Free Markets, Free Money, Regulation Free

Which countries are most in favour of the free market?

Laissez-faire capitalism may be losing some of its shine.  After the real estate bubble caused in part by “liars” mortgages, bundling of “liars” mortgages as highly rated securities, the failure of well known financial houses, and  skulduggery that allowed financial officers to be paid seven figure bonuses for betting on highly speculative leveraged  investments.

You might think that some people would get a little suspicious of industries that have little regulation as they check to see if their wallet is still there. But the US, despite its being the source of much of the financial misery of the last great recession, continues to be one of the biggest supporters of the free market.

We know the story about free markets being self-regulating and it really sounds swell.  Except that the most able among us are the most likely to use their abilities to steal.  Oh, I know these guys are too smart to get caught with their finger in the till.  They are plenty smart enough to create innovative financial instruments that, even to a slow investment banker, might look a little off.  “But, if it doesn’t have MY finger prints on it…”  well, it’s better not to make waves.

Reading forums from “back in the day,” I see real elation in some of the posts where they delight in the easy money in home equity loans and rising real estate demand.

This may sound like a lot of fussin’ and it’s water under the bridge.  But these are the people who detest regulation.  Yes, the very checks and balances that could have protected the economy are being fought by industry and the lobbyists they employ.  That’s because those who have been sucking money from the economy want to ensure they will still be able to again after things have settled down.

In a more distant and simpler world before computerized  trading and credit default swaps, all people wanted was a “square deal” also known as a “fair deal.”   Locks on doors are there to keep honest people honest.  Other people, who know how smart they are just spend their days breaking codes and cutting keys because “as long as their fingerprints aren’t on it they aren’t going to leave anything on the table.   We need regulation to protect us from ourselves.

FAITH in the free market is at a low in the world’s biggest free-market economy. In 2010, 59% of Americans asked by GlobeScan, a polling firm, agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that the free market was the best system for the world’s future. This has fallen sharply from 80% when the question was first asked in 2002.  Among poorer Americans under $20,000, faith in capitalism fell from 76% to 44% in just one year. Of the 25 countries polled, support for the free market is now greatest in Germany, just ahead of Brazil and communist China, both of which have seen strong growth in recent years. Indians are less enthusiastic despite recent gains in growth. Italy shows a surprising fondness for markets for a place that is uncompetitive in many sectors. In France under a third of people believe that the free market is the best option, down from 42% in 2002

The Economist reports…


About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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2 Responses to Free Markets, Free Money, Regulation Free

  1. Susan Sayler says:

    The answer is not more or less regulation, the answer lies completely with no more secrecy. Every single transaction, big or small, is in full view. Corporations do not need privacy rights. They aren’t people.

    • carlos says:

      The Supremes recently determined that corporations (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) have the same rights as people. To bolster this argument it is clear that corporations are capable of gang rape.

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