Magazine article Foreign Policy

96 Luigi Zingales: For Reminding Us What Conservative Economics Used to 100k Like

Magazine article Foreign Policy

96 Luigi Zingales: For Reminding Us What Conservative Economics Used to 100k Like

Article excerpt

Economist | Chicago

When deficit hawks compare the United States to the ailing economies of Europe, they're often making a point about America's unsustainable debt and social welfare spending. But Luigi Zingales, an influential business professor at the University of Chicago, likens the United States to his native Italy for a different reason: They're both reeling from crony capitalism. Runaway debt and ballooning entitlements, he argues, are merely symptoms of a debilitating disease: widespread collusion between politicians and big business. Zingales left Italy for the States in 1988 to escape a country that "invented the term nepotism and perfected the concept of cronyism," only to find the phenomenon spreading like a virus in his adopted home.

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In his new book, A Capitalism for the People, Zingales contends that the Republican Party abandoned its pro-market principles under George W. Bush and instead became pro-big business, courting companies with tariffs and tax breaks rather than building a competitive marketplace. Now he's pleading with Republican leaders to return to their conservative roots by busting monopolies, refusing to bail out banks, eliminating de facto corporate subsidies in the tax code, and imposing a tax on lobbying. …

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