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Quora Answer : The Soviets allowed the Berlin Wall to be destroyed and communism with it, will the capitalists allow Wall Street to be destroyed along with capitalism?

Oct 16, 2011

In the 20th Century, leftists had to learn a hard and bitter lesson. That those who claimed to be champions of equality and social justice were often self-interested tyrants, trying to hold on to power at all costs. And worse, any attempt to centralise power to rationally manage the economy almost inevitably deteriorated into such a dictatorship.

I believe that, now, the idealistic capitalists are having to learn equally hard lessons. That their champions of economic freedom are, in reality, cosy corporate states where governments have long since become tools of corporate interest.

The smarter libertarians have now grasped that. What they probably still haven't grasped is that, just as centralised economies almost inevitably deteriorate into dictatorships, so "free markets" almost inevitably deteriorate into monopolies and plutocracies, and that this has nothing to do with the government and everything to do with the fact that concentrations of wealth experience positive feedback effects that grow them yet larger.

In the sense that the Soviet Union was a fake Communism when the Berlin Wall fell, perhaps the US is a fake Capitalism today. But my personal feeling is that Gorbachev let the Soviet Union collapse when he sensed that it had lost all popular legitimacy. I don't think we are even close to the point where today's oligarchs believe that the US system has lost its legitimacy.

Quite the contrary, they think that with their think-tanks and Tea Party and Fox News and other mechanisms of propaganda and persuasion they can keep the population, if not passive, at least chasing after the wrong enemies.

And finally, Gorbachev was a decent man who preferred to set people free than redouble repression or burn the Soviet Union in a vicious attempt to hold onto power. RupertMurdoch, the KochBrothers and the heads of GoldmanSachs etc. don't share his character.

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