Crony Capitalism Comes Home NY Times
Capitalism is so successful an economic system partly because of an internal discipline that allows for loss and even bankruptcy. It’s the possibility of failure that creates the opportunity for triumph. Yet many of America’s major banks are too big to fail, so they can privatize profits while socializing risk.
Kristof’s right to suggest that the Occupiers aren’t “half-naked Communists aiming to bring down the American economic system.” This isn’t the “Project Mayhem” of Chuck Palahniuk novels — we’re talking about a movement that’s spurring people to move their money from “too big to fail” banks into credit unions. That’s not exactly “smash the system.” That’s more like a group of people seeking out a means to maximize their power within the system, or using consumer choice to preserve, enhance and improve the best parts of the system. As Matt Taibbi notes in a fitting companion piece to Kristof’s, “These people aren’t protesting money. They’re not protesting banking. They’re protesting corruption on Wall Street.”
Taibbi calls them “cheaters,” Kristof calls them “cronies,” but the concept of “corruption” is intrinsic to both critiques. In fact, one could well argue that the truest evidence of Wall Street corruption is the fact that prior to the economic collapse, what Wall Street was practicing wasn’t really “capitalism” at all.