Andy Stern, writing in the Wall Street Journal, covers familiar ground. They do things better elsewhere. Give up, America: adopt a foreign ideology. His title/subtitle combo — “China’s Superior Economic Model: The free-market fundamentalist economic model is being thrown onto the trash heap of history” — provides a grand example of passive voice construction allowing evasion of the crucial elements: Who throws what away?
First, the what: “The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model” described as “so successful in the 20th century” . . . with no discussion, absolutely none, as to what extent our business life is actually run by this “model.”
“Shareholder only”? Some of the biggest businesses in the U.S. are privately held, not publicly traded. Not a few huge and influential enterprises, like the absurdly mismanaged postal service, the disruptive Fannie and Freddie, and the morally bankrupt Federal Reserve are government-created and not public in the shareholder-model sense. Add in taxes, regulation, and a perpetual deficit government budget, backed by the inflationist Fed, and the truth pops up exactly opposed to Stern’s: America’s a very mixed “mixed economy.”
In this context, who holds to “free-market fundamentalism”? A number of people, almost exclusively on the outs. The richest and most powerful insiders work against free markets, no matter what they say. Hence bailouts, subsidies, and a whole lot of “planning.”
China may be “blessed” with a huge population aiming to get ahead and with a government that runs budget surpluses, while we are cursed, primarily, with continuous deficit financing of the federal government, and everything that entails.
The solution? Reassert the model Stern wants to chuck.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.