Extreme Measures in the Defence of Liberty

In the short term defending capitalism means, paradoxically, state intervention. There is a justifiable sense of outrage among voters and business people (and indeed economic liberals) that $2.5 trillion of taxpayers’ money now has to be spent on a highly rewarded industry. But the global bail-out is pragmatic, not ideological. When François Mitterrand nationalised France’s banks in 1981 he did so because he thought the state would run them better. This time governments are buying banks (or shares in them) because they believe, rightly, that public capital is needed to keep credit flowing.


How can one say that the “bail-out is pragmatic, not ideological”? The bail-out is a pragmatic solution to a problem, yes; a problem that stems directly from an ideology that prohibits such solutions. Hence, the paradoxical state intervention to defend capitalism. Why the sudden faith and reliance on pragmatic solutions to economic problems? For God’s sake, where’s Richard Rorty now when we need him most??


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