Anybody who's ever had the misfortune of reading one of my books knows I'm not always the sharpest awl in the drawer. So don't take my word for it. Listen to Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. This is excerpted from an interview yesterday on "Bloomberg on the Economy with Tom Keene" (download podcast):


...The people who were in favor of laissez faire, people in the financial markets, are coming to the public sector, coming to the government, coming to the taxpayers and asking for, literally, hundreds of billions of dollars. So the people who were the previous defenders of laissez faire have surrendered. What they want is a peculiar form of capitalism -- what I call "ersatz capitalism" -- where the private sector gets the gains, the public sector bears the loss. That's a recipe for disaster, because that's assymetric incentives, it leads to excessive risk-taking, it creates an unjust society. It creates an inefficient society...

...This is really "Corporate Welfarism"... And in fact, I think it's in many ways the worst of all possible systems. Because it doesn't have efficiency. It's a kind of redistribution, but going in the wrong way, from ordinary Americans to rich Americans. So, it's a system that I think will not be economically viable, and in the long run will not be politically acceptable.


In the short run, however, the People seem more or less fine with the 'worst of all possible systems.'