Statue of lady justice 1000 x 667

If you ever listen to some of the anchors and guests on CNBC, the business/stock market channel, you would think that “the free market” is an infallible guide for every aspect of our lives. These guys would say,

“So what if our financial institutions collapse…let them sink and take with them the rest of the economy…out of the carnage will rise a better, healthier economy”

This, a la Schumpeter, a 19th century Austrian economist and his “creative destruction” theory.

But, what about the millions of unemployed workers?

“Let them sell apples on street corners; unemployment benefits only encourage them not to look for jobs.”

Today I heard a new gem on CNBC:

“Abolish Social Security -it is Socialism. The “American Way” is all about individual responsibility.” 

If you try to point out the risks of only having the option of individual control over retirement savings – for example, all those folks that took the advice of the vast majority of Wall Street analysts and invested in Enron, thus wiping out their savings.  They would say, “Well, too bad.”

Hey, guys, Ayn Rand is alive and well; she apparently is simultaneously living in the studios of CNBC, the Cato Institute and the editorial board offices of the Wall Street Journal. Take for instance, take Mark Hurd, the recently fired CEO of HP who was reviled by his colleagues and employees for his brutal cutting of expenses, including the decimation of the renowned research and development department — the future of the company — but enriching himself in the process to the tune of $76 million over four years — not to mention a juicy “golden parachute” worth about $40 million. All the while, he was lionized by Wall Street, admired by Forbes magazine, and given fawning interviews by CNBC. He met all the metrics!

Almost daily you can hear Larry Kudlow, a leftover from the Reagan administration, and his two adoring female sidekicks onCNBC’s The Call,” repeat the mantra, “Let Wall Street do what they know best – make money.”  But, what ever happened to basic decency?

Dov Michaeli, MD, PhD
Dov Michaeli, MD, PhD loves to write about the brain and human behavior as well as translate complicated basic science concepts into entertainment for the rest of us. He was a professor at the University of California San Francisco before leaving to enter the world of biotech. He served as the Chief Medical Officer of biotech companies, including Aphton Corporation. He also founded and served as the CEO of Madah Medica, an early stage biotech company developing products to improve post-surgical pain control. He is now retired and enjoys working out, following the stock market, travelling the world, and, of course, writing for TDWI.