Friday, May 1, 2009

Posner's A Failure of Capitalism -- XIII

This post concludes my ongoing review Failure, which I finished reading last night. The last chapter of the book, "The Future of Conservatism," is followed by a "Conclusion" that is (by design) nothing more than a summary of the entire argument.

Judge Posner's hope is that both conservative and liberal preconceptions can be sufficiently loosened that "pragmatic, apolitical, nonideological solutions to economic crises" can be considered. The Republican "coalition" of economic, security, and social conservatives has been shaken by recent events, each component pulling away from the others. The Democratic Party, meanwhile, came out on the winning side of the "competence gap" during the presidential campaign. But both conservatism and liberalism have "substantial" histories of failures.

Judge Posner realizes that politics cannot be banished from economic policymaking. ("There are conflicts within society that can be resolved only by political competition.") The current crisis, however, has given rise to a spirit of pragmatism among economists that with luck will result in better policy-making once the current crisis has passed.

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