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Tuesday, September 23, 2008



Back in 2003, during the last Presidential contest, I wrote this:
A belated quote from Thursday's Democratic Presidential debate:
"Greed and selfishness can kill this great democracy and ruin capitalism." -- Dick Gephardt
Gee, that's funny, in my dictionary under "capitalism" it says "an economic system based on greed and selfishness." OK, I admit you have to read between the lines. :-)
An article today at pslweb, entitled "Capitalism: Something more than greed," expands on that theme. It's well worth reading the entire article, but here are just two paragraphs I thought particularly well formulated:
The fact of the matter is that what the ruling class labels "greed" during an economic crisis they celebrate as "genius" when everything is running smoothly. The ability to cut costs and wages, to squeeze the consumer for every possible buck, to pass off financial risks, to expand as quickly and as far as possible, to buy low and sell high, to find the loopholes that allow a company to turn profits into super-profits—these are the traits necessary for any successful capitalist.
This crisis, in other words, is not an example of "casino-style capitalism" gone wrong, as Ralph Nader suggests. Capitalism itself is always a casino—in which the lives of workers are wagered, the game is rigged, and the house always wins.
Whether human beings are "naturally greedy" or not isn't the question or the problem. The problem is a system in which greed is encouraged and rewarded. That system is capitalism. Oversight and regulation can only go so far to restrain that system; they will never make it into a system which allocates resources according to human needs, not profit.

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