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November 15, 2008


Wilkinson's response seems to me worth linking to as an addendum to the post.

I read his response, and thanks to Gary for providing the link.

The response contains this:

The Detroit bailout is exactly what it looks like: a huge subsidy to several remarkably inefficient but politically well-protected firms.

That is actually a credible and reasonable argument against the bailout. Lots of folks, quite possibly NOT including me, might disagree with it. But it's concrete enough to actually evaluate on the merits.

It's about THIS bailout, for THIS sum of money, for THIS industry, in THIS economy and political context.

What it is NOT is a statement that large-scale economic dislocation is, if regrettable, something we all just have to accept, because The Market Must Be Served.

Nobody's calling for the nationalization of the auto industry. Nobody's calling for a command economy. Nobody's calling for anything remotely approaching actual socialism.

The economy is in significant retraction. If we don't actually intervene, a lot of people are going to be in a world of hurt. I mean, seriously.

Not "this will be a bad Christmas".

More like "We will lose everything we have and will be starting over at zero".

Stuff like that happens, and folks get through it. That's reality. But it's cruel, harsh, brutal reality. It's a lot of suffering.

It destroys people's physical and mental health. It destroys marriages and families. It drives people into dependency of various kinds. It wastes lifetimes of good-faith effort.

It's more than a "pang".

If folks like Wilkinson, who appears to be living a fairly privileged life, want to be taken seriously, it behooves them to demonstrate that they take *that* seriously.

Bad things happen when the wheels really come off.

Thanks -

Should we do away with corporations because we have religious faith in "free" markets?


...ok, I'll expand on that. More specifically, since corporate status (which has its fingerprints on virtually EVERYTHING of modern economics) is a grant of privilege via government, there are only two roads to be taken from realizing it and all that such a grant has meant:

-Allow it, but seek to make the rules strict enough to largely discourage its use anyway. Meanwhile, dedicate a substantial amount of the money earned thanks to such privilege to correcting the inevitable imbalances -- responding to any criticism of the correction by the corporatists with little more than an upraised middle finger.

-Remove it, having decided the contradiction isn't worth the trouble -- if not having realized that the initial use of force to prop up big business was, y'know, blatantly unjust anyway.

Basically, if you can't make corporations your b*tch, then there's no reason to allow them to exist. I'm inclined towards choice #2.

"Now, however, the pro-regulation camp has more or less vanished"

You need glasses.

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