Professor Kevin Dowd in Lessons from Financial Crisis: A Libertarian Perspective says:

My topic this evening is the current financial crisis.  My theme is that the Classical Liberal perspective can help us both to understand the crisis and to find a way of out it.

I always like to begin with a nice quote, and we are spoilt for choice when it comes to quotes about the financial crisis.  Amongst those I can quote in mixed company, my favourite one is a comment by a Wall Street passer-by when asked his thoughts about the bank bailouts: “Its like not being invited to a party and then being given the bill for it”, he said.

This comment goes right to the heart of the matter – the widespread perception amongst the public that there is something wrong with the current financial system, i.e., that it lacks legitimacy.  I agree with this view entirely: the current system does lack legitimacy and I am sure every right-thinking person would agree with me that it is manifestly indefensible.

Though correct, however, this perception is also dangerous, as it provides fodder for interventionists who argue that the current crisis is due to unconstrained market forces.  Free markets have failed, they argue, so let’s have more state control instead.

Such arguments are mistaken in every respect.

Post Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of CCS.

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Parth Shah

Parth J Shah is founder president of Centre for Civil Society, a think tank that promotes choice and accountability across public and private sectors. He is co-founder and Director of Indian School of Public Policy. Parth’s research and advocacy work focuses on the themes of economic freedom, choice and competition in education, property rights approach to the environment and new public governance. He recently edited Liberalism in India.