The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis

By Roger Berkowitz; Taun N. Toay | Go to book overview

NINE
Round Table
THE BURDEN OF OUR TIMES

RAYMOND BAKER,

REBECCA BERLOW,

JACK BLUM,

ZACHARY KARABEL,

THOMAS SCANLON,

TAUN N. TOAY

Over the course of two panels at the Arendt Center’s fall 2009 conference, some speakers were echoing similar ideas or offering counterbalance to other comments made at the conference. I caught up with some of these individuals after the conference to continue the conversation and draw these individuals into dialogue. The following comments are from Raymond Baker, director of the Global Financial Integrity Project; Rebecca Berlow of Sandelman Partners; Jack Blum, chairman of the Tax Justice Network (USA); Zachary Karabel, president of the political science think tank River Twice Research; and Tom Scanlon, attorney adviser to the U.S. Treasury Department.—Taun N. Toay

TOAY: Let me begin with a broad question: How “free” is the free market?

KARABEL: Markets have never been “free” of government intervention. Markets aren’t natural phenomena. They are created by rules among their participants, and that usually entails some form of government. In the United States and Europe, “free markets” would be impossible without contract law and the willingness of government to enforce it. Although there are varying degrees of government intervention—and although some intervention can inhibit rather than facilitate the free flow of goods and capital—the notion that there are free markets entirely distinct from laws and governments is a myth.

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