Greed came before the fall, while the public guardians sleepwalked

Nov/Dec 2008, Volume I, No. 1

The ideological myth that a laissez-faire approach to free markets without government supervision guarantees the best possible public welfare dies hard. And it is the poor and the middle class who suffer most from its recurrent near-death pangs.

The authoritative weekly The Economist (September 28 2008) published an analysis of the recent meltdown of the huge financial houses of Wall Street. It included statistics revealing that in the past decade, the financial service industry's share of total American corporate profits was 40% (up from 8% earlier) amounting to over 1.2 trillion dollars. The Economist calmly commented: "Those of us who have supported financial capitalism are open to the charge that the system we championed has merely enabled a few spivs to get rich."