
Capuano, Michael E. $813,176
Hinojosa, Ruben $735,536
Clay, William Lacy $290,100
McCarthy, Carolyn $908,045
Baca, Joe D $460,832
Lynch, Stephen F. $765,494
Miller, Brad $770,481
Scott, David $911,504
Green, Al $183,265
Cleaver, Emanuel $313,549
Bean, Melissa L. $1,573,756
Moore, Gwen $254,879
Davis, Lincoln $482,275
Hodes, Paul W. $259,522
Ellison, Keith $90,365
Klein, Ron $789,238
Mahoney, Tim $495,415
Wilson, Charles $146,819
Perlmutter, Ed $341,185
Murphy, Christopher S. $493,332
Donnelly, Joe $219,956
Foster, Bill $161,936
Carson, Andre $137,400
Speier, Jackie $183,099
Cazayoux, Don $112,300
Childers, Travis $68,050
Castle, Mike $2,328,012
King, Peter $1,271,665
Royce, Edward R. $2,353,853
Lucas, Frank D. $859,878
LaTourette, Steven C. $1,196,373
Manzullo, Donald A. $1,304,319
Jones, Walter B. $961,533
Shays, Christopher $2,876,206
Feeney, Tom $1,260,480
Hensarling, Jeb $1,950,421
Garrett, Scott $996,899
Brown-Waite, Ginny $649,129
Barrett, J. Gresham $691,667
Gerlach, Jim $1,453,549
Pearce, Steve $685,047
Neugebauer, Randy $1,151,274
Price, Tom $796,743
Davis, Geoff $1,547,657
McHenry, Patrick T. $786,000
Campbell, John $745,635
Putnam, Adam $730,298
Bachmann, Michele $363,705
Roskam, Peter J. $431,766
Marchant, Kenny $449,813
McCotter, Thaddeus $576,404
McCarthy, Kevin $173,112
Heller, Dean $190,252

Citizen of the post-American world :

“Are free-market policies discredited?”

No doubt they are, more particularly among your average American.

Furthermore, this country’s political class itself is so totally discredited, everything the US ever stood for in the eyes of the world, financially, economically, militarily, socially, politically, even ideologically, is now discredited as well; so discredited, in fact, that it would take decades for the country to recover, something it is very unlikely ever to achieve, given the prevailing, generalized corruption and moral bankruptcy.

The land of the free is now seen, hence known throughout the world as the land of the corrupt, of the blackmailed and of the scared stiff. Democratic campaigning gets postponed, democratic debates may be postponed or cancelled, even presidential elections could be postponed…Is this to say that the nation’s survival, as a democracy, is in the process of being postponed as well? How utterly decadent that the question need be asked!

This is the end of cocky, short-lived American unilateralism. No point in declaring Palestinians, Russians, the community of nations (UN), the international court of justice, etc. “irrelevant” any longer, for they evidently are not. Not only are they needed, both their financial and political help is, at present, eagerly and urgently sought by the US itself.

For the world’s arrogant hegemon, with no taste for humble pie, this is a time of great humiliation. Make no mistake: the whole world is fully aware of the situation and at least feels, when it does not fully understand, what the implications are.

“Is therefore socialism an echo of the past or a preview of the future?”

What an amazing question to ask! How can that very question possibly arise, the moment the US is in deep trouble, given we have been led to believe, for the last twenty years at least, that socialism had collapsed, then died, and that the end of History was in sight?

It would seem that we remain the victims of our old paradigms. First paradigm: the world needs a hegemon, commonly known as the world’s policeman. Second paradigm: the world can only be either capitalist or socialist. So while PG suggests we might be heading back to the future under socialism, Watching America presents articles from the Oriental Morning Post (China) – “Who Is to Carry the Burden of the U.S.?” – and from Die Zeit (Germany) -- “Socialism, George W. Bush Style” – expressing deep concern as to which nation (if any) will accept to fill the vacuum left behind by declining USA.

What we are in fact witnessing is the announcement of the birth of a new world order. What that world order will be, nobody knows, for it has yet to exist.

That does not prevent anyone from making an educated guess, though, as to what that new world order might ultimately look like.

It is my opinion that this new world order will have to be created by all concerned, for the whole world, for the whole community of nations. It needs therefore be a world order every nation, every people can live with. In that sense, it will be post-American, indeed post-Western. No more First World, Second World, Third World, Fourth World, etc. Did it not say, very recently: “One world, one dream?”

While developing this new world order, I believe the community of nations will in no way be seeking the advent of a new world hegemon. In the new world order, I suggest there will be no world hegemon, no unique international policeman, no Big Brother Bully. Future world leadership and power will be exercised collectively, by and through the community of nations, through new, truly representative national and international institutions: economic, financial, social, political and military. Those institutions need be structured so as to serve the interests of all world citizens. That means, among other things, that under the new world order, it will not be possible that profits be privatized while losses are socialized; for with all due respect to George Orwell, “order” was never defined as “disorder”.

Key to the new world order will be to ensure sustainable development and growth for all in a healthy environment, while preserving world peace and encouraging both international cooperation and sharing in an unprecedented way.

Need such a new world order be called a "socialist one"? Well, does it really matter, so long as justice be sought, and so much more than under the present one?

Zhou Enlai was once queried by Henry Kissinger on his assessment of the 1789 French Revolution. “It’s too early to tell”, Enlai is said to have replied.

Beyond “the end of History”, unfinished business calls for a new world order.

Yousuf Hashmi :

In a free market , states do not bail out the private sector for their negligence and mistakes.

This was the socialist system where the states were taking the responsibility of all the activities and supporting weak sectors.

Now all the indicators are that the world wants to move to a system which will be the product of both systems.

If President Bush declare that US economy is passing through a hard time then it is not difficult to predict that what will happen to those economies which were dependent on US economy

Stock exchanges of allied nations are nervous. They are losing the confidence of whole system. A bail out package can provide oxygen to the system but can not make the patient healthy.

The system need a surgery. never mind how much pain it cause to patient.

Socialism is creeping again. Not because it is a better system but because of the faults of the other

Zoltan :

"free-market policies"

Do you mean by that the incomprehensible financial "products" that some weirdos have invented through opaque mathematical models ?

It's been a long time that Wall-Street - or the USA for that matter - don't practice "free market". Because free market goes with anti-trust policies, and et least since Microsoft has been left unchecked, despite having been found guilty of anti-competitive monopolistic behaviour, there is no "free market" in the US. So that would be around 10 years. Which, incidentally, corresponds to the rescue of the hedge-fund LTCM by the FED in 1998 (or 1997).

So the "free market" doesn't exist in the USA since at least 10 years. And we didn't even talk about agricultural subsidies or military no-bid contracts.

observer28 :

Limited "socialism"(if that's what you want to call it) may be the answer to pull us out of this economic mess.Getting to the root of each problem before you can even begin to tackle it, for e.g. healthcare: cutting out the middleman( insurance companies, HMOs), getting rid of law-suits that only inflate the cost of healthcare( ever wonder why Europe & Canada are successful?).
loans & housing: owning a home (that one cannot afford to buy with cash) may no longer be a goal if it means taking out loans at exhorbitant rates. Nowhere in the world this is practiced.
salaries of CEOs of banks, corporations, presidents of universities have got to be capped. Really, are they WORTH that much??
If we are honestly willing to ignore the lobbyists in Wash.D.C. then & only then can any legislation be passed that would help the common citizen & not a select few.
Is this Socialism? Maybe not in the Russian context, I call it humanitarianism. Where the privileged few work for the majority. This is how it is done in Europe, India, Canada, etc.This will be our future.

MikeB :

I've been off reading the early take on our economic collapse in the Euopean press. As a wrote a few weeks back, the European's are more than a little angry at being burned (defrauded) by Wall Street, sold bogus mortgage packages, etc. One lynch pin of the Bush-Bernacke-Paulson-McCain plan is to have foreign banks help buy up some of that bad debt. Well, news flash, they aren't! In todays Der Spiegel - "German banks are already sufficiently involved in the calamity," says Stefan Kooths of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin. Either way, experts estimate that half of America's bad loans were sold abroad -- and a large part of that was assumed by Germans. And now the money is gone. "There's no reason why Germany should have to bear even more burdens".

Economic experts in India, China, every European capital, are going to let us sink. The $700 billion bailout package doesn't come anywhere near addressing the amount of bad debt, unrecoverable outright fraud, that is the result of our free trade folly; that total amount is greater than 4 times our GNP. Our economy is going to collapse. There is nothing we can do about it. If this government blows $700 billion on Wall Street, it will not just be gone, it wont be available to aide American's who are going to suffer as no one ever imagined. If the moron in Washington have any sense of self preservation left, much less patriotism and willingness to defend this country, they will set that money aside as a safety net for ordinary people. Not doing so, I fear will lead to social unrest, mass starvation and death, violence, and quite possibly a revolution.

MikeB :

You need to define what you mean by "socialism" and "free markets" before you can answer this question. If, by socialism, you mean the failed Soviet style big government, big brother, fuzzy minded one world nonsense espoused by Republican's and NeoCon's, then it is discredited and is a public danger. The ideology of "free trade", sending jobs overseas, actually using jobs, production capacity, and technology as trade goods to *BUY* support for stupid foreign policies as advocated by John McCain is morally bankrupt and did more than anything else to land us in the mess we are in right now. On the other hand, if you mean by "socialism" government running basic services that the private sector has made a complete mess of, then "socialism" has a very bright future. Those things would include national parks, the interstate highway system, national health and basic retirement insurance programs. Only a few fanatics would deny that the national park system, the interstate highway system, our electrical grid, dams, schools, and other essential components of our infrastructure would even exist if it were left to the private sector's mercies. Wall Street's looting of ordinary people's retirement savings, the health industry's price fixing, burdonsome paperwork, and fraudulent creation of multiple means for claim denial, and our poor and getting worse quality of health care, have made it abundanently clear that, leaving these basic requirements for individual and national survival in the hands of the private sector is dangerous nonsense. Right now, we spend 19% of GNP on health care while no other country in the world spends even 5%. The difference here, is well in excess of even double the total bailout being requested for Wall Street. Likewise, removing the ability of the "free market" to loot individual retirement savings would provide both stability and enormous cost savings. Removing these twin burdens from businesses and individuals would likely do more to spark a recovery from the current economic crisis than anything else we can do.

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