is capitalism the answer, or the problem? (and links)

I think most people like to think of themselves and their political/economic/religious beliefs as being unique. My own opinion is that nobody with much intelligence would say something along the lines of “I believe 100% in the political philosophy of Sean Hannity/Keith Olberman/Barack Obama/Sara Palin/(insert name of random politician.”  In the same way, I doubt – or at least hope – that most people would not blindly assume that all aspects of the capitalist system are completely right, every time.  If they were, there would be no need, for example, for auditors – because the market would simply punish companies that falsified their financial results, right?  We should be able to understand that any belief system probably has, and probably SHOULD have, some exceptions for each individual.

So I found this little lecture quite interesting. It’s a Marxist take on the recent financial crisis.  I am not a Marxist, nor a communist.  I like to consider myself actually to fall on the conservative side of economics – I do believe in minimal government interference in capital markets, which is clearly not what is occurring in the US these days.  I also believe, however, in things such as an extremely strong and well-regulated audit industry which polices those markets.  That’s not just because I’m an auditor, but simply because I’d rather have someone with an economic reason to identify and expose wrongdoing than simply a requirement to do so.  But I do have some beliefs that don’t fall into the capitalist mindset – I think Marx nailed it when talking about speculation, for example.  I’m not sure how you fix that, but clearly the current system isn’t working that well in the US – our sickly combination of capitalism (out-of-control financial institutions) and half-hearted socialism (health care and Social Security and a host of half-measures which only partially address the underlying issues).

Well, watch the video.  If nothing else, the animation is quite good.

And again, a few links – once again, I haven’t spent much time reading blogs this week and consequently it’s a short list.