First we had anti-globalization activists calling for “fair trade.” Now it seems not just trade is the problem but capitalism itself. Harold Meyerson in today’s Washington Post is calling for “decent capitalism” instead.
And what is his vision of “decent capitalism”? He calls it a “vastly more benign” system than Russian socialism. Well, that should convince us to get on the bandwagon.
Meyerson also suggests it should be a global policy since it’s not easy to have “decent capitalism” on a national level in a globalized economy.
Free-trade skeptics such as I believe that these domestic reforms, while overdue, are not enough. We argue that there need to be rules for the global economy that protect workers no less than investors, that global minimum wage standards, say, are no less necessary in a global economy than national minimum wage standards are in a national economy. Our challenge is that absent a global government, a global polity, such standards are excruciatingly difficult to create — though altering the rules of the World Trade Organization would be a good place to start.
Meyerson also pushes for domestic policy reforms to protect workers in both service and manufacturing sectors. He extolls the virtues of Scandinavian countries, which, he says, have better met the challenges of globalization through expansion of the public sector, i.e., government.