Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Road From Serfdom

The NY Times is confused. Why, with the much-hyped Crisis of Capitalism, are the socialists unable to make their move and indeed going backwards? What, like goateed, pince-nez sporting exiles are supposed to start gathering in Trieste coffee houses booking the next train to the Finland Station? Even In Capitalists' Bad Times, Europe's Socialists Suffer

A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of Socialism’s slow collapse.

Even in the midst of one of the greatest challenges to capitalism in 75 years, involving a breakdown of the financial system due to “irrational exuberance,” greed and the weakness of regulatory systems, European Socialist parties and their left-wing cousins have not found a compelling response, let alone taken advantage of the right’s failures.

German voters clobbered the Social Democratic Party on Sunday, giving it only 23 percent of the vote, its worst performance since World War II.

Voters also punished left-leaning candidates in the summer’s European Parliamentelections and trounced French Socialists in 2007. Where the left holds power, as in Spain and Britain, it is under attack. Where it is out, as in France, Italy and now Germany, it is divided and listless.

You say that like it is a bad thing.

Maybe the problem is that many of us don't think there is a Crisis of Capitalism at all. Rather, there is a crisis of Big Government, a crisis of Big Finance, and a Crisis of the political arrangements that arose after WW2. Many Europeans have already lived through decades of either social democracy style socialism or communist-style socialism. Why keep going back to that well?

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