You can find a very intelligent article, definitely worth reading if you're into the sociological and economic philosophy side of life, in VANITY FAIR, entitled "WALL STREET'S TOXIC MESSAGE," by Joseph Stiglitz.
Stiglitz postulates that the current economic disaster caused by the unbridled exercise of free-market, American-style capitalism is leading to the demise world-wide of... free-market, American-style capitalism! As a sociologist by degree, who once even had a double-major in economics and accounting ages ago, I strongly agree with Stiglitz.
"With the collapse of great banks and financial houses," says Stiglitz, "and the ensuing economic turmoil and chaotic attempts at rescue, the period of American triumphalism [economically] is over. So, too, is the debate over 'market fundamentalism,' the notion that unfettered markets, all by themselves, can ensure economic prosperity and growth. Today only the deluded would argue that markets are self-correcting or that we can rely on the self-interested behavior of market participants to guarantee that everything works honestly and properly."
Indeed, JS, and I would go further and say that the whole concept of market forces controlling the economy to everyone's benefit is grossly naive, at best, and inherently corrupt, at worst.
The notion that competition and a "profit motive" would inspire companies to make the best products at the best prices is rooted in a belief in an imaginary business person who is not pathologically greedy. In fact, an individual in business who truly gets "enlightened self-interest" - the good of the many equals the good of the one, and visa versa - would be, well... enlightened. And how often do you find the word "businessman" and "enlightened" in the same sentence?
In reality, what the profit motive unfettered has brought us instead is planned obsolescence, price fixing, subliminal advertising, usurious interest rates, inferior products at higher prices, corrupt politicians and lobbyists, the despoiling and destruction of our environment, the exploitation of labor in Third World countries and a cycle of busts and booms that regularly ruins lives.
Now, remember, this blog is called FULL PERMISSION LIVING. It is rooted at its core in what some would call a libertarian understanding that "human beings are by first nature sane, loving, cooperative, creative, humorous, intelligent, productive and naturally self-regulating," as I state on the home page. But... and it's a big but... in order to live from one's first nature, one's second nature, manifested in our defenses and insecurities and festered negative feelings, must be surfaced into consciousness and systematically dismantled. How many businessmen do you know who are engaged in that process?! I've been doing therapy for thirty years and I can count on one hand the number of corporate business types that have crossed the threshold to my office.
So, what's the answer? Well, in the short-run, however many years or decades that is, we must have adult leaders, like Barack Obama, enforcing reasonable regulations to prevent greedy, destructive acting out on the part of disturbed, unevolved people in business. In the long-run, and it doesn't matter how long this takes, we must, and we will, do the healing self-work necessary to become a species that lives from its first nature.
As the banner says: "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness through Self-Actualization."