I am a Card-carrying Capitalist in Good Standing. I believe passionately in open markets and intense competition and free trade as spurs to economic growth and prosperity and peace—despite the headlines that await us each time we travel the Web or read the paper. But as I read the British and American papers while on my year-end trip to Bahrain and the UK and Amsterdam, I am twitching a bit over the amazing bonuses in the City and on Wall Street that were just handed to, mostly, traders. While I do believe in the "market for human capital," there is, I instinctively feel, something off-kilter about so many pocketing $5 million or $10 million or $100 million+. And to be perfectly honest, the Wall Street Journal (Monday, December 18) article on "The Global Atlas of New Money" at times turned my stomach—e.g., the opulent celebrations of incredible wealth. Hats off, to be sure, to Mr Gates and Mr Buffett for their astounding commitment to philanthropy, but that is not enough.
Speaking as that fervent capitalist, as we confront stagnant wages for the masses in developed countries and, of course, gut-wrenching poverty that is the lot of literally billions this Christmas, is something not askew?
I haven't a clue.