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What Ails Capitalism

Matt Taibbi has a great take down of Fareed Zakaria’s recent essay on capitalism.  One has to wonder how Zakaria can be so full of bullshit without imploding from it.  If there is any lesson to be taken from the last 12 months of economic news it’s the fact that greed is NOT GOOD.  How can anyone not conclude that, and yet there it is in the title of his essay.  His answer to what ails us comes down to:

“There needs to be a deeper fix within all of us, a simple gut check. If it doesn’t feel right, we shouldn’t be doing it.”

Sounds like something you would hear in a kindergarten class.  Yeah, that always worked on the school yard bullies.

The whole problem with capitalism these days is that corporations exist for one and only one purpose — to return a profit to shareholders.  To a corporation, there’s no such thing as a “simple gut check”.  Corporations don’t have a gut.  They don’t have feelings.  They don’t give a rat’s ass about anything other than producing profits.  They don’t care about producing quality products or even safe products.  All they care about is producing products that are profitable.  They don’t care about consumers, they don’t care about providing a safe workplace for workers or a decent wage.  That gets in the way of profits.  They don’t care about the environment, or what harm they do to the world for future generations.  The one and only concern is the bottom line and how much money can be made today.

You want to “fix” capitalism, you have to recognize that it breeds greed and self-centeredness and lack of concern for others and future generations.  Capitalism is dangerous, and you need to treat it as such.  You need tough laws and rigorous oversight and regulation.  Not lectures on “doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do”.