Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Does Capitalism Need Adjustment? (Laurence Vance)

Laurence Vance says the only adjustment we need is to allow real capitalism to flourish instead of the muddled mess we have now:

Piggy Bank Under HammerOne of the worst things that has happened during this economic crisis is that capitalism itself has been attacked without mercy — even by some who generally support the free market. Calls for more regulations, more bailouts, more Fed action, more stimulus packages, more recovery programs, and more government intervention in general can be heard from every quarter.

Not that capitalism hasn't always had its share of critics — even among those who usually espouse some degree of it, like evangelicals. In his recent book, How to Be Evangelical without Being Conservative (Zondervan, 2008), Roger Olson advocates "a highly graduated income tax combined with redistribution of wealth to the poor through education, job training, direct aid to children, subsidized day care for children of poor working mothers and fathers, and other forms of welfare." He rejects Robert Nozick's belief in "small government that interferes as little as possible in the economy" for John Rawls's "limited but active government."

Olson recognizes that "one might argue that Rawls's principles would also require guaranteed work with a living wage for everyone and universal entitlement to health care." But it should not scare us that "these social policies are often labeled 'socialism' by conservatives." Socialism, according to Olson, is "just a word." In fact, these policies are not socialistic at all; they are "simply adjustments to capitalism to ameliorate its tendency to widen the gap between the rich and the poor."

But rather than an adjustment, what capitalism needs is a vigorous defense. This is true now more than at any other time since the Great Depression because all the Depression-era economic fallacies are being resurrected to try to combat the current crisis.

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