Sunday, October 19, 2008

Libertarianism is dead!

Or so says Jacob Weisberg on Slate.

Haven't you people done enough harm already? We have narrowly avoided a global depression and are mercifully pointed toward merely the worst recession in a long while. This is thanks to a global economic meltdown made possible by libertarian ideas.

I won't reprint his whole column here; please click the link and take the time to read it since it's fairly short. My point is that I wholeheartedly agree with his declaration that this crisis makes abundantly clear how disastrous the idea of unregulated markets is.

Now let me be clear in stating that this does not mean the death of an open and competitive marketplace. By no means. We know some of the tenets of free market capitalism work, namely the law of supply and demand, and that competition keeps prices down and innovation going (unless you're talking about pharmaceuticals, that is). But when it comes to some of the worst practices out there, we didn't have regulation when we needed it. The central tenet of libertarianism is that the market will regulate itself. And, to repeat Mr. Weisberg, the purists say that what we're seeing is an example of the market bringing itself back into alignment. Well, that's all well and good as far as theory goes, but in reality, right now we're looking at people losing their homes, losing their jobs, not being able to afford college, etc, etc. And that is not acceptable. Will the market ever find its way around to giving all that back? Somehow I doubt it.

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