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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine

archive for August, 2009

STIGLITZ ON THE FATE OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM

by ~ August 6, 2009

Joseph Stiglitz recently published an article in Vanity Fair that discusses many of the themes of this blog (for example, see: Let’s Not Confuse Free Markets With Freedom, America on the Couch, and 2008: The Year the Free Market Died.) A Nobel-laureate economist, Stiglitz provides historical context in making his case that free-market capitalism isn’t inevitable for the unwashed masses. According to Stiglitz, American capitalism sustained a mortal blow in its bid to become the “kind of economic system [that] is likely to deliver the greatest benefit to the most people.” He then offers this chilling dose of reality:

In America, calling someone a socialist may be nothing more than a cheap shot. In much of the world, however, the battle between capitalism and socialism—or at least something that many Americans would label as socialism—still rages. While there may be no winners in the current economic crisis, there are losers, and among the big losers is support for American-style capitalism. This has consequences we’ll be living with for a long time to come….

For a while, it seemed that the defeat of Communism meant the sure victory of capitalism, particularly in its American form. Francis Fukuyama went as far as to proclaim “the end of history,” defining democratic market capitalism as the final stage of social development, and declaring that all humanity was now heading in this direction. In truth, historians will mark the 20 years since 1989 as the short period of American triumphalism. With the collapse of great banks and financial houses, and the ensuing economic turmoil and chaotic attempts at rescue, that period is over. So, too, is the debate over “market fundamentalism,” the notion that unfettered markets, all by themselves, can ensure economic prosperity and growth. Today only the deluded would argue that markets are self-correcting or that we can rely on the self-interested behavior of market participants to guarantee that everything works honestly and properly.

Well put! Unfortunately, Stiglitz stops short of suggesting a viable alternative to  American free-market capitalism. Nevertheless, his analysis is welcome, as it reminds us of important problems a global neo-capitalist agenda must resolve.

FINALLY, A REASON FOR THE REST OF US TO USE OPENID

by ~ August 4, 2009

My friends at Ping Identity announced last week a solution for enabling single sign-on (SSO) to a broad set of Google apps, taking advantage of Google’s new OpenID services. Ping’s product, PingConnect, actually uses a combination of standards, including SAML, OpenID, and OAuth to connect to other SaaS solutions, such as Salesforce.com. For a lot of people, there’s starting to be enough value here to justifiy getting and actually using an OpenID.

There’s some discussion among individuals close to various standards around how companies like Google and Ping Identity are interfering with the purity of these protocols. In my opinion, it’s great to see some of these standards being put to use in a pragmatic and productive way. (Granted, there’s a control play for the internet “identity hub” going on here, but I’ll have to take up in a follow-on post.)

My only advice to Ping is to henceforth refrain from using the word “Universal” — as in, “Universal Login for SaaS.”