Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Capitalism - on or off the rails?

Left and right have different takes this morning on the carnage that continues to flow from the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The Guardian has an extended leader saying:
It is a moment Karl Marx would have relished. From every angle financial capitalism is taking a battering.
Meanwhile, in the Telegraph, Jeff Randall says: "Capitalism - it's painful, but it works". Or does he? In fact, he says:
Soon enough we will discover if the core of Western finance is just an elaborate Ponzi scheme, underpinned only by new waves of suckers, or an imperfect but flexible machinery that, despite its flaws, has the capacity to withstand shocks.

Either way, it seems to me, [US Treasury Secretary] Paulson was right to turn off the tap. If the system is rotten, why shore it up? If it's not, then it will - somehow - survive without more state aid.
The closest Randall comes to an endorsement of capitalism is this:
Nobody said that capitalism was devised to provide soft landings for hopeless losers.
Hardly a ringing endorsement.

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