Monday, October 13, 2008

I don't think this gal is starting her negotiation

far enough over. She's starting about where I could stand to end up.
A Capitalist Manifesto
Markets remain our best hope for a better future, by Judy Shelton.

This part's all good:
Where are the champions of free-market capitalism? Someone needs to remind us all that two great works were published in 1776, both representing game-changing advances in human freedom: The Declaration of Independence, authored by future American president, Thomas Jefferson, and "The Wealth of Nations" by Scottish economist Adam Smith. Both embrace the social wisdom of individual liberty; both extol the importance of personal responsibility.

These days, it seems difficult to defend the efficacy, let alone the morality, of an economic approach to human interaction that is now blamed for having put the entire global economy at risk. But that is exactly what we need -- most importantly, from America's next leader.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to help us gain perspective. Deep within the condemning speeches delivered by Mr. Sarkozy, both in New York and Toulon, are the grains of a new approach to capitalism that should give Americans reason to hope, not only for economic salvation but for a sense of redemption on a deeper level. France's president held out the possibility that all is not lost, that we can fix what is broken. "The financial crisis is not the crisis of capitalism," according to Mr. Sarkozy. "It is the crisis of a system that has distanced itself from the most fundamental values of capitalism, which betrayed the spirit of capitalism."

And it keeps being good until we start seeing loopholes. The sections Free-market clarity and Monetary integrity are both good. Financial validity raises the question I've raised in a comment here somewhere: just because I don't understand something doesn't mean nobody does. But nobody in my position should be investing in anything they don't understand. Anybody who sells you something you don't understand is, indeed, a con-man. Regulatory responsibility is good.

Here's the heart of the "Manifesto":
It is time to pay deference to the real economic heroes of capitalism: the self-made entrepreneurs who have the courage to start a business from scratch, the fidelity to pay their taxes, and the dedication to provide real goods and services to their fellow man.

If we can build a new financial and monetary order to serve the needs of these people -- wherever they exist around the world -- we will help to bring about the fulfillment of the highest ideals of capitalism. With freedom comes choice; with choice comes responsibility. What is true within one's own life and one's own community should be true for the world at large. Integrity matters, competence counts, and earnest effort finds its reward. The Latin root of the word "credit" -- credere -- means "to believe." There is no better starting point for restoring morality to capitalism.

Oh, I like this bit, too:
When the owner of a small retail outlet or medium-sized service firm gets into financial trouble -- who steps in to help? Why are the rules to start a business so onerous, why is the bureaucratic process so lengthy, why are the requirements for hiring employees so burdensome? When does the entrepreneur receive the respect and cooperation he deserves for making a genuine contribution to the productive capacity of the economy? Equal access to credit is sacrificed to the overwhelming appetite of big business -- especially when government skews the terms in favor of its friends.

The loopholes are found in two lines "...[G]overnment regulation, at its best, merely functions as the incorruptible referee..." Does the government ever achieve its best? And second, "...the self-made entrepreneurs who to pay their taxes..." They should be credited with having done that and not criticized for paying too little when they've made an honest effort to obey the law, but paying taxes is no more than a prudent act, not a particularly virtuous one. One can not be blamed for handing over his money to an armed robber, but praise is not much in order either. Though, according to Randian morality, I suppose practical behavior is deserving of moral praise.

Ah, I probably have more quibbles with the Declaration of Independence.

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