Friday, October 10, 2008

The end of American capitalism?

That's the headline on a Washington Post article today.

Well no, it's not the end of capitalism. But as this and many other commentaries are noting, it's the end of an unbridled "free market" phase.

Joe Klein of Time magazine observes that

the public seems ready to turn to the government for protection. In a collapsing economy, government regulation ... sounds more comforting than stultifying.

The desire for more government activism is true across the board. All of a sudden, government-provided infrastructure programs — and that's what most of McCain's despised "earmarks" are — don't sound like such a waste of money ...

We're moving into a phase where the questions are going to be: what kind of government action, determined by who, and for whose benefit? That is going to be the shape of struggles for the coming period. Already, what we call the all-people's coalition that is emerging in the current presidential campaign, led so dynamically by the labor movement, is putting forward a framework for every progressive American to work on in the coming period, as a new administration and new Congress confront this situation.

No capitalism isn't dead, but the struggle is shifting to a majority movement challenging unfettered corporate greed in a new way.

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