Nobody Appreciates Laissez-Faire Capitalism

“Wave goodbye to the invisible hand,” says a Washington Post article by Steven Pearlstein. The poor man thinks it is the ‘invisible hand’ of the market that has messed things up, rather than the fat paws of the market manipulators in Washington.

“Trade…[has]…failed to deliver the economic and social outcomes that Americans consider acceptable,” he writes.

He has a point – trade has failed to give the yahoos what they wanted, something for nothing. They thought they could use their houses like an infinite line of credit. Didn’t turn out that way.

But nobody really appreciates laissez-faire capitalism, least of all the capitalists. They all want to control the future, not let it happen. And everybody wants to gain some edge…some little favour or advantage – a monopoly, a subsidy, a fat contract with the government, a handout, free food, free medicine, crop supports, student loans, a guaranteed pension, a bailout, a tax credit…some kind of greasy giveaway; the last thing they want is a free market, where the chips fall where they may.

And now that the illusions of the Reagan Era are being destroyed, out come the regulators, controllers and meddlers with illusions of their own. Now, they claim they can make a better world – better than people could make on their own. They’ll make sure that capitalism is put in chains…defanged, de-clawed…trained and harnessed. They’ll turn the jungle of capitalism into the zoo of a rational, state-managed mixed economy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that New York has gone into court with a complaint about Citigroup. “Hey, we didn’t know you could lose money on those freak investments you sold us,” say the New Yorkers.

They are all searching the email records for the ‘smoking gun,’ a single email by someone with a brain pointing out the obvious – that those complicated collateralized securities might really be the investments of “mass capital destruction” that Warren Buffett said they were.

And hallelujah, they’ve got one: “We should not be rating it,” said an email from an operative from Standard & Poor’s, stating what many others must have thought but few dared to say.

As you recall from last week, the sovereign state of Connecticut has attacked the rating agencies, charging that they knew or should have known what they were doing. Now, with that email, it looks like the yankees have a case.

Until tomorrow,

Bill Bonner
for Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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Go Bill!

One of my 80’s moments was meeting a corporate telephone user trainer in San Diego, she read the instruction book to the few that would listen and left moments later. 90% of her day was spent commuting or meeting friends while “in transit”. Paternalism demanded a fee, but without hard evidence of offer, all concerned held that the lawyers, and miss nasty at the end desk in the office, would extract further rent.

So miss nasty is saying Bob Rubin didn’t train me ….. so buy stocks in law firms.

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