Growthism: Capitalism for the Poor, Socialism for the Rich


Wed, Oct 30th, 2013 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

On the Harvard Business Review, Umair Haque thinks that the United States is not using capitalism as it claims, but growthism, an economic model that seems to be "a toxic admixture of capitalism for the poor, who are ruthlessly whittled down, in brutal Darwinian contests; and socialism for the rich, for whom there appears to be no limit to bailouts, subsidies, and privileges."

Imagine a country called CapitalismStan. Imagine that country’s proud emblem was a great invisible hand. In every town square, its flag flew proudly. Prices were its idols; markets were its temples; products its litanies; and all knew what the great hand stood for: the undying ideals of competition, self-reliance, riches. A man’s worth was his wealth; the measure of people’s time was how much they earned; together, millions worked, hour after painstaking hour, on what they called “innovation”; good works divinely ordained by their titans; the markets.

Yet something was wrong in CapitalismStan. That very society was foundering. Its middle class was collapsing. It had already had a lost decade; and was starting on another. Its young had become a lost generation, desperately seeking opportunity. Median incomes had stagnated for decades. The economy spun headlong into a great recession; and then it “recovered”; but during the “recovery”, the richest 1% captured 95% of the gains. Millions faced chronic unemployment and poverty. Social mobility was low and decreasing. Life expectancy was dropping.

In short, life in CapitalismStan was getting shorter, nastier, unhappier, and harder. Meanwhile, other rich nations?notably those which did not worship the invisible hand so completely, totally, obediently, and unflappably?had prospered.

Does CapitalismStan’s story sound a little bit like America’s to you?



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