Thursday, July 17, 2008

Waning faith in the free market

In the category of things found while looking up other things, here's an interesting front-page piece in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, "Americans may be losing faith in free markets."

The writer, Peter G. Gosselin, quotes several experts, including Kevin Hassett, at the American Enterprise Institute.

William Galston of the Brookings Institution in Washington says, "We're at a hinge point. The strong presumption in favor of markets, which has dominated public policy since the late 1970s, has been thrown very much into question."

Even the American Enterprise Institute's Hassett concurs in the existence of the backlash. "There may be a backlash against markets at the moment," he says, though he goes on to say he doesn't see any alternative view of how things should work.

They cite the convergence of issues: a housing meltdown that resulted from an unregulated corner of the mortgage market (high-risk loans), the price of gasoline (generally blamed on the laws of supply and demand and oil market speculation), disappearing U.S. jobs and worries about retirement investing based on the assumption the stock market will always rise.

"We're [he means Americans] not ready to throw out markets altogether," says economist Robert E. Litan of the Brookings Institution and the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Mo., "but we want government to do something about the excess.


Anonymous said...

Remind me what any of this has to do with Charlotte?

Or did you just post this to tick off those who don't believe in the nanny state you seem to love so much?

Anonymous said...

Times are tough now, the the American ideals of self determination and a free enterprise system are alive and well. Mary has made some absurd statements on her blog before, but this one, of all, really takes the cake. We should all be VERY afraid if her view of the world becomes mainstream.

Anonymous said...

Please investigate who authorized Verna & Assoc. contract to include this:

"Goldstein said he hopes someone can finish the condo tower. If not, he wants his money back. But he's worried that a clause in the contract which says the developer can spend owners' deposits once construction begins means his deposit is gone."

Are people that obsessed with density development downtown that this kind of pilfering is allowed? Is Charlotte that desperate to create tax bases that developers have them by the gonads?

Where is the investigative reporting?

In a free market society this is the risk...nad we should prefer risk to government control ( totalitarianism )
Verna should pay but dearly...

Anonymous said...

You should do another blog entry called "Waning faith in government", just to be fair.

I don't expect you will, though.

Anonymous said...

this "news" paper has turned into such a joke

as has the city itself

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Soylent green is people!

Anonymous said...

At least with the free market, I have some choice as to whether to give any of my money to a particular company in exchange for goods and services. If I don't like them, I can simply switch to another company's product. It's free, after all.

With government, you have no choice except to flee the area they control. And it's a lot of trouble to move. There is nothing free at all about government.

I think the choice of who should have the upper hand is obvious. Less onerous government, more responsible business.

Anonymous said...


This is really bad. I know you are left of most, but this is very disappointing.


Anonymous said...

People are being conditioned from every direction (schools, media, etc) to believe we are nearing depression and it's all because of the flaws in the free market system. This is no surprise, as both academia and the media are admittedly left-leaning. They believe in government control, and are simply doing everything they can to make their case.
However, those of us who have been responsible enough to acquire true accounts of history (not simply what is taught in schools and reported on by the media) know that the world gives us numerous examples of the miserable track record of societies that hand over economic freedoms in favor of government control.
Clearly, the market has its ups and downs, but if you honestly think we will be better off with the government in charge, unfortunately we will be watching history repeat itself.
No amount of lofty hypothetical rationalizations can remove the unavoidable fundamentals of human nature that make government controlled economies fail.

Anonymous said...

It's really alarming that the average poster thinks that the only alternative to an unregulated market is totalitarian governemnt control. A regulated market does not mean absolute government control, it does not mean an elimination of consumer means somone is looking out for you with an eye toward the common good. This is how progress happens, and THAT is what you will observe if you are "responsible enough to acquire true accounts of history." Every significant scientific breakthrough in yuor lifetime has been directly attributable to government funded or incentivized research and development. Without "big brother" drug companies would be too busy coming up with new viagra knock-offs to patent and market rather than develop Aids or Cancer treatments. Oh yeah, and you wouldn't have an internet to post on.

Anonymous said...

Free markets? What free markets?

Can anyone name ONE single business which doesn't draw money from the government to support itself?

The problem is that Americans are almost religiously committed to the ideal of capitalism, to the point that conservative politicians can pull the wool over everyone's eyes in the name of "Free Markets" while handing trillions of tax dollars to private companies. Last time I checked, free markets didn't involve government buyouts and bailouts and handouts every time the economy dipped (which is, ironically, only happening because of of non-free-market economics).

The sick irony is that the worst offenders are the Republicans, who use one side of their face to preach free-market economics and the other side to pilfer the tax coffers for political handouts.

Anonymous said...

That's rich Mary. Someone calls you out on censoring people and you censor them. As an enemy of a capitalistic society, I can see why you are so afraid of those of us calling you out. Yeah, you keep removing posts all you want. The truth about you was exposed a long time ago.

Jumper said...

I must agree with anonymous of the 5:32 post. And note that the press does not have a good record of identifying collusion and price-fixing; and all the other ways the "free" market is controlled. The ironic thing is that fair free markets are seen as a desirable thing by most "liberals," it's just that we are not easily fooled when powerful interests try to con us into thinking their machinations are "free" when they obviously are not. We all know the difference. So, like 2:28 said, we also have waning faith in government. For example, for 3 explitive years, TV has been running "no money down" real estate scams. If I knew this was a GUARANTEED harbinger of real estate collapse, and master of understatement Greenspan mentioned "froth" in real estate, why didn't any responsible parties see the writing on the wall? How obvious does it have to be? Bank failures? Apparently.

Mary Newsom said...

In regard to "censoring," feel free to criticize ideas, including my ideas, but don't be insulting or use crude language. There's a line between civility and incivility. Comments that cross it will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

So, presumably, like Potter Stewart (in that famously poor decision...), you "Know it when you see it"?

JT Lancer said...

In a free and open market, buyers and sellers voluntarily exchange goods and services.

In the public sector, governments coercively collect taxes from willing AND unwilling participants to provide 'services' that many do not want or need.

The free market is the voluntary sector, while the government can 'achieve' nothing without the use of force.

While there is no such thing as the 'free' market (government has its tentacles in everything we do), I'll take freedom of choice over no choice any day.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

See, now, you're gonna get censored for that witticism, even though you didn't actually use any bad language.

Mitch said...

These "free market" failures you allude to are all due to government intervention! Mortgage markets have Fannie & Freddie, government backed entities making bad loans 'cause they know they'll get bailed out. Government pumps money into higher ed, driving up the cost of tuition. Government pumps money and regulation into healthcare, driving up the cost. Government bans developement of our carbon resources, driving up the cost. What a shame to try and blame the market when the government is bastardizing the whole concept by infiltrating it regulation and moral hazards.

Anonymous said...

It's appalling how weakly some forumers seem to understand the full array of options on the table to control our economy.

Yes, we can just throw everything to the dogs and let the strongest competitor win. No matter how much excruciating human misery it inflicts on the majority.

Yes, we can go for Stalinist totalitarianism, and let the government hijack the economy. Same results as above.

But those are only the very extreme ends of the spectrum. Like everything else in life, we exist in the middle range... pursuing extremist ideals will serve us no better than it has served the USSR or Iran or Zimbabwe.

There are SO many ways to adjust our economic system to help the middle class and encourage growth instead of wealth-hoarding. For example, by giving tax breaks to philanthropists the government ensures that America is the most generous nation in the world. By encouraging small businesses with interest-free loans and bankruptcy protection, we can ensure that entrepreneurs have a fighting chance in a Walmart economy.

So moving forward, we should simply drop the extremist dialogue and focus on the true needs of our economy. We need better healthcare -- we need better education -- we need more opportunity -- we need more financial security. And those things can be accomplished without the risk of totalitarian nightmare or renegade capitalism.

But it doesn't start until people put their egos and ideologies aside and work together to form better policy.

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Matt C said...

First of all, Mary simply shared something she read elsewhere. No where in her blog did she advocate the end of free markets.

The American Enterprise Institute that she quotes is one of the most neo-conservative, small government, pro-big business think tanks in the world.

Mary was pointing out that even the AEI has noticed that in these tough times, Americans are possibly beginning to lose faith in free markets. That does not mean she advocates government takeover of all business and economic functions.

Honestly, so many of you are quick to criticize her (anonymously of course) that you fail to understand the topic at hand.

Whether or not Americans are losing faith in the free market is a wonderful topic of discussion for Charlotte and for the country, whichever side of the argument/discussion you are on.

Anonymous said...


Mary Newsom on growth in the Charlotte region

So remind us again what this thread has to do with growth in the Charlotte region. Oh, it has nothing to do with growth? That's about what I was thinking.

It seems much more likely that this thread is her kneejerk reaction to the posts in the previous thread, in which Mary was called to task for her apparent willingness to subvert the free market in the name of preserving a neighborhood, NoDa, because of some errant idea she has that it's absolutely unconscionable to allow free market forces to change it. She didn't like what we anons said and so she dug up something that questions the free market.

I trust the free market over unfree government seven days a week and twice on Sundays. My faith in it, generally speaking, is not waning at all.

But I am disappointed with the more and more common lack of common sense that pervades many companies, including our Big Banks. What were they thinking, making all of those questionable home loans? Haven't they heard of due diligence? Why would you buy another bank that's already saddled with billions of dollars in bad loans? Where's the common sense?

Tom said...

I feel very certain that the anons who jump all over Mary every day are the same ones who waste their time calling into AM talk shows whose only audience is a bunch of ditto-heads who already agree with what the host is saying.

If these people were as passionate about truth and justice as they are about "winning" political battles, we'd be living in paradise by now.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, "tom" lives in Nashville and is a fan of the Boston Bruins. Are we to assume that you've moved down from the North, "tom", and that you long for places like Charlotte and Nashville to be just like Boston is? Because you know there's an easy solution to that problem, and it doesn't involve us changing our cities to be like Boston.

Anonymous said...

You could probably replace 'Atlanta' with 'Charlotte' in this quote.

“Every time I look at Atlanta I see what a quarter of a million Confederate soldiers died to prevent.”–John Shelton Reed

Anonymous said...

Wow. Some of you people are so spoiling for a fight that you fail to realize that all Mary said was "This is an interesting thing I found, what do you think?" not "Hey, this is what I believe, word for word, let's start a fight."

Get over yourselves. If you can't be part of an intelligent discussion of the issues, then just don't submit a comment.

Tom said...

Actually, anon, I'm a Bruins fan because they used to be the parent organization for the Charlotte Checkers. I'm Charlotte born and bred, with family in Mecklenburg and Union county since the 19th century. Thanks for playing.

Seriously, who responds to a post like the one above with ANOTHER personal attack? Talk about fulfilling stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

I love how liberals like to tell people to shut up. Gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

Anonymous said...

Right, like conservatives are so open-minded and inclusive during any discussion.

Anonymous said...

I've long given up on the free market, especially regulation of the mortgage industry. Anyone recall the S & L bailout of the 1980s? I just don't believe real reforms are possible in our system anymore. Sorry!