David Brooks (“A Moderate Manifesto,” 3/3/09) offers an appealing vision of a capitalism aware of its social underpinnings, and of a humanism aware of the decentralization required for economic growth. He could go further by explaining the global context that justifies his thinking.
Increasing global competition belies the idea that government can desist from making the social investments necessary to build new generations of engineers, entrepreneurs, and technicians. It also, however, reminds us of the perils of chasing capital away from our shores. The central challenge that faces us today is that of balancing these two aims.
Many Democrats and Republicans prefer to live in a simpler world in which, respectively, state action is the fundamental palliative, or the fundamental poison. The requisite wake-up call can come from a cold-eyed gaze at the growing power of international markets. A depression might make us do just that.