Sunday, September 21, 2008

Watching History Unfold

A nice post by Jared Bernstein Some lessons to be learned from recent events. (The posts by David Sloan Wilson and Thomas Friedman below says the same thing from other perspectives.)
--Deregulated markets cannot police themselves; they tend toward speculation, vastly underpriced risk, and deeply damaging bubbles;

--An economy that generates growth while leaving most families behind is a broken economy;

--We can neither achieve broad prosperity nor compete globally without robust growth in key sectors which we have ignored or underfunded, including manufacturing, green production, and cradle-to-retirement public education; crafting evermore clever financial instruments will not pave the way to dependable, broadly shared growth;

--No private sector firm should be too big to fail; any firm of that magnitude must be nationalized;

--Capital markets are dysfunctional; borrowing and lending standards are ignored; lax capital requirements lead to constant over-leveraging; shadow accounts thwart transparency;

--We apparently can quickly find (or borrow) the money to do the stuff the authorities deem necessary, be it war or bailout; thus, we can also find the money we need for investment in people, from health care to education to infrastructure, etc.

--Supply-side, trickle-down economics does not work; it exacerbates already excessive levels of market-driven inequalities and defunds government, which leads to:

--Clearly, we need government to be amply funded; as is the case today, we will always turn to federal government to meet the toughest challenges, and if the money isn't there, we'll borrow from the future. This means taxes cannot only be lowered; they must sometimes be raised.

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