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The Jerusalem Post25 Oct ’11
Aversion toward the rich has had strong roots in Zionism since its early leaders embraced Marxist practices.
Is capitalism in crisis? Of course.
fundamentals • public policy • Zionism
Is capitalism in crisis? Of course.
Masses of youngsters and students are rebelling against it, often for good cause, considering the abuses committed in its name.
But blaming capitalism for the recent crisis is like blaming cars for road accidents.
Those responsible for crises or accidents are people, not capitalism or cars. The recent crisis on Wall Street was due to the rapacious rascals who abused our trust, not to the capitalist system.
Capitalism is the best system we have for producing goods and services, but it is not a moral system. Its moral value is in the freedom from want it gives us, the time and the means to exercise choice, for better or for worse.
Freedom encourages creativity, in economics as in the sciences or the arts. But freedom can be abused.
Without a moral compass, freedom can degenerate into license and chaos, as it did recently on Wall Street.
Many consider the Wall Street crisis to be the ultimate proof of the failure of capitalism. However, the crisis did was not the result of “market failures,” but rather of market distortion by government.
This was the result of two massive government interventions. The first occurred after the dot.com crash, when the Federal Reserve flooded the US economy with cheap credit. The second happened when the Clinton appointees who headed the semi-governmental mortgage lenders Fanny May and Freddie Mac created trillions of dollars of worthless mortgages to enable Americans to “own” homes, despite the fact that they lacked the means to pay for them.
These worthless mortgages were used as a basis for the speculation in derivatives that eventually toppled Wall Street’s investment banks and the banking industry generally.
GREED CERTAINLY played a part in the speculative frenzy, but bankers were also forced to pursue unethical practices to stay ahead in a distorted market.
That few resisted the temptation is indeed a moral blot on Wall Street.
But we must also remember that without government intervention the denizens of Wall Street would have not have faced the temptations that led to their transgressions.
As is the case in Israel today, it was the subjection of markets to political manipulation that corrupted both the US economy and politics.
But the haters of capitalism, especially intellectuals, who have been historically envious of money-making “illiterates,” are not impressed by facts.
Aversion toward the rich has had strong roots in Zionism since its early leaders embraced Marxist practices that almost bankrupted the Zionist enterprise. Marxists consider any profit making as exploitative because, according to Marx (and his discredited “labor theory of value”) profit derives only from exploiting someone’s labor. Therefore they consider capitalism the root of all evil and want it destroyed.
They care not that capitalism delivered the world from grinding poverty.
They dismiss as meaningless the spectacular achievements of capitalism in every parameter of human life, from longevity and health to enhancing the status of women and children to increasing knowledge and better education.
They ignore the fact that marketoriented regimes have enabled the lower-income strata, especially the poorest (as in India and China today) an incomparably better standard of living in absolute terms than socialist states, even if in relative terms large gaps still remain within capitalist economies.
Many of those defined as poor in America own their own cars and homes, which are stocked with many electrical appliances. It was not so long ago that those things were the exclusive privilege of the very rich.
Anti-capitalists are obsessed with envy and therefore demand absolute equality of results. It is a unattainable goal since humans are born with such different attributes that only brutal coercion can make them “equal.” The call for “social justice” is therefore often a mask for hatred of the rich.
In Israel the hatred for the rich is justified by the fact that our oligarchs make huge profits through monopolistic practices that plunder the public.
Worse, by creating a non-competitive economy these monopolies reduce efficiency and productivity.
They lower workers wages and lessen the prospects of university graduates landing a well-paying job.
There is also justified anxiety among the young that the revolutionary dislocations created by the information age may leave them jobless.
There are millions of embittered university graduates in the world who invested huge sums of money in worthless degrees in the social “sciences” and such.
Radical leftist professors, protected by spineless university boards, stuffed their students’ minds with moldy 18th-century notions like class warfare, and with debilitating “post modernist” nihilism, instead of giving them the broad knowledge and the useful skills necessary for coping with a changing world. No wonder they are so desperate and angry.
Their anger and confusion are exploited by such groups as the American “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and the “National Left” in other countries (soon in Israel too?).
The abuses by so-called “capitalists” make it easy to channel their rage against capitalism. There are also huge sums of money available to underwrite these “spontaneous” demonstrations (one wonders from what sources). There are networks of anarchists and radical leftists helping organize “protests” even in despised Israel.
What is happening in Greece can teach us that anti-capitalist rage, coupled to a bankrupt welfare state can easily turn such “social protests” violent.
Compared to the disaster such violent protests and strikes can wreak, even the most serious problems plaguing capitalism may seem like child’s play.
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What does it say about Israeli society and the system of government when a prime minister is convicted of taking bribes?
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The Jerusalem Post11 Jul ’13
As he completes an exceptionally difficult 8-year tour of duty during a worldwide financial crisis, Stanley Fischer has achieved a unique status.
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The Weekly Standard22 Apr ’13
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The Jerusalem Post7 Dec ’12
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Israel Hayom8 Nov ’12
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The Financial Times21 Jun ’12
Israel Hayom6 Jun ’12
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The Jerusalem Post7 May ’12
The Wall Street Journal3 May ’12
Reform-minded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is stymied by bureaucrats and monopoly tycoons.
Middle East Quarterly30 Mar ’12
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The Jerusalem Post17 Feb ’12
The choice is between an efficient, growth-inducing market economy or a welfare state, meaning a huge government that actually harms the poor and inhibits prosperity.
The Jerusalem Post10 Aug ’11
The tent-dwellers’ revolt calls for the enforcement of ‘the will of the people’ (like all autocrats). It refuses to rely on Democracy.
The Jerusalem Post9 Aug ’11
David Lewis, the exceptional entrepreneur and philanthropist, and head of the Isrotel Group dies at 87
The Jerusalem Post20 Jul ’11
Although MKs appear concerned over rising costs, it was they who allowed this injustice to occur in the first place.
The Jerusalem Post28 Jun ’11
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The New Republic19 May ’11
A Middle East peace strategy that could actually work.
The Jerusalem Post15 Mar ’11
Israel needs to slash its state budget by as much as possible if it wants a chance at fighting waste and corruption.
The Jerusalem Post9 Mar ’11
Too little attention has been paid to how Egypt’s socialist past and welfare-state present shaped the current rebellion.
The Jerusalem Post7 Feb ’11
The Herzliya Conference has become an important international event, but one central issue is absent: Israel’s debilitating economic concentration.
The Jerusalem Post22 Jan ’11
It’s highly unlikely that government can ever learn to make long-term plans and execute them efficiently.
The Jerusalem Post23 Dec ’10
How can one dare compare narrow-minded religion with the all-embracing faith of universality and equality that is socialism?
The Jerusalem Post1 Dec ’10
Many of the social and economic troubles we are experiencing are due to the public’s lack of understanding of the need for economic literacy.
The Jerusalem Post17 Oct ’10
The PM’s courageous decision to tackle economic concentration was misrepresented by several of our media publications—owned of course by tycoons.
The Wall Street Journal8 Oct ’10
Economic concentration hurts the country’s viability and the chances for peace.
The Jerusalem Post4 Oct ’10
A damaging ethos of ‘welfarism’ and distributive politics has come to dominate not only academia but our cultural, military and even our business elites.
The Jerusalem Post19 Aug ’10
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The Jerusalem Post13 Jul ’10
Kagan’s admiration for Justice Aharon Barak’s philosophy may have revealed her own predilection for radical judicial activism.
The Jerusalem Post30 May ’10
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The Wall Street Journal18 May ’10
The OECD’s invitation to Israel is a “seal of approval” but the country still needs more reforms.
The Jerusalem Post10 Feb ’10
The world’s astonishment at Israel’s response to the Haiti disaster is insulting. What we saw there was Israel’s true face.
The Jerusalem Post10 Jan ’10
Individual initiative and freedom are essential for creativity—in hi-tech as in all other spheres.
The Jerusalem Post14 Oct ’09
As far as Rose Friedman was concerned, public kudos did not matter that much. She persisted in being a rose, no matter what.
The Jerusalem Post22 Sep ’09
Lasting peace must grow from the bottom up, from an “economic peace process” that proves what advantages peace has to offer on a daily basis. It cannot come from signing peace agreements with radical and corrupt entities propped up by corrupting Western handouts.
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