Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Off the Shelf - A War for Hearts and Minds, Economically Speaking - Review - NYTimes.com
A YEAR ago, Ian Bremmer was invited to the Chinese Consulate in New York, along with a group of economists and scholars, to discuss the financial crisis. Shortly after he arrived, Mr. Bremmer, a political risk consultant who has been widely published, was surprised to hear a Chinese diplomat ask them, "Now that the free market has failed, what do you think is the proper role for the state in the economy?"

Mr. Bremmer recounts this tale in the introduction of "The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?" ...

The way he sees it, China and Russia are using what he calls "state capitalism" to advance the interests of their companies at the expense of their American rivals. But that is not the only battle he describes in his book. The other is the struggle for the hearts and minds of emerging-market giants like Brazil and India that are leaning toward the free market, but still haven't fully embraced it.

... he argues that the United States needs to stand shoulder to shoulder with its capitalist allies in Europe against the threat he sees. He doesn't deny that there are differences between American capitalism and the Scandinavian variety, to say nothing of the French, which the American right never tires of bashing. Yet he argues that the United States and Europe share a core assumption that the private sector, not government, should be a primary engine of growth.

The same cannot be said of the practitioners of state capitalism. ...

If you can't pay the bills, it's not sustainable.
by marco on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:43:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The backdoor corporate comeback

It is hard to argue with Ian Bremmer's starting assumption that proponents of free market capitalism have a problem, after the financial crisis and recession, in making their case to sceptics in the developing world. Yet it is a very big jump from there to his suggestion that state capitalism in the developing world threatens free markets and the future of the global economy.

As for the title of his book, which announces the end of the free market and posits open warfare between states and corporations, one can only say it is wildly over the top. Equally questionable is whether state capitalism, defined as "a system in which the state plays the role of leading economic actor and uses markets primarily for political gain", is as novel as Bremmer claims. Mussolini's brand of statist economic management would fit perfectly with that description.

(...) this remains very much in the genre of the scare story book. The risk in such books is that, like Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber's Le D éfi Americain, they choose the wrong target. Or they over-hype the scare in the interests of making a bigger splash. The End Of The Free Market falls clearly into the latter camp.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 04:37:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series