Thu May 29th, 2008 at 04:48:34 PM EST
Sorry, this is a bit indirect, but here's a copy of a book review of James Galbraith's new book:
Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, by James K. Galbraith. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Free Press, 2008.
The copy is from economist Mark Thoma's blog where there is also a lively discussion going on. (The original review seems to be behind a pay wall.)
The general theses can be simply stated. First, while conservatives toyed with laissez-faire, they quickly abandoned it in all important areas of policy-making. For them, it now serves as nothing more than an enabling myth, used to hide the true nature of our world. Ironically, only the progressive still takes the call for "market solutions" seriously, and this is the major barrier to formulating sensible policy. Second, the "industrial state" has been replaced by a predator state, a coalition of relentless opponents of the very idea of a "public interest", whose purpose is to master the state structure in order to empower a high plutocracy with nothing more than vile and rapacious goals. ...
I certainly think that there is a myth promoted my free-marketeers that this what business desires. But, I tend to think those who really promote this are some flavor of libertarians or dupes paid (indirectly) by the libertarian super wealthy that support many of these think tanks.
What big business wants is an uneven playing field, tilted in their direction. That's why they are always lobbying for favorable tax breaks, subsidies and being allowed to bypass anti-trust laws. No true capitalist want to compete fairly, they want to dominate.
I wonder if this free market, libertarian nonsense has as much power in Europe. It seems that the UK is (partially) in the grip of this ideology, but France and Germany are still resisting.
Amazing how sanity can endure when self-interest isn't being purchased by the plutocracy through political back channels.