2009 End of capitalism?

Absolutely not. Only the ignorant and the mad, those who have nothing to lose or fear nothing from the crisis can enthuse about the decline and fall of ‘capitalism’. Champagne socialists will be happy with a revolution as long as they can keep their bottles of champagne. The current crisis should not be underplayed: it will mean fewer jobs and opportunities, not just for bankers and consultants. Real hardship will come. And in some quarters of the planet, hunger and starvation. Well, would that be a ‘price worth paying’ to see capitalism destroyed?

Despite all the problems caused by the free market variant of capitalism (a.k.a. casino capitalism, debt-is-real-wealth capitalism), the capitalist system has contributed in raising the standards of life for many people and afforded better opportunity. It was not and never will be a perfect system to bring complete and equal happiness, but it has been better than other systems such as economy (and politics) centrally commanded.

A revived capitalism (of a certain sort) will resemble more the social market model popular in Germany and other European countries than the free market ideology that bankrupted America and Britain. States, and more importantly international organizations, will play a restraining role on the corporations and the market: social and communal good will be prised more than the individual. Though that does not mean I believe state dirigisme or suppression of the individual should be at the end of the process.

The most important element to a reformed capitalism is a better moral compass for those who have moeny and power, and are in positions of influence and decision-making. Individual greed and good could contribute to the greater good, but when it does not, a person should have the moral mind to reject it. In short, the good old categorical imperative.