State Capitalism: A Viable Alternative to Free Markets?

The crisis of liberal capitalism has been made more serious by the rise of a potent alternative: state capitalism, which tries to meld the powers of the state with the powers of capitalism.

What's the Latest Development?


Emerging economies which combine the authority of the state with private industry have led global economic growth since the financial collapse of 2007. Countries like China, Russia and Brazil, all of which use the state to promote industry, now claim some of the world's most successful companies. And these economies are different from Europe's welfare states in that they operate on a much larger scale and have developed much faster. Rather than hand industries to cronies, the Chinese, for example, turn them into companies run by professional managers.

What's the Big Idea?

Though state capitalism is the current trend—France has created a sovereign wealth fund while Brazil and South Africa talk openly of nationalization—it is not without its risks. "How can you ensure a fair trading system if some companies enjoy the support, overt or covert, of a national government? How can you prevent governments from using companies as instruments of military power? And how can you prevent legitimate worries about fairness from shading into xenophobia and protectionism?"

Why a great education means engaging with controversy

Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.

Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
  • If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
  • Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
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Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
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SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
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