William Pfaff has a great article today, with the explicit title of “Why Europe should reject U.S. market capitalism” which I recommend that you read in full.

He reminds us that the current market ideology is just that, an ideology, and that it is thus a political choice, that has nothing inevitable about it and can be reversed. He traces its origins to the combined influence of Milton Friedman (monetarism), Van Hayek (rejection of totalitarism, associated with socialism and too powerful States) and Ayn Rand (the selfishness of superior people against the mob and the weak is a good thing).

This is what underlay the transformation of American corporate culture, and of the American business corporation from an institution with national identity, constrained to reconcile interests of owners, employees and community, into the modern global corporation, effectively controlled by its managers and mandated to the single objective of producing “value” for stockholders, while handsomely rewarded its executives.

This change transformed labor into an anonymous commodity and put both blue-collar and white-collar staff into competition with an effectively unlimited global labor supply, resulting in employment insecurity, reduced or static wages, diminished or eliminated benefits and pensions, and the destructive social pressures of falling living standards.

In the United States, the new model of corporate business has evolved toward a form of crony capitalism, in which business and government interests are often corruptly intermingled, the system resistant to reform because of the financial dependence of both major political parties on contributed money.

As I said, read it all. My only quibble is with the title of the article. I have used my proposal for an amended title as the title for this post…

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