Saturday, December 13, 2008

Iceland is a microcosm of the excesses of capitalism.

The story of Iceland's fall from Euro-Econo-Powerhouse to a country on the brink in such a short span of time should be instructive for those who advocate unfettered economic growth.

When the primary driver of an economy is unrestricted growth fueled by capitalism's only motivator, greed, then boom and bust cycles are the natural consequence.

Here's why I think unfettered growth is a problem for capitalism:

1) Growth is great when there is an unlimited potential.

2) When the potential reaches limits, then the contraction of the economy creates significant, broad-scale, economic disruptions.

Why do those issues create a problem for capitalism?

Issue number 1 is a fantasy. It is more wishful thinking than reality because unlimited potential is a myth. In essence, it sets people up for failure.

Issue number 2 sets the stage for socialism. Socialism is not always bad, it helps people weather a storm, but it can stifle future capitalistic development.

I've said all the above to say this: For capitalism to prosper and provide its fruits, then it must be tempered with some government oversight.

Government oversight is really the only way the public can put brakes on exploitation and the ever-present boom and bust cycles that unfettered capitalism brings.

We're now seeing a correction in the excesses of capitalism. It's not that capitalism is bad or wrong, just that too much of anything without some adult supervision results in imbalance.

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