Friday, November 21, 2008
I've long been leery of the house of cards we like to call the free market. The blogger Eschaton (Duncan Black), who has a PhD in economics, has taken to calling it the "dog track." It's inherently unstable and has been since capital markets were first established. The only way it can work without causing intense human suffering is if we have a really solid safety net. Of course, some of our safety net (medicare, social security) was put in place following the Great Depression. And those nations who have embraced weak forms of socialism have learned this lesson even better. But maybe this is our opportunity to create real nationalized health care, to make unemployment benefits truely viable, and once again invest heavily in infrastructure. Capital markets will always be unstable, with ups always followed by downs (and those fantasists who believe otherwise - just about everyone involved in "business" - are fools). If another depression is occurring, we may all become poor but at least we could have health care and the basic needs of survival available to us.