With a magnificent stumble highlighting a global recession, capitalism has been kicked numerous times while its down. There is even a new term popping up--"casino capitalism"--to paint it as too fast and too loose. But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
A recent interview in the Wall Street Journal features one of capitalism's most outspoken supporters.
Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, authored a book in 2007--Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism and the Economics of Growth & Prosperity--where he argues that there isn't just one strain of capitalism, but four. Good Capitalism, he contends, is a unique blend of entrepreneurial and established firms. While Schramm acknowledges the need to tread carefully, he cautions against excessive regulations that will constrain entrepreneurs.
"I think we were in full tide of entrepreneurial capitalism and now there's an introspection, where the vocabulary is all about regulation and the importance of the government to restart the economy," he says. While Mr. Schramm believes that the government has a role to play, he argues that "historically through the last seven recessions it's been entrepreneurs who essentially restarted the economy."
Just last week, I stumbled across a humorous video clip from another period of economic woe in which capitalism was under fire. In 1979, Milton Friedman, easily one of the most influential economists of our times, was asked by Phil Donahue if he ever had a moment of doubt about capitalism. Friedman's response: