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January 30, 2022

Throwing out the capitalist baby with its bath water?

By Deirdre McMurdy, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Ok. We get it already. Capitalism sucks and we should all be ashamed of ourselves for being greedy or at least for enabling all the greedheads who've been running around stuffing their pockets full of cash over the past few years.

It's human nature to react strongly when things like an economic crisis blow through our lives and it's even more predictable that everyone starts spinning around pointing fingers and laying blame.

But there is such a thing as overkill - and exploitation of a crisis to score political or personal points. Once again yesterday, President Obama decalred that the US$18-billion paid out in Wall Street bonuses last year were "shameful." At the same time, exuberant U.S.-style capitalism was taking it on the chops at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Former communist states, Russia and China got in their licks as did the Europeans, who are taking renewed pride in their kinder, gentler hybrid of socialism and capitalism.

Before we tread one more step down this path, let's pause to remember all the wealth and development that's been created by, well, constructive greed. Rampant capitalism is no worse in the end than any other rampant ideology. The extreme end always distorts things and tends to end badly.

But before we heap any more logs onto the blazing pyre, let's also consider that some of the pious finger-wagging is coming from folks who could have been more pro-aactive about regulating and monitoring phenomena like hedge funds, private equity funds and all the highly-engineered financial products they pushed into the market.

It's not unlike a parent blaming a child for burning down the house with the matches they gave to them.



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