Will Capitalism Survive?

Will modern capitalism survive this financial crisis? The Occupy protesters camped out around the country may hope that it won't, at least not in its current form. Economist Kenneth Rogoff sees few alternatives, but plenty of challenges to the system in a new essay for Project Syndicate:

I am often asked if the recent global financial crisis marks the beginning of the end of modern capitalism. It is a curious question, because it seems to presume that there is a viable replacement waiting in the wings. The truth of the matter is that, for now at least, the only serious alternatives to today’s dominant Anglo-American paradigm are other forms of capitalism.

Sign Painters of the World Unite!

James McWilliams is an historian at Texas State University-San Marcos who has appeared on this blog before. He writes to tell us that he was driving in Austin when he passed a (presumably) homeless man holding up this sign:

Auction Aversion

David Warsh reflects on the advances of auction technology and market design since the first high-tech auction was held by the Federal Communications Commission in 1994. Warsh points out that despite the recent growth of auctions in private markets and the well-established benefits of auctions, industry continues to vigorously oppose government auctions. Auctions of landing slots at New York airports, toxic bank assets, and carbon emission permits have all been opposed by industry groups precisely because of their price-discovering power. Warsh, however, is hopeful about the future. "As principles of market design become more thoroughly articulated and widely understood," he writes, "the sphere of governmental discretion will shrink."

Is There a Market for "Conscious Capitalists"?

The iconic libertarian Milton Friedman once said “The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.” Michael Strong, founder of innovative charter schools, and John Mackey, C.E.O. of Whole Foods, agree with Friedman, and have their own libertarian vision. They […]

More on “Creative Capitalism”

I blogged last month about a Bill Gates speech on “creative capitalism.” Motivated by the Bill Gates speech, Michael Kinsley and Conor Clarke have undertaken an unusual web experiment in which they invited a number of prominent economists to react to the Gates speech and posted them online. My colleague Gary Becker is skeptical of […]

“Creative Capitalism”: The Blog

A speech that Bill Gates gave at Davos (and which Steve Levitt likes) is now being debated in an ongoing blog by an amazing cast of characters — including, to name a few, Lawrence Summers, Richard Posner, Michael Kinsley, Steven Landsburg, Michael Kremer, and Ed Glaeser. They are engaged in a lively discussion about whether […]

Don’t Throw Away Your Capitalism Just Yet

The turbulence of the U.S. economy has lots of people railing against capitalism itself, and with good reason: capitalism is inherently turbulent. That’s why the legendary economist Joseph Schumpeter called it “creative destruction.” Not only must eggs be broken to make an omelet, but sometimes people may decide they want their omelets made with no […]

Creative Capitalism

People who make millions of dollars doing one thing often come to view themselves as being experts in subjects far afield from those in which they made their wealth. Because they have so much money, others tend to humor them and tell them they are brilliant in the hopes of currying favor, so they don’t […]