Friday, September 19, 2008

The Asymmetry of Bailouts

Why is it that we socialize failure but privatize success?

Oh, I know the reason given: these failures are so significant that they would destroy our economy if we didn't collectively take on the burden. But I say that if we're responsible when they go down, we ought to benefit when they go up. This should be an either-or proposition. Either the corporations are socialized as public goods, or they are not but we let them die. And if they are so significant that we can't live with out them, and therefore can't let them die, then they ought to not be privately owned and operated in the first place. Only market fundamentalist nutjobs would think privatizing other essential services such as fire and police is a good idea. Health care and financial services are just as essential, and ought to therefore be matters of mutual aid rather than left to the fickle hand and invisible jackboot of the market.

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