Thursday, January 26, 2012

Francis Fukuyama on the crisis of capitalism and democracy

Wouldn't it be nice, Francis Fukuyama writes in an article called "The Future of History" in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, if some "obscure scribbler ... in a garret somewhere" would "outline an ideology of the future that could provide a realistic path toward a world with healthy middle-class societies and robust democracies."
This ideology, Fukuyama goes on:
"could not begin with a denunciation of capitalism as such, as if old-fashioned socialism were still a viable alternative. It is more the variety of capitalism that is at stake and the degree to which governments should help societies adjust to change. Globalization need be seen not as an inexorable fact of life but rather as a challenge and an opportunity that must be carefully controlled politically. The new ideology would not see markets as an end in themselves; instead, it would value global trade and investment to the extent that they contributed to a flourishing middle class, not just to greater aggregate national wealth.
"It is not possible to get to that point, however, without providing a serious and sustained critique of much of the edifice of modern neoclassical economics, beginning with fundamental assumptions such as the sovereignty of individual preferences and that aggregate income is an accurate measure of national well-being."
Read it at Harvard Business Review Blog
by Justin Fox
(h/t Mark Thoma)

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