Monday, September 22, 2008

Market disasters and government bailouts

Why is it that over the past one hundred plus years, every time so-called conservatives and the right-wing deregulate markets and let ‘capitalism’ move unfettered, they bring us to the brink of total economic collapse? It happens over and over again. In the past century some of the major meltdowns have been 1907, 1929, 1987, and now 2008. And here is the kicker: every time this happens, the free-market gurus called in the government to bail them out and save them from ruin! This is the government that they never tire of telling us is inefficient and totally useless. Well, if it is so useless why does the market need it so often to come to the rescue? There are, of course, a few simple answers to this question. First of all, ‘free’ markets are a myth like the Yeti or his north-American cousin the Sasquatch. Almost no one has really believed in ‘free’ markets for well over a hundred years. What conservatives and the right-wing really believe in are selectively controlled and regulated markets designed to maintain the profitability of banks and large corporations. If we really had a ‘free’ market the system would collapse before you could say ‘junk-bonds,’ leading to mass-starvation and chaos. The reason that the Right pretends to believe in ‘free’ markets is because it creates a smokescreen for the so-called conservative agenda in which the rich get richer and average people get the shaft. And the poor saps who buy this imaginary ideology keep voting for the right-wing which works against the interest of the vast majority of people. But of course the right-wing, market gurus are happy to use the tax money of this majority to bail the ‘market’ out of disaster.

The fact is that markets, even well regulated ones, simply don’t work very well, particularly in areas of society concerned with ‘social’ interests like education or health-care. When markets are allowed to even partially function in these areas of society they only serve to highlight the discrepancy between rich and poor. When are the people going to wake up to the lies that the right-wing has been peddling all this time about inefficient and useless governments and the divine perfection of the market? But I suspect that not enough people will realize the sham and if the government is able to bail out the system again this time, twenty or so years from now we will be right back where we started with the useless and inefficient government once again saving the infallible market!

Make no mistake, Stephen Harper’s entire ideology is giant confidence trick perpetrated with smoke, mirrors, and misdirection. It is time for us to stand up and admit that markets need more regulations not less, and market forces need to be kept out or more parts of our society to avoid social inequality and disaster.

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