The End of the Free Market Economy

Courtesy of Razib

But some observers now say that Paulson’s injection of public capital was the beginning of unprecedented government involvement in the nation’s banking system, with consequences few understood.

“I think we nationalized the banks in the U.S. on that day,” former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson says. “The government got a lot of say in how they are run, a lot of constraints, a lot of responsibility. A lot of downside risk was taken on that day.”

By December, Lewis was discovering what it meant to have the government as a partial owner. When fourth-quarter losses at Merrill grew to $15 billion, Lewis began to look for a way to get out of the deal. But in tense negotiations with government officials, Lewis was told he had no choice. If he did not go through with the merger, regulators threatened to change the bank’s management.

“Ken Lewis blinked, the full force of the government is being brought upon him. The rules of the game have changed,” Wall Street Journal reporter Dan Fitzpatrick says. “Ken Lewis is on top of the financial services world, but he’s not in charge. The government holds all the cards at the end of the day.”

via FRONTLINE: breaking the bank: video – watch the full program | PBS.

Of course, treason charges against Geithner won’t involve this (the establishment of Socialism was (a) a policy choice under (b) the previous administration), but his siding with the tribal raid against the US government in early 2009. Criminal charges, which are much more likely to be brought, are more mundane, and involve collusion, racketeering, insider-trading, and so on.

Beijing, after 1976 and 1989

In China, Deng won. In Iran, "Deng" is certainly on the side of the protesters. For all the talk of an Iranian Tiananmen, the dynamic in Tehran is much closer ot 1976 (where the Communist government crushed demonstrators, and lost all legitimacy) than 1989.

The fruits of both the 1976 Tiananmen Incident and the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre are on display in Beijing.

Canon EOS5DmkII, One night in Beijing. from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

The hope for pro-globalization reforms in Iran depends on the current government in Tehran losing its credibility and legitimacy. If Tehran will ever be as synonymous with growth and openness and Beijing, the Supreme Leader should face the same road as Madam Mao.