It's time for another slightly political post.
During my lifetime so far, I have heard two statements several times: One is, that communism and socialism have lost against capitalism, and the other one is that capitalism will collapse sooner or later. And in fact, the breakdown of the Soviet Union suggests the first one, the current financial crysis suggests the second one. In my opinion, however, both statements are not directly wrong, but they miss a certain point: Liberal capitalism is not the presence, but the absence of a system. Similar to night being the absence of light, and cold being the absence of heat. Capitalism is more like economic anarchy.
Now, what can happen is that some model of social market economy collapses – because it is the presence of a system. It can happen that the patent system collapses – because it is the presence of a system. But saying capitalism can collapse is like saying darkness can go away: It is a mere metaphor for something filling the gap that we named.
And whenever a real system collapses, it defaults to the absence of a system, which is capitalism. This is why it seems like capitalism is the superior strategy to everything else: It is simply the thing that is there when nothing else is there.
This is, of course, not an argument against capitalism. Laissez faire capitalism is like evolution: Good things can evolve from it. But so can very bad things. It is up to us to find ways to cope with it, and make the best out of it.