Techdirt Podcast Episode 177: Why People Don't Trust Capitalism Anymore

from the market-based dept

The tides of public opinion on economics seem to be shifting, and criticism of the very idea of free markets is on the rise. The conversation is messy, confusing, and transcends many traditional political boundaries — so we've got an expert source to help us dig in. EconTalk host Russ Roberts joins us to look at why so many people don't trust capitalism anymore.

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Filed Under: capitalism, economics, free markets, podcast, russ roberts

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  1. identicon
    Peter, 8 Aug 2018 @ 8:53am

    Historical Parallels

    It's an interesting topic, though I think you could have benefited from having a guest who would have articulated some of the critiques of the current market system.

    I am not a historian, but I think there's some really fascinating historical parallels between this discussion and similar arguments from a century ago. Back then, communism, socialism, and the progressive movement were a reaction to the excesses of the Guilded Age and the perception that the economy was making a few people extremely wealthy but most people were left behind. In the end a lot of prominent businesspeople got behind progressivism, both because they agreed with the moral critique, and also because they saw that if they didn't fix some of the problems with capitalism then it was possible they could lose their wealth to an extreme form of socialism or even communism.

    We are seeing a lot of the same problems reappearing today: the sense that a huge number of working class Americans aren't benefiting from our current prosperity; the rise of predatory monopolies in markets which are becoming essential to everyday life; the difficulty for ordinary people to get ahead; the risk that one bit of bad luck can wipe out a lifetime's worth of hard work; etc.

    The real question is whether we can get behind reasonable solutions to these very real problems. The alternative may be that populist demagogues use this to stoke resentment among people left behind by our current system and (through malice or incompetence) destroy the parts of our system which do work well and produce wealth and prosperity for the nation as a whole.

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