David Stockman has written the finest piece of financial journalism of our generation: The Great Deformation: The Corruption of American Capitalism. It shows how we got into the mess we are in.
Blame the government. Then blame us. It is our government. We must not parrot Flip Wilson’s Geraldine: “The devil made me do it!”
Stockman has followed up his book with a website: David Stockman’s Contra Corner. He posts daily articles, not on how we slouching toward Gomorrah, but how we are being dragged toward Armageddon. He has identified the culprits: the “dirty dozen” who compose the Federal Reserve System’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).
Stockman is now trapped by his own enterprise. He is going to have to write a 300-page book, along with a multi-episode YouTube documentary: Up from Armageddon. It should be released in year three of the coming recession. Trust me: it’s coming. Trust Stockman: it’s going to last at least three years.
The book/documentary should have three sections: (1) how deep in the hole we really are; (2) how we got into this hole; (3) how we can get out.
Section 3 will be this: “Rebuilding from the Ground Up.” Here, he must offer a grand design: the way things ought to be after the rebuilding. But he must also offer a practical, step-by-step strategy. As Karl Marx often wrote, but never actually delivered: “from theory to practice.”
Each chapter of Up from Armageddon should have a link back to his site: proof. No footnotes needed. (Note: the links should be shortened links: http://bit.ly.)
Will the government/Federal Reserve do any of this? Of course not. But we need a field manual on what can and should be done. When the FED responds to the crisis by doing everything wrong — count on this — he can write a follow-up, I-told-you-so book: Another Fine Mess.
His book/documentary can serve as a model for comparable productions in other countries, produced by critics using Stockman’s template/blueprint.
We have seen all this before. The Soviet Union fell in late 1991. Shortly thereafter, Murray Rothbard lamented that no one in the West had offered a blueprint for rebuilding Russia along free market lines. Into this vacuum came Yeltsin, who served as Putin’s Kerensky.
Stockman, more than anybody else, has the credentials and the obligation to do whatever possible to avoid our Yeltsin, followed by our Putin.
I close with a quotation from the late Jack Miller, who was a master of capitalist one-liners. He offered this one: “Americans at some point will call for a man on a white horse. There are a lot of guys out there with brown horses and whitewash.”