Capitalism Eats Self, Contemplates Quickest Path To Eating Self Again

(Sad that it has come to this — posting a Dilbert.  Shux, my bad.)

The trust thing:  Capitalism requires it to operate, but it cannot create it, and in fact, when allowed to run amok, will devour trust until it chokes to death on it.

Social trust is built upon cultural institutions that lie outside the realm of money.  So when a culture starts to see all life through the lens of monetary exchange, the sources of trust wither.  And away with trust goes security and community cohesion — two qualities of life that are huge determinants of human well being.

Then we learn that people in most “socialist” European countries are happier than we are.  In these places, so it appears, capitalism is balanced with a strong belief in the common good, and the important role that government can play in maintaining that balance is widely understood.  Trust is preserved, and people thrive.

Which, of course, must be why so many wing nuts can’t utter the word “socialism” without a Cheney-eque sneer of contempt, some members of the Republican National Committee going so far as to propose that the GOP draft a resolution to rename the opposition the “Democratic Socialist Party.”  You want freedom fries with that?

All wing-nuttery aside, it’s encouraging that the financial meltdown has led many to reassess our little experiment with trust-crushing, extreme free-market capitalism.  Although others, apparently not so much:  Last week Paul Krugman wrote:  “Wall Street insiders are taking the mildness of bank policy so far as a sign that they’ll soon be able to go back to playing the same games as before.”  Not that you should trust that liberal elitist Krugman…