Our failure to plan

October 22, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More

We no longer have the discipline and intelligence to plan, and that is our biggest problem, according to James K. Galbraith, who wrote a piece called “Plan” in Harper’s Magazine.

Our system is not capitalism.  Our economy has a large public sector, which at its best was competently concerned with research, defense, financial stability, environmental safety, social security, and large measures of education, health care and housing.   Today, after thirty years of attack on government, all these functions are damaged and in peril.

The rot comes from predators posing as conservatives and mouthing the rhetoric of “free markets.”  They are not actually interested in free markets.  Their goal is to use the government to build monopolies, to control resources, to block regulation, to crush unions, to divert as much as possible from taxpayers into private pockets.  They have a reckless attitude toward war-making and they put the financial system in peril by failing to enforce standards of ethics and transparency.  As a result, they imperil the country’s credit in the world.  True conservatives recognize this, which is why they defected from Bush and McCain long ago.

Galbraith argues that “planning” has too long been a dirty word and that it is time to change that.  I can’t argue with him, in light of the lack of plans regarding numerous threats to the American way of life, including the lack of coherent plans regarding the invasion of Iraq and the deregulation of Wall Street.


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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    The U.S. has a mixed (part capitalist, part socialist) economy, as does every other country on our planet. Each nation decides how to split public and private enterprise, with some nations leaning more toward public and others leaning more toward private, and also deciding differently about which specific institutions to make public or private. The notion that the U.S. is a "capitalist" nation is absurd, as is the notion that Obama (or anyone else) would make it a "socialist" one. No country, and certainly not the U.S., would ever adopt pure capitalism or pure socialism: there far too many downsides, and far too many vested interests, to make either outcome feasible.

    As a side note, some of the institutions that Americans take for granted as being public (police and fire-fighting services come to mind) were once private enterprises. Meanwhile, some of America's most wealthy people now live in gated communities that have created their own private security forces, to say nothing of the many private schools they send their kids to. The point here being that there is nothing absolute about the choice between public and private funding — people experiment to see what works best for their country and what works best for them personally.

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