Monday, September 8, 2008

Nanny to the rescue

Don'cha just love the bold buccaneering world of free
enterprise? Business hucksters are constantly talking
up the virtues of unfettered competition and minimal
state regulation, but when things go pear-shaped, as
they have done this year with America’s two biggest
mortgage lenders, suddenly it’s Nanny State to the
rescue and no complaints. Thus, as the New York Times
puts it today, "the country that prides itself on being the
beacon of free enterprise finds itself with a financial
system that needs government money to finance the
most important asset most Americans will ever own."
Should we be surprised? No.

It’s also the business sector that, for all its alleged risk-
taking and entrepreneurialism, never stops bleating
about the need for predictability and certainty in the way
markets operate. They seem to require, indeed demand,
a sense of security not often vouchsafed the workers who
make their profits possible. I’m not being anti-business
here, just anti-hypocrisy; and one of the most hypocritical
notions in capitalism is that private enterprise is “free”—
or, for that matter, private. The public purse subsidizes
them one and all.

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