Sunday, May 29, 2005

unregulated capitalism

I believe that American style anything-goes capitalism is a disaster, every bit as damaging to society as centrally controlled communist economies. The best economic system is a well-regulated capitalism. I know this is hard to achieve and hard to even contemplate for those who think that goverment regulation is a road to tyranny. I remember reading in the Old Testament somewhere that one of the ancient nations, possibly Sumer, prospered with the benefit of an efficient bureaucracy. Those who believe that private industry is inherently more efficient that bureaucracy need only to look at the USA health care system: a self-perpetuating gordian knot of insurance firms, HMOs, and drug companies. Very little of the money we spend on health care seems to go to health care.

Government regulations are especially important regarding production and use of scarce resouces. Ancient Japan saved itself from economic collapse from deforestation, by strict regulation concerning logging, according to Jared Diamond, in his book Collapse. A Norwegian friend informed me that centuries ago the Norwegian king imposed strict fishing controls, and preserved Norway's fisheries for centuries. No doubt these regulations were extremely unpopular. They are the sort of painful choices America must make soon to stave off economic collapse.

1 comment:

monkeygrinder said...

I tend to agree. Heck, I remember the hue and cry for deregulation back in the early nineties.

Now we've got a "free market", and my cable bill is tripled.

Free to steal.