Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fareed Zakaria's "The Capitalist Manifesto"

I just finished reading Fareed Zakaria's article in Newsweek entitled "The Capitalist Manifesto". As I was trying to ask myself, "So what do you think?", I started googling to see what the critics had to say. While I don't agree with all the criticism, some of it is really spot on.

As Derek Thompson writes in the Atlantic:

"In the pantheon of political and economic commentators, there is perhaps no one who writes so lucidly with such utter calm and reasonableness as Fareed Zakaria. His columns aren't Cracker Jack boxes bursting with goshwow revelations. They're mugs of warm milk that go down nice and smooth, filling you with a kind of zen peace and a dozy satisfaction that everything is going to be alright. He can be Obama with a pen and history PhD."
Really, since I read "The future of freedom", I strongly admire Zakaria as a writer and a commentator. In large part, I share his politics, and agree with him more often then not. For example, the manner in which he "contextualizes" hyperbolic utterances by important people makes sense.

During extraordinary times, people will sometimes take the ridiculous seriously.

While I agree with his diagnosis, I am not quite convinced of his medicine. Unfortunately, I don't have a silver bullet myself, but to expect self-regulation to be the most important pillar seems like asking for too much. To expect the backbone of the current compensation structure to be broken by people who derive the most benefit from it, is like expecting an emperor to abdicate the throne in favor of democracy.

Possible, sure. Probable, naah!

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