Friday, October 24, 2008

Will Capitalism Save Us?

Steve Forbes thinks so.

How Capitalism Will Save Us -
We are experiencing the devastating consequences of a chain of major economic policy errors, which, to use a current cliché, created the perfect storm. These government blunders temporarily paralyzed the global credit system and are now sending the U.S. and Europe into recession, while sharply cutting back Asia's growth rates.

Left to its own devices, the credit crisis, which began in August 2007, would have crushed economies as severely as did the Great Depression.

Belatedly, but thankfully, governments recognized that the only way to get credit flowing again was for them to make quick and direct massive infusions of new equity into beleaguered banks, as well as commit to other emergency measures hitherto unimaginable.

If sensible rescue efforts continue--and they will--the immediate crisis will quickly pass. Shell-shocked businesses and consumers won't recover rapidly from the trauma of recent months, especially as we now cope with recession. But the downturn shouldn't be prolonged: The economy here and those overseas should start to pick up no later than next spring.

That soon? Despite the crisis, the global economy still retains enormous strengths. Between the early 1980s and 2007 we lived in an economic Golden Age. Never before have so many people advanced so far economically in so short a period of time as they have during the last 25 years. Until the credit crisis, 70 million people a year were joining the middle class. The U.S. kicked off this long boom with the economic reforms of Ronald Reagan, particularly his enormous income tax cuts. We burst from the economic stagnation of the 1970s into a dynamic, innovative, high-tech-oriented economy. Even in recent years the much-maligned U.S. did well. Between year-end 2002 and year-end 2007 U.S. growth exceeded the entire size of China's economy. Obviously China's growth rates were higher, but China was coming off a much smaller base.

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