Making Our Own Bed (But Do We Have to Lie In It?)

EDUARDO PORTER (NEW YORK TIMES Oct 30, 2012) excerpt

Over the last three decades, every country in the world has been buffeted by globalization and technology advancing at a breakneck speed. But we have charted a unique course through the turbulent global waters, building a more cutthroat form of capitalism than most other industrial nations. We are more skeptical of government and willing to accept market outcomes, including high inequality and deep poverty. More than citizens of other countries, we tend to believe that success, like failure, is deserved.

Our form of capitalism has led us to where we are today. The United States may be good at generating wealth. It is arguably one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial economies in the world, producing technologies that have been essential to powering global growth. But the American way has not been effective at transforming affluence into broad-based well-being.

It may look as if our social and economic woes are a product of rampant globalization. To a large degree, however, they are a consequence of how we have chosen to address the opportunities and challenges of our high-tech, globalized world. Our cutthroat approach to capitalism has exacted high social costs.

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