There are certain aspects of America that I find enormously attractive -- the openness and friendliness of the people, their generosity and the lack of a stifling European-style class system. However, there is a side to America that I find extremely unsettling -- the relentless fixation on money.
Is the free market really free? Or does it come at the expense of civic values we neglect at our peril? That's one of many questions I found myself pondering after reading What Money Can't Buy by Michael J. Sandel.
Even though capitalism has not been laid to rest, it is fair to say that capital is losing its status as the most important factor of production in our economic system. Capital is being superseded by the ability to innovate -- and therefore by human talents.
Although an issue like health care certainly reflects many of the broader ideological schisms in our political debate, amiss in ideological debates like these is the technical reality of the unique challenge posed by health care.
The very ideology that the United States assumed would defeat all comers has in fact been turned against the United States. Liberal democracy contains within it the very seeds of the American empire's destruction. Call it blowback, TINA-style.
As the presidential election is now shaping up, voters will not be given a choice to rebuke Wall Street by either major party. Expect razor-thin differences between Romney and Obama on the key issues at the heart of our economic crisis.
States must preserve their rights to operate the health insurance exchange: If states do not build an exchange, the Affordable Care Act requires that the federal government step in and run the exchange.
The state of the world is fraught with unprecendented imbalances and tremendous risks, and institutions are struggling to keep up with the changing times. Our only way out will be to make decisions that consider all stakeholders.
With or without Wealth of Nations on the presidential reading list, markets aren't going away. Neither is oil or the need for a free people to protect ourselves and our environment from recklessness in the pursuit of it.