risk of default

Firing up Americans to argue the shape and rules of markets merely to capture a seat in office is embarrassing opportunism.

Theory is broad brush and opinion more vague than that. The squawk about supply-side free markets versus oversight and restraint stretches our best experts and will never be repaired by balloteers with slogans.

Anatole Kalestky:

Instead of obsessing over China’s currency manipulation as if it were a unique exception in a world of untrammeled market forces, the United States must adapt to an environment where exchange rates and trade imbalances are managed consciously and have become a legitimate subject for debate in international forums like the Group of 20.

Market fundamentalists who feel that government interference with free markets is anathema should be reminded that, by today’s dogmatic standards, Ronald Reagan is one of the great manipulators of all time.

He presided over two of the biggest currency interventions in history: the Plaza agreement, which devalued the dollar in 1985, and the Louvre accord of 1987, which brought this devaluation to an end.

The fact is that the rules of global capitalism have changed irrevocably since Lehman Brothers collapsed two years ago — and if the United States refuses to accept this, it will find its global leadership slipping away. The near collapse of the financial system was an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment of revelation.

In this climate, the market fundamentalism now represented by the Tea Party, based on instinctive aversion to government and a faith that “the market is always right,” is a global laughingstock.

There’s a terrible challenge not about to be fixed by angry stories and myth.

In my view, a wise issue with far greater impact is determining how to dilute and prevent leaders for sale. After all, it’s a ‘representative democracy’ and why don’t we have it?

Evaluating honor is better than choosing sides.