Magazine article The Futurist

Are Market Economies Imploding? Is Western Capitalism on the Verge of Following Soviet Communism into Collapse? A New Economic Model Must Be Found That Works for All

Magazine article The Futurist

Are Market Economies Imploding? Is Western Capitalism on the Verge of Following Soviet Communism into Collapse? A New Economic Model Must Be Found That Works for All

Article excerpt

We are now in the midst of a financial and economic crisis. It may be a temporary adjustment, and all will be back to normal in a few years, or we may soon see a collapse of the whole system, akin to the implosion of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. The possibility of implosion is a wild card that needs investigating, because its probability of occurring is far from zero.

The futurist community should explore this wild card, as there are no current examples that can be followed. The communist model is discredited by its own collapse. Futurists should analyze the causes of the current situation, evaluate the actions being taken, and propose new approaches. So far, all the futurist visions that I have seen are extrapolations of the existing situation; none describe a rupture with the past.

The current crisis may be a sign either that continuous growth is not endlessly possible or that an economy based on consumption is not viable anymore. It is clear that the market economy did not function as hoped. We must now determine whether it is enough to adapt current regulations or whether we need fundamental changes. Was government intervention at the end of the Bush administration an anomaly or an indispensable permanent element of economic management? Will more regulation help when existing regulations fail to be properly applied, or do we need a fundamentally different approach to the economy?

Adam Smith's invisible hand does not function without regulations, such as those against monopolies, corruption, and abuse of insider knowledge. Free enterprise requires all sorts of adjustments to function properly, all sorts of visible hands to justify its existence. …

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