Stupid socialists, blind capitalists.

June 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

An Obvious Secret | The Weekly Standard. The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce by Deirdre N. McCloskey.This book review outlines the arguments McCloskey makes for capitalism as the incubator of bourgeois virtues: courage, justice, temperance, prudence, faith, hope, and love. Most of her arguments for the failure of socialism rest on examples from the U. S., while she conflates socialism with various 20th Century totalitarian states. Can’t partial capitalism incubate social values? Can’t some state monopolies duplicate the efficiencies of large organizations? No one should defend stupid socialism: if a program doesn’t work in terms of cost, get rid of it or change it; if you don’t have the money to implement a program, don’t implement it. I’ve always loved the fact that the first socialist government in North America (1948 – Saskatchewan) was run by a bunch of tight fisted farmers who’d be disciplined by the depression to do the most the could with the dollars they had. Stupid socialism has wrecked Greece, Portugal and possibly Spain and Italy. Stupid capitalism wrecked Ireland and Iceland.  Sweden, on the other hand, has weathered the recession fairly well. Even when right of center governments have come to power in many socially democratic nations, they mostly have moved the balance a little more towards free enterprise without torching all government programs. Great Britain may turn out to be the exception, but so far it looks like gutless capitalism – half way measures that won’t make anyone too annoyed.

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