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The Spirit of Enterprise - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
December 1, 2011

Nations like Germany and the U.S. are rich primarily because of shared habits, values and social capital....People who work hard and play by the rules should have a fair shot at prosperity. Money should go to people on the basis of merit and enterprise. Self-control should be rewarded while laziness and self-indulgence should not. Community institutions should nurture responsibility and fairness.

This ethos is not an immutable genetic property, which can blithely be taken for granted. It’s a precious social construct, which can be undermined and degraded.

Right now, this ethos is being undermined from all directions. People see lobbyists diverting money on the basis of connections; they see traders making millions off of short-term manipulations; they see governments stealing money from future generations to reward current voters.

The result is a crisis of legitimacy. The game is rigged. Social trust shrivels. Effort is no longer worth it. The prosperity machine winds down....The real lesson from financial crises is that, at the pit of the crisis, you do what you have to do. You bail out the banks. You bail out the weak European governments. But, at the same time, you lock in policies that reinforce the fundamental link between effort and reward. And, as soon as the crisis passes, you move to repair the legitimacy of the system.

That didn’t happen after the American financial crisis of 2008.
bailouts  covenants  David_Brooks  Europe  locked_in  moral_hazards  euro_zone  European_Union  financial_crises  gaming_the_system  laziness  legitimacy  self-control  self-discipline  self-indulgence  self-regulation  social_capital  social_cohesion  social_contract  social_fabric  social_trust  undermining_of_trust  values 
december 2011 by jerryking
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