David Simon Says It All

David Simon, creator of The Wire, wrote the best piece I’ve read in a long time about inequality in the West, and our impoverished political dialogue about it.

Please read this in full because  Simon engages with complexity, and that doesn’t work in just one paragraph.  Nevertheless, I will summarize it for you:  “Capitalism is about to seize defeat from the jaws of victory” by disregarding some of the diagnosis, and some of the methods, of Socialism.

With Bankers Anonymous, my goal is to write non-ideologically. I comment on topics as an ex-finance guy with experience and extraordinary respect for the advantages of markets.  I liked selling bonds, I liked investing rich people’s money, I like earning money, and markets work WAY better than anything else we’ve come up with for raising standards of living, generating material comfort, innovating in health care, and creating leisure time.  You name it, markets work better for creating a better life for billions of people.

At the same time kids – right here America, within a few minutes walk from my house – kids do not have enough to eat.  Markets alone aren’t exactly working for everyone.  So please don’t give me your Ayn Rand “Capitalism Uber Alles” libertarian bullshit about free markets are always best, or that a health care reform aimed at insuring children and unemployed people is an inevitable move to Marxist totalitarianism.

Simon’s piece is worth reading in full.  You don’t have to be a Marxist in practice – and Simon is not one, and I am not one – to recognize the ways that raw capitalism is unhelpful in some areas, and totally broken in others.

We need a mixed system and anyone who believes in a ‘purer’ system of capitalism, or socialism for that matter, is missing the point.

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