That was the question four panelists, including myself, had to answer last week at the annual Free Market Roadshow. Although one speaker believed adamantly that all would be well, the other panelists hedged their bets. Including me.
Why? Societies achieve an equilibrium- a governing stability- when there is majority consensus that the current economic system provides a better or equal chance at prosperity and security than other possible models. Due the success of the current model of liberal democracy and free markets, or the failures and perceived threats inherent in competing models, we have lived in a equilibrium since sometime in the 1950s. The contest of systems between the Soviet Union and the United States created a certain sort of economic, political and social equilibrium. The disintegration of the Soviet Union created another state of equilibrium. Since September 11th and the financial crisis, that equilibrium has been upended. A new equilbrium can be re-established along similar lines to what existed before, or we could achieve a new type of equilibrium governed by more autocratic government and the controlled markets necessary to sustain that type of government.
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