NY Times Discovers Capitalism's Crisis of Legitimacy


I find this article from Sunday's New York Times fascinating in that it appears that the authors, John Burns and Landon Thomas, are just now realizing that there are a lot of people around the world who have long contested the legitimacy of the Anglo-U.S. model of corporate capitalism.

Some nut graphs:

Sitting in a gilded upper room at 10 Downing Street last week listening to Prime Minister Gordon Brown outline his ambitions for reforming the world economy had something of an out-of-this-world feeling. With Mr. Brown seated beneath a 16th-century oil painting of Queen Elizabeth I, it was tempting to imagine for a moment that Britain was again rising grandly to the challenges of the age, in the way of Good Queen Bess.

Are you tempted to so imagine? I know I'm not.

The occasion was a briefing for reporters on the Group of 20 summit meeting to be held Thursday at a conference center in the London docklands, close to the historic City of London, Britain’s financial hub.

... it will help determine the extent to which the economic model shaped largely by Britain and America after World War II — call it Anglo-American capitalism — survives as the touchstone for economic growth worldwide.

Now, a wave of voices around the world would like a new Big Bang to sweep away the Bretton Woods template and the era of Anglo-American dominance it ushered in. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia has suggested as much, to nobody’s great surprise, and even France’s otherwise pro-American president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has said the “Anglo-Saxon” presumption of dominance should be abandoned.

Against this background, what the British and American leaders will be attempting at the G-20 conference, along with their partners from around the world, will be to begin building a new global financial system that curbs the rampant and often conscienceless free-marketeering of the past 20 years with a new sense of accountability and restraint, but without extinguishing the spirit of enterprise that arrived in America with the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock.

Sure they'll be attempting to curb the rampant excesses of the past 20 years. As for that last point, see Walden Bello's piece, "The G-20 Faces the Global Econopocalypse, But It's Nothing But a Big Show."

Speaking of Bello, one of a few people I don't mind describing as "brilliant," he's been discussing what the Times just now recognizes -- that the "liberal world order" is an emperor with no clothes -- for years.

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