Free Market System at a Crossroads?

China’s economy is barreling ahead. Europe’s in crisis. The U.S. in a muddle. Across the world, free markets are being challenged.

A Chinese worker checks solar-powered products at a factory in Baoding, north China's Hebei province, in 2009. (AP)

When the Cold War ended, Washington trumpeted that the free market system had won.

Twenty years later – now – that looks far from certain. The new challenger is not Communism but “state capitalism” –China-style, Russia-style – where authoritarian political powers steer the ship, call the economic tune.

Right now, say my guests today, state capitalism is giving the free market world a drubbing. Europe’s a mess. The U.S. is in a muddle.

The free market economy heyday may be over, with big consequences, they say.

This Hour, On Point: The deadly-serious horse race. Free markets versus state capitalism.


Anthony Kuhn, Beijing corresopndent for NPR.

Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, a political research and consulting firm. His latest book is “The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?” You can read an excerpt. He writes “The Call” blog at

Clyde Prestowitz, founder and President of the Economic Strategy Institute. His new book is “The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America’s Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era.” You can read an excerpt.

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