Economics reporter Peter Goodman's latest front-page think-piece for the Sunday Week in Review, Teacher Forgot ," is another example of Goodman sneering at capitalism. The story's text box made an apt summation of his arguments: "It's almost amusing now: America once lectured China on responsibility."
For an economics reporter, Goodman goes strangely giddy over the prospect of capitalism's fall. In December 2007 he rebuked the "invisible hand" of the marketplace in paranoid Marxist terms:
But now the invisible hand is being asked to account for what it has wrought. In this country, many economic complaints - from the widening gap between rich and poor to the expense of higher education - are being dusted for its fingerprints.
This Sunday, Goodman wrote in the same hand-rubbing "how the mighty have fallen" style, sneering at the U.S. plutocracy:
Back in what felt like the golden age of finance, before the fine print of mortgage documents suddenly became relevant and ordinary people in bars began sharing their worries about credit default swaps, American banking was celebrated as the envy of the world.
Blue jeans and electronics were arriving from factories scattered from China to Costa Rica, and even white-collar jobs were slipping overseas, but the sophisticated work of measuring risk and engineering investments remained the province of the geniuses running Wall Street. Their mastery was more lucrative than ever, and it was emulated around the globe.
So it registered as a comedown last week to read that Bank of America was selling part of its stake in the Construction Bank of China, as it scrambled to secure cash in the face of its real estate-related disasters.
Yes, it has come to this: The largest bank in the United States, putative citadel of free enterprise, must desperately unload shares in a bank controlled by the Communist Party of China. That, or risk the wrath of American regulators, newly concerned about how much money financial institutions have on hand.
Meanwhile, the Treasury last week outlined proposed new rules for derivatives, the exotic investments whose unsupervised trading was once offered up as a sign of the vibrancy of American financial innovation, only to become a prime example of how Wall Street set fire to the global economy.
Goodman actually made valid points about parallels between Chinese Communist practices and irresponsible lending by some U.S. banks. But does he have to be so pleased all the time about capitalism's struggles? Just read his caricatured description of free markets:
Still shaking off the cobwebs of its failed experiment in Maoist utopia, China was home to 1.3 billion people whose wallets awaited credit cards, 2.6 billion feet eager for Nike sneakers, and 13 billion fingers waiting to be licked in the thrall of KFC chicken.