The decadent international but individualistic capitalism in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war is not a success. It is not intelligent. It is not beautiful. It is not just. It is not virtuous. And it doesn’t deliver the goods.
John Maynard Keynes, 1933
Seventy seven years have passed since J.M. Keynes made that statement, and it is still a truism, in part because the money is still in the same hands it was all those years ago. Any thought that capitalism is a 100% rousing success could easily be stomped out of existence by simply looking at the reaction of the S&P to Greece and the problems with the Euro, or by the inability of the corporate sector or the government to fix the jobless problem this nation is still going through.
As for capitalism not being intelligent or beautiful, I guess that viewpoint would have more to do with how much you have, and how much you’ve made, and how hard you bit into whatever viewpoint you’ve attached yourself to.
Not Just and not Virtuous? Duh! Look at Goldman Sachs, look at AIG, look at Henry Paulson letting Lehman brothers die. Any one who would tell me they seriously think that business in general is anything but unjust and evil need only look at how BP has reacted to this gulf disaster. Any company that would put together a PR campaign, and try to minimize monetary damages for a mess they themselves created, rather than use those self same resources to actually do something for the people affected by this disaster, shows without a shadow of a doubt that things are simply not on an even moral keel in the business world.
You could make the argument that this is just a single case, and does not represent the morality of the business world. But you would be wrong. From Enron, to AIG, to Citigroup, to Bernie Madoff, to Lehman, and a great many others, there are tons of examples that make the simple point that there is no virtue, no morality or any sense of just action in the business world.
Gotta admit it, Keynes had his head screwed on straight as far as what was wrong with the system within which he found himself working.
The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one’s love upon other human individuals.
Viddy of the day, the president talking to the press about the disaster in the gulf. The most telling statement, in my view, in the interview happens near the end of the viddy.
Friday’s top five links:
Private employers hold back on hiring in may (those assholes)
Pic and quote of the day: We have become too civilized to grasp the obvious. For the truth is very simple. To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. War is evil, and it is often the lesser evil. Those who take the sword perish by the sword, and those who don’t take the sword perish by smelly diseases.
George Orwell, Looking back on the Spanish war