prometido colocar aqui alguns trechos do último capítulo (The Banality of Good: Social Democrat) do último Tony Judt, Thinking the Twentieth Century. Para economistas, é o capítulo mais interessante do livro. Aí vai o material para pensar:
Adam Smith argued that capitalism does not in itself generate the values that make its success possible; it inherits them from the pre-capitalist or non-capitalist world, or else borrows them (so to speak) from the language of religion or ethics. Values such as trust, faith, belief in the reliability of contracts, assumptions that the future will keep faith with past commitments and so on have nothing to do with the logic of markets per se, but they are necessary for their functioning.
The rates of growth in industrializing societies were thus typically 7 or even 9 percent - pretty much as they are in China today. What this indicate is that high rates of economic growth do not typically suggest prosperity, stability or modernity. They were long thought to be transitional features.
The loss of equilibrium that Keynes and his generation experienced with the First World War and the collapse of Edwardian, and therefore Victorian, certainties and security, is the most important informing sentiment in his theoretical writings.
All six of the foreign ministers who signed the European Steel and Coal Community, the foundation of institutionalized European economic cooperation, were Catholics: from Italy, France, largely Catholic West Germany and the Benelux countries.
We do well to recall that it was only a new generation of Anglo-American-inclined economic theorists and policy makers who claimed that planning as such was a failure. (...) English disillusion with planning was a by-product (not altogether justified) of disillusion with nationalization and the state control of the economy.
We need a similar renewal of attention to what lies under our noses. Today so many of us live in gated communities, physical enclaves that keep one kind of social reality out and also preserve another kind of social reality from intrusion. These enclosed micro-societies reassure their beneficiaries that since they are paying for their own services, they are not responsible for the expenses and demands of the society outside the gates. This makes them reluctant to pay for services and benefits from which they perceive no immediate private gain.
What gets lost here, what is corroded in the distaste for common taxation, is the very idea of society as a terrain of shared responsibilities.
None of the water-starved, western states of the U.S. could survive a year without the American equivalent of what the European think of as regional subsidies.
The appearance of individual self-reliance is part of the myth of the American frontier. Destroy that or, rather, let it be destroyed, and you destroy part of our roots. This is a defensible and even reasonable political argument - there is no reason in principle why Americans should not pay to maintain whatever they consider most American about their heritage. But as an argument it has nothing to do with capitalism, individualism or the free market. On the contrary, it's an argument for a certain sort of welfare state - not least because of its unquestioned assumption thata certain sort of sustainable individualism requires a good deal of help from the state.
The effect of the dominance of economic language in an intellectual culture which was always vulnerable to the authority of "experts" has acted as a brake upon a more morally informed social debate.
So let's return to the capital markets: under today's arrangements, the losses of the biggest gamblers are covered sufficiently to ensure that people will, indeed, continue to take the risks but with no downside. Which means the risks they take will be ever less justified. If you don't have to worry about making the wrong decision, then there's a greater chance you will make the wrong decision.
... social policy should consist of creating the most educated electorate possible: precisely because the citizenry today are both more exposed to abuse and have more "authority" to abuse themselves than ever before.
Even at the height of the Iraqi absurdity, a majority of Americans favored huge government expenditure on under-articulated or straightforwardly dishones military ends, while claiming to believe in reducing taxation across the board, presumably including taxation that was intended to pay for military expenditure. Americans showed no interest in increasing the role of government in their lives, not realizing that they had just enthusiastically encouraged it to do just that in the most important ways in which government can intervene in their citizens' lives, namely fighting a war. This reveals an American collective cognitive dissonance that is very hard to overcome politically.
... the choice we face in the next generation is not capitalism versus communism, or the end of history versus the return of history, but the politics of social cohesion based around collective purposes versus the erosion of society by the politics of fear.
Evidentemente tem muito mais no livro, fica recomendada a leitura. Judt faz muitas perguntas relevantes, mesmo para quem não concorda com as respostas que ele mesmo fornece.