Sunday, 28 September 2008

another "ism" bites the dust?

I grew up in the time of the cold war. Communism was the big enemy, and ranged against it were the forces of freedom, principally the US. Then down came the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, and most of the Communist countries embraced democracy and Capitalism. The world was suddenly a better, freer and safer place.

Many western governments shifted a little to the right - George W Bush in the US, John Howard in Australia. Leftist governments and parties, such as Labor in the UK, seemed to shift to the safe middle ground - instead of reform there was fiscal responsibility.

Market forces were even considered the most effective means to solve many environmental issues. Capitalism was undisputed king, and the market was considered to be effectively self-regulating.

But the unfolding financial mess in the US, and gradually enveloping the world, has begun to change that perception. Suddenly people are saying that the market may self-regulate in the long term, but in the short term many people will get burned, and some corporate leaders will make a killing even as they retire in disgrace.

Suddenly even some world leaders are saying that the unbridled capitalism of the US has been the culprit, and more regulation and transparency is required in the future. They say the world will not be the same again, and the US will lose its pre-eminent position in the world economy.

Perhaps, merely two decades after the demise of Communism, we are witnessing the effective demise of unbridled free market Capitalism, in favour of some more moderate and more moderated "ism"?

0 comments so far: