How American capitalism came to us

The problems are systemic in nature – Published on Current Concerns, April 2, 2012 (Source: 20minuten.ch from 22.3.2012).

American capitalism is characterized primarily by a short-term focus on returns with maximum dividend (quarterly dividends, exorbitant bonuses), while risk considerations, prudence, government regulations (instead of protecting the national economy, Cassis de Dijon principle and free movement of capital), moral and social concerns (social security, health care, public education, direct democracy) or environmental protection (GM, patents on life, CO2) are being suppressed or completely blanked out.  

pa. The following example will show how globalisation, since the neo-liberal political changes – starting with the United States – has prevailed in almost all states, particularly through the privatisation of public services.1 This development can be reconstructed by looking at the career of one of its main protagonists in Switzerland – with an international impact:2

In 1971 Ernst Buschor, born in 1943, was assigned a mandate for financial professionals in the Council of Europe after having received a law degree from the University of St Gall (HSG). In 1975 he became chief of the financial administration of the Canton of Zurich, where he introduced – as a prototype for Switzerland – the “new accounting model” which was borrowed from the private sector.3 It allows, in contrast to the previous governmental statement of revenues and expenditures (accounting), an extended debt policy and balance sheet cosmetics (e.g. “wealth creation” by activating non-marketable forests, roads etc.). In 1985 Buschor was appointed professor at the HSG, where he promoted the import of theories from the Anglo-American countries, carried out extensive consulting activities and contributed significantly to the creation of a Swiss model of the American administrative reform, “New Public Management (NPM)”,4 the so-called “action-oriented governance” (Wirkungsorientierte Verwaltungsführung, WOV) “ … //

… The great recession of 2008 began in America and within a short time spread to the whole world – in China alone, 20 million jobs were lost – and many millions became impoverished. Modern economics, with its belief in free markets and globalisation, had promised prosperity for all. These free market doctrines had claimed for the last 25 years that free and unfettered markets would be efficient and correct errors quickly. The state should limit itself to the necessary tasks because regulation inhibited innovation in the economy.

Nobel Laureate Stiglitz sees the way out of the current global economic crisis in a reorganisation of the world economic system (see Zeit-Fragen, No. 21 from25 May 2010, “Freefall”). “The current crisis reveals fundamental flaws in the capitalist system or at least in the particular brand of capitalism that has emerged in the second half of the 20th century in the United States (this variant is sometimes also called ‘American Capitalism’). [...] Whenever problems are so persistent and pervasive, as has been the case of the US financial system, one can draw only one conclusion: The problems are systemic in nature. The high bonuses and rampant greed on Wall Street may have attracted a disproportionate number of unscrupulous bankers, but the fact that the problem was universal, points to fundamental flaws in the system.”  (full text and Notes 1 to 9).

(scroll down to a remark in a separate window: Swiss Federal Council – Mobile ban in consequence of espionage activities? The mobile ban during Swiss Federal Council sessions has been issued due to safety reasons. Is the Swiss Federal Council being spied on? For experts it is absolutely imaginable … full text).

Links:

Chinese Insider Offers Rare Glimpse of U.S.-China Frictions, on The New York Times, by Jane Perlez, April 2, 2012;

Kinder Scout Commemoration, on John’s Labour blog, by John Gray, April 7, 2012;

Labour’s route back to power lies in a coalition with other parties, onLiberal Conspiracy, by Neal Lawson, April 7, 2012.

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