Thursday, November 20, 2003

Sock Thief's comments on Monbiot's article on the European Social Forum has reminded me that we have one of our very own - the Social Forum Aotearoa - taking place in Porirua this weekend.

I'm tempted to drop by in search of blog-fodder, but their registration page is broken, and there seem to be no details on cost.

As for Monbiot's key question, "what should be done about capitalism?", my answer is the same as his: tame it. While it is red in tooth and claw, the market mostly works, and its a damn sight easier and less intrusive into people's lives than the alternatives. The trick then is to regulate it, to insulate people's lives from the bad effects of capitalism, while keeping as much as possible of the good. This means taxation, redistribution, regulation, and state provision of some services. While this is obviously offensive to purists, fundamentally the market is just a tool for resource allocation, and if it does not work properly (by providing a sufficient allocation of resources for all members of our society to live a decent life) then it needs to be tweaked until it does. Tools should serve human ends, not vice versa.