May 23, 2008

Robert Reich on capitalism vs. democracy

Q: Aren't companies sometimes better than government at getting things done?

Reich: So harness them with specific laws and rules. Tell the private sector what to do. Corporations are going to play the game as fiercely as they can, and that's not a bad thing as long as the rules of the game reflect public values—preventing global warming, rebuilding New Orleans, etc.

Q: In your view, is "supercapitalism" good or bad?

Reich: Capitalism has proven itself the most successful system ever designed for allocating resources to where they're most needed. Global capitalism over the last 30 years has been extraordinarily successful at providing consumers with a range of choices such as they have never had before and investors with returns unparalleled in history. At the same time, democracy is failing. We used to assume that capitalism and democracy went together, hand in glove. But the intensifying competition in the private sector is sloshing over into our democracy. The money companies are pouring in gets in the way.

~ Robert B. Reich, "It's Not Business' Business," BusinessWeek, September 10, 2007

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