I'm sick of all the palaver about Obama's so-called gifts to poor and middle-class voters. Republicans are free marketeers. Romney was virtually breastfed on Adam Smith. These people are supposed to understand capitalism. Didn't they ever hear of the invisible hand?
Often, only a major crisis can make us abandon one set of beliefs and take up another. So maybe the only way to move past the economics of scraps is to make a full return to it, letting it lead us back to the precipice of 2008, and to step off into a new Great Depression.
I have never shied away from being a staunch believer in capitalism as an economic system. Not that capitalism is perfect. It is far from it, as evidenced by a myriad of environmental catastrophes, social ills and corrupt behavior.
While praising a "free market," they would thus learn to privatize the profits, and, with the help of people in government who shared their ideology or perhaps a little of their prosperity, or both, to socialize the losses -- to make the public pay for huge bad bets made by bankers.
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.
Adam Smith, an 18th century economist, pioneered the concept of the "invisible hand" to describe how capitalism through self-interest, competition, and supply and demand, more effectively allocated resources than the "dead hand" of the state.
Who wouldn't agree that our society is capitalistic, based on competition and selfishness? As it happens, however, huge areas of our lives are also based on gift economies, barter, mutual aid, and giving without hope of return.
In attempt to make improvements on which we all agree, Obama confronts a wide ideological division and an opposition that is resolute in that they don't care how bad they make it for the American people.
Given what has happened to our economy in the last decade, it's hard to believe that any of the "freshwater," "efficient market" economists still have jobs, much less, credibility in how the economy actually works.