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Capitalism and Democracy

June 30th, 2003 · No Comments

The Economist celebrates its 160 years of publishing with an editorial and survey on Capitalism and Democracy. Some excerpts:

In the 1840s the main task, amid the mania, was to try to get the doors of liberty open in the first place. Now the doors have at last swung thankfully wide. The task is to keep them open…Pressure is growing to push them closed againor, at least, to stop them from opening any wider. That pressure has many causes. Economic crises in the poor world have reminded people of capitalism’s inherent instability. Unemployment in the rich world has reminded people of its inherent tendency to create inequality and of the disruptive effect on existing jobs when poor countries such as China or India succeed in growing richer. Political tensions between America and Europe as well as between the few rich countries and the many poor, especially (though not only) in Muslim countries, lead many to doubt whether further international integration is viable. Some blame globalisation, some a lack of democratic control; others hope and pray that liberal capitalism has had its time in the sun and that now something else will be tried.

The main dangers to the success of capitalism are the very people who would consider themselves its most ardent advocates: the bosses of companies, the owners of companies, and the politicians who tirelessly insist that they are pro-business. At the intersection of these groups lies most of what is wrong with capitalism, and the best opportunties to make that system even more successful than it has been thus far.

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