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The genius of the market

This week’s argument in the North Carolina Supreme Court over the scandalously lax practices of major banks when it comes to foreclosing on people’s houses provides a powerful reminder of this simple truth:

The “genius” of the market frequently amounts to human beings acting greedily, lazily and immorally (and getting rewarded for it). Obviously, this can occur in government and nonprofit settings too.

This is not to say that market capitalism can’t accomplish amazing things; it’s a remarkably powerful (and frequently positive) force for the creation of wealth. But, utlimately, it is just that — a tool that human society should harness and use — not, as the market fundamentalists contend,  some kind of divine creation to which we should all bow down.

Strong consumer protection laws are one important way to make market forces work for the many. Let’s hope, as the Charlotte Observer editorial board argues this morning, that this case and others like it spur Congress to act accordingly.    

 

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