Friday Fronts: Malawi and Free Markets


For me, the most memorable moment in the original Poseidon Adventure that does not involve explosions, inundations, or other forms of mayhem is the one in which Reverend Scott (Gene Hackman) confronts the ship’s doctor. The doctor is leading a large group of survivors toward the bow of the ship, because in his view this is the way to safety. The fact that the bow is manifestly in deeper water than the stern means little to this visibly shell-shocked authority figure, and nothing that the reverend can say (or, more characteristically, shout) can dissuade him from his doomed course. He rejects the reverend’s goal (the engine room) out of hand.

Now that the subprime mortgage tsunami has left Wall Street wondering which way is up, the Reverend Scotts of this world – among them, the new president of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika — are looking less contrarian. But I fear that we still have a long way to go before we emerge from the Erector Set phase of free-market economic theory.

Celia W Dugger on Malawi and the Free Market, in the New York Times.  

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