Capitalism: Pronounced Dead According to CNBC Analyst



     Has CNBC, the financial network of NBC Universal, become the funeral parlor of free-market capitalism?


     Rob Cox, a former Bloomberg South Europe bureau chief who is now U.S. editor of the financial news Web site, told CNBC’s “The Call” September 19 that taxpayer-funded bailouts over the past couple of weeks are the end of free-market capitalism.


     “Capitalism as we knew it – free-market capitalism seems to be dead,” Cox said. “I don’t know what it means. I don’t know how we’re going to regulate. I don’t know how we’re going to legislate going forward but it’s dead.”


     Cox managed to find an upside, just not a serious one.


     “The only thing – fun point I’d make about this is at least now America has its own sovereign wealth fund,” added Cox. “We’ve now got $800 billion of something …”


     The bailout has caused a lot of volatility in the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hit a 52-week low of 10,459 on September 18 then rallied an unprecedented 1,000 points to hit 11,483 before closing slightly lower on September 19.


     Cox predicted the bailout would be a big plus for the Democrats since it contradicts once-guarded principles of the GOP.


     “Well, actually Democrats generally are associated with bailouts more typically, historically – New Deal politics, that kind of thing,” Cox said. “I think it’s going to play more to the Democrats than it is to Republicans. Not least because actually remember the Republicans have always said for years they’re the free market party and actually they’ve just disavowed all of their principles – free markets. So, they look pretty waffly in that respect.”


     The winning strategy Cox devised for Democrats involved trashing free markets and Wall Street.


     “But if I were the Democrats, I would say, ‘Free markets and Wall Street, that’s the party of the Republicans. Those guys are bad. Vote for me,’” Cox said. “And I think that’s going to work right through to November.”


     Cox was not the first media personality to proclaim capitalism’s death. Pulitzer Prize- winning Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein wrote an obituary for capitalism on August 1. In that column, Pearlstein wrote, “It’s always risky to call turns in history, but my guess is that the consensus [toward free markets] is unraveling.”