My Swiss-junket-mate, Matt Yglesias makes a good point about the distance between the abstract ideal policy vis a vis GM and the auto-industry and the real-world one we’re likely to get. This dovetails with the point I was trying to make in an earlier post, which is, more or less that though we’re in a moment of what I tentatively believe to be fairly massive change in the operating ideology of the American federal government, we’re equipped with a government that is, thanks largely to preceding dominant ideology hostile to its very existence, desperately ill-equipped to competently manage and execute something like, say, large-scale industrial management.
Now, a large part of the reason for this is that the conservative/libertarian critique of government is to a degree self-fulfilling, gut the public sector, create a degraded, corrupt, transactional economy of influence and crony capitalism and all of the most dystopian right-wing visions of the efficacy of government compared to the market look alarmingly true.
But I’m squarely in the camp that believes we need some fairly large scale changes in the relationship between the state and the market, much of forced by the magnitude of the crisis we now face. One of the major challenges, perhaps, in some senses, the major challenge for the Obama administration will be building a federal government capable and worthy of dispensing the many new responsibilities it will inherit.