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Actually, once I read all of Galbraith's essay (and not just the paragraphs I posted), I was a bit disappointed. That's because he didn't relate the predatory economics he speaks of to capitalism in general.

So I would suggest supplementing his essay with the following speculations.

Let's say there are three kinds of capitalism: unrestrained capitalism, regulated capitalism, and predatory capitalism. Clearly, it is possible to imagine economies falling under the unrestrained/unregulated capitalist model that don't exhibit the predatory qualities that Galbraith writes about. So how does one relate the two?

Well, as we know since Hegel (Marx simply followed him here), unregulated capitalism leads to an increasing differentiation between the rich and the poor, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Sooner or later, this begins to undermine the political principle that each individual's voice must be considered equally, no matter how much income or wealth that person has. In other words, when the difference between the wealthy and the rest of the population, not to mention the poor, becomes sufficiently extreme, it is inevitable that the wealthy acquire a dispraportionate influence over the political system. And that gets you to predatory capitalism. In other words, unregulated capitalism inevitably leads to predatory capitalism (unless society comes to its senses and regulates the economy), but the two represent different periods of historical development.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 04:39:16 AM EST
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