What was that Free Market battle cry that shocked the world, when it was first proclaimed?
"A rising Tide will lift all boats,"proclaimed by President Reagan, as he began the grand experiment, otherwise known as Supply-Side economics?
"We don't need to build walls, we need to build bridges. We don't need protection, we need opportunity. "proclaimed by President Clinton, in defense of NAFTA and GATT?
"It's a Flat World, After All,"proclaimed by millionaire writer and free market pundit Thomas Friedman?
No, as pivotal and earth-moving as each of those claims were -- they did not really shock masses of people at the time they were spoken. Most folks, heard them, shrugged their shoulders and moved on.
Think back to the late 80's, when Reaganomics was just gaining some traction, in a serious way. The murmur was: "Everyone could be an Investor ... Everyone could be a Business Owner." It was a New Day in America again ...
Enter that Eighties iconic movie Wall Street. Remember the scene where the Corporate Raider Alpha-Dog, Gordon Gekko needed to sell his latest raid to a roomful of worried investors:
Greed is Good. Greed works.
Those were the words that shocked the world -- for about 15 minutes!
They got over it. Then they started channeling their own, inner Alpha-Dogs ...
Gordon Gekko -- Greed is Good
Once the want-a-be Gordo's, got over their initial shock, they decided to run with this new Free Market Mantra. They decided to Take the Money and Run.
Thing is, the thing Gekko never explicitly mentioned:
Greed has many hidden costs, associated with it, too.
Hidden costs, that eventually get paid by the beta-dog bit-players, like us:
The lost of gainful employment, the lost of Homes, the lost of saving, the lost of Career opportunities.
The crumbling of Infrastructure, the over-crowding of schools, the constantly rising prices of nearly everything -- except wages, the lost of Social mobility, the rise of poverty, the loss of Hope.
The untold costs of pollution on our ecosystems and on our health, the pursuit of dirty energy sources, racking up untold Debts -- threatening the very viability of future generations, who will inherit all these hidden costs, too.
That's some Legacy!
Greed may work, to help them -- the 1% Gekko's -- to justify this codified system of hoarding. This system of Redistributing Wealth, UPWARDS ...
But Greed never works, to balance Society's Overall Ledger. And very few of us are Islands unto ourselves, afterall.
Greed is the anti-thesis of Society. Greed takes, takes, takes, never caring about the hidden costs, that Greed always leaves in its wake.
So maybe, just maybe ...
Greed doesn't work. Not really.
Not in bigger picture of a complex world, the ecosystem where we all must now compete.
If Greed DID Work ... as Gordon Gekko bluntly proclaimed ...
If unregulated free markets were truly self-correcting ...
If profits were really the only thing that matters in moving an Economy ...
Would former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan have to sheepishly admit before Congress -- that he was wrong about his bedrock faith in the self-correcting nature of those free markets? Ayn Rand must be rolling over somewhere ...
Greenspan Makes Friedman Eat His Words
Greenspan: I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organizations, specifically banks and others, was such as they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.
Indeed he admits to being "shocked" by the "break down of a critical pillar of market competition and free markets" ...
And what was that shocking "critical pillar" that crumbled, as Greenspan put it?
Greenspan: "the loan officers of those institutions [banks and others], knew far more about the risks involved, to the people to whom they lent money, than I saw even the best regulators at the Fed were capable of doing."
If Greed did work, would Greenspan have cringed even further when confronted by the economic plights of the 99% real Americans?
Senator Bernie Sanders questions Greenspan
Senator Sanders: "I would urge you, come with me to Vermont. Meet real people. The Country Clubs and the cocktail parties are not real America. The Millionaires and the Billionaires are the exception to the rule."
Someday, something better, needs to replace this FAILED Supply-Side experiment.
Someday, someone needs to rewrite NAFTA and GATT to make them "fair markets too" as Bill Clinton also proclaimed:
"We need fair trade with fair rules."
Because as President Obama put it quite simply in his recent watermark speech, with respect to Supply-Side economics:
Obama: It doesn’t work. It has never worked.
Hmmm? Maybe, just maybe, President Obama will eventually usher in an Economic era that will be the anti-theses of this Gordon Gekko one we been living with?
The 99% of us, bearing the hidden costs of this Era of Greed, can only hope.
(and work to get a better congress, while were hoping.)
That New Economy, based on Opportunity and Fairness and Real Accounting, cannot come soon enough ...
A economy, that truly works -- works for all, who are in it.
We need an Experiment that works for everyone ... now that would truly be shocking!