Tuesday, October 14, 2008


As Half the World Marches Toward Nationalization, the Other Half Marches in the Opposite Direction
By Stephen J. Dubner
Almost any one of the massive failures/interventions/takeovers of the past several weeks — Lehman/A.I.G./Morgan Stanley/Freddie and Fannie/G.M. and Chrysler — would typically be enough to dominate the news for months. As it is, however, such stories are arriving nearly daily.
With this many extraordinary events, some otherwise major stories aren’t landing with the gravity they might deserve.
Consider, for instance, that in the same Saturday edition of The Times which
reported that the Bush administration planned to “inject capital directly into the nation’s banks — in effect, partially nationalizing the industry,” it was also reported that “Chinese leaders are expected to allow peasants to buy or sell land-use rights for the first time, a step that could draw hundreds of millions of farmers more firmly into the market economy, now centered around the cities.”
And, just for good measure,
Iran is trying to collect sales tax for the first time.
As half of the world marches toward nationalization, the other half seems to be marching in the opposite direction.
Perhaps we can all meet at a Starbucks to discuss.
The pace of change is startling, thrilling, and exhausting. And oh yes: on 20 of the past 22 days, the U.S. stock market has gained or lost more than 3 percent.

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