“I agree with everything you say Tom, except for the notion that the two diagnoses are mutually exclusive. The attitude that says that more is better, money is everything, and other people’s problems are not my responsibility is not a corruption of capitalism; it is the essence of capitalism. The system is inherently acquisitive, tends to monetize all values, and believes that social needs are automatically addressed by the market. I’m not calling for socialism, I’m calling for what everyone after the Depression recognized as simple common sense: capitalism needs to be tempered and governed by other values and forces. The recent eruption of greed is simply an effect of the deliberate weakening of those values and forces.”
William Deresiewicz was an associate professor of English at Yale University until 2008 and is a widely published book critic. His reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, The Nation, Bookforum, and The American Scholar. He was nominated for National Magazine awards in 2008 and 2009 and the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing in 2010.